I’m pretty handy…for a girl

August 27, 2013 by

My husband, Scott, and I live on a small hobby farm in rural Iowa consisting of a few unruly acres, a 160-year-old farm house, and a menagerie of animals. I’ll translate that for you: I’m broke and always fixing something.

I have taught myself to be pretty handy. I have a tool belt; I can do some plumbing; and my 18-Volt ½-inch Cordless Nickel Cadmium Compact Drill is my prize possession.

One day I went into a large home improvement store looking for a length of chain long enough to wrap around a fence post, and the gate that holds it closed, because my goats had been escaping.

While selecting the chain, an associate came to my aid. I explained that I needed to have a piece of chain cut. He responded, “Do you have a man to help with this project?” (Remember, I just needed a chain to hold the gate shut.) He then asked how much chain I needed. “Do you need enough to wrap around my arm?” he said showing me the girth of his arm. “Or, is it more like my thigh?” he said, standing on one leg with his other knee in the air. Oh boy . . .

I normally find these situations amusing, and will joke that I’m pretty handy . . . for a girl. It shouldn’t make any difference that I’m a female. I have all the faculties I need to use power tools!

Are you a pretty good financial professional . . . for a girl? According to a survey conducted by Edward Jones, one in five cited the financial services industry as the hardest glass ceiling for women to break through.1

Why is that? Don’t women have all the faculties necessary to excel in this profession? In the survey, which polled 1,010 men and women, 83% of respondents not only agreed that women faced career barriers, but cited a male-dominated environment as the main impediment.

Other obstacles the survey noted were: juggling family and corporate responsibilities; inadequate policies for women; and lack of mentoring and defined career paths.

Fortunately, there are programs available to support and mentor women in this industry. Check out our Women’s Mentoring Agent NetworkTM (WOMANTM). This program is dedicated to helping independent, female financial professionals to develop their practices—in spite of the male-dominated environment—by providing opportunities to network, share, and learn from their peers.

For some great face time with other female financial professionals, join us September 18 to 20 in Panora, Iowa for the WOMANTM Fall Forum. This event gives women the opportunity to discuss relevant topics with their peers; learn what makes other women in this industry successful; and cultivate valuable relationships.

To learn more about this event and the WOMANTM program, visit

1 Edward Jones 2013. Edward Jones Survey Reveals 65 Percent of Americans Agree “Glass Ceiling” Remains a Career Barrier for Women. [press release] June 5, 2013. Retrieved from:


Kristine Garrett

Kristine Garrett joined Brokers International in 2012. She brought with her a strong background in sales and marketing that she uses to develop programs and create content to help grow your business. Kristine shares a hobby farm near Panora with her husband, farm critters and beautiful bulldogs.

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Understanding securities licenses

August 22, 2013 by

In a previous blog, you learned why obtaining a Series 65 license is a necessity for professionals looking to become an investment adviser representative. This blog focuses on other securities licenses, and why they may be important for professionals to consider. Here are the basic licenses required of securities agents: Series 6-Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative This license provides authorization to sell “packaged” investments, including mutual funds, variable annuities, and unit investment trusts.

  • Questions: 100 multiple choice
  • Testing time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Series 7-General Securities Representative Authorization to sell individual security items such as common and preferred stocks, etfs, bonds and other individual fixed income investments (including products with Series 6.)

  • Questions: 250 (administered in two parts of 125 questions each) multiple choice
  • Testing time: 3 hours for each part

Series 63-Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination Gives authorization by state to conduct business; required for all Series 6 and 7 holders.

  • Questions: 60 multiple choice
  • Testing time; 1 hour and 15 minutes

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversees licensing procedures and requirements. FINRA also administers the exams and keeps track of the records.  For information on all of the license types and testing requirements, visit the FINRA website. ADR-1169

Brokers Financial

Brokers Financial is a FINRA member Broker-Dealer and SEC-Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing extensive brokerage, advisory and investment services to the independent financial professional.

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Step-by-Step Marketing: Consumer Touchpoints

August 15, 2013 by

More than likely, you spend a great deal of time preparing for client meetings. You research your client’s existing situation. You create proposals to help provide solutions for potential pain points. And you follow up with your clients to make sure they are happy with the solution.

While your client meeting may be the most important interaction you have with your client, it’s not the only one.  In other words, your client will have several interactions with you and your business before they even attend a one-on-one meeting.

As you can see in the diagram below, you interact with your client in several ways.

consumer touchpoints infographic

In my last blog post, I posed the question, “What’s your client’s experience?” But now I’d like to ask, “Do you deliver a consistent client experience?”

Have you put the same time and energy into your other client interactions, also known as touch points, to make sure they are just as deliberate and as well planned as your client meeting?

Take a few minutes and step into your client’s shoes. To get started, download our tips for consistent consumer touchpoints.



Courtney Redfern

Courtney Redfern has worked for Brokers International since March 1999. In her current position, she helps drive outbound marketing, which includes strategy, copywriting, and overall project management. You can pick up a few marketing tips from Courtney through her blog entries on Step-by-Step Marketing. In her free time, Courtney enjoys reading, shopping, and any activity involving her family.

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Carrier Compliance for Social Media

August 8, 2013 by

Posting messages on social media platforms can seem overwhelming when you consider the number of insurance carriers you may need to contact for approval. To help assist you, we’ve compiled social media guidelines from a few insurance carriers. Many insurance carriers view social media as advertising. If you’re already familiar with advertising guidelines, you can follow them to help stay compliant with social media use. Of course, we do not recommend mentioning insurance carrier names or products in your social media. In fact, some carriers have stated this as a rule.

Insurance Carrier Guidelines for Social Media:


American Equity



You can also refer to our “Before Getting Started with Social Media: Steps to Compliance” blog post for additional materials with social media guidelines from FINRA and the NAIC.

For Brokers International Financial Services, LLC Registered Reps:


Securities and investment advisory services offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, Panora, Iowa. Member FINRA/SIPC. Brokers International Financial Services is an affiliated company of Brokers International, Ltd.




Why Earned Media Matters

August 1, 2013 by

Kristi Piehl Media Minefield Founder and CEO

By Kristi Piehl
Founder/CEO Media Minefield, Inc.

“Today everyone is a star—they’re all billed as ‘starring’ or ‘also starring’. In my day, we earned that recognition.”  Bette Davis

The time of earning credibility via exposure is back. Unlike when Bette Davis was on the silver screen, it is now captivating audiences in high definition on mobile devices.

Earned media (media exposure that does not cost anything) is one of the hottest terms in modern day marketing and communications. For example, people who are interviewed for a television, radio, newspaper or magazine to comment on a trend or issue, do not pay for this exposure. Certainly there are opportunities in all media for paid commercials and shows, but it is typically very easy for the audience to tell the difference between an ad and legitimate news. Once the audience is aware that the exposure was paid for, the information is viewed in a different and more skeptical light. By contrast, people interviewed for news stories are often perceived as knowledgeable and experienced in their field, simply because a trusted news outlet chose to ask for their input.

Social media marketing is another type of earned media. According to Mashable, “Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks.” When social media users share content, it is because the content is interesting, not because anyone is paying them to spread the message. What happens when you combine earned media via legitimate news interviews with social media marketing? It’s an impressive combination that has helped our clients become successful.

More and more companies are spending time and energy on earned media. According to a recent article in Business Insider, “Eighty-four percent of businesses said ‘the trend toward earned media via social media marketing’ was quite significant or highly significant to their organizations, and 90% believed it would be so by 2015, according to a recent Econsultancy and Adobe survey.”1 And if you think that no one watches the TV news anymore—you are wrong. According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, 55% of adults say they turn to television for news about current events.2

Television, radio, newspaper or magazine, earned media is rooted in talent, quality content and experience.


1 Ballvé, M. Earned Media and Social Media: How Brands can get Beyond the Hype. Business Insider. July 2013. Download the PDF.

2Saad, Lydia. TV is Americans’ Main Source of News. Gallup® Politics. July 2013.