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There are some distinct skills and disciplines that a fixed income salesperson should aim to develop in order to improve chances of success. These include interpersonal and communication skills, basic psychology and personal traits such as passion and persistence. In addition to developing these skills, the fixed income sales professional should have a thorough knowledge of the many types of fixed income instruments. Such instruments include bonds and asset-backed securities, but he or she might be required to specialize in only one particular field, such as corporate bonds.
Typically, things such as psychology, communication and the art of persuasion go hand-in-hand in a fixed income sales job. Knowing basic psychology might enable the salesperson to understand his or her existing clients and prospective clients. By understanding their attitude, especially toward investing, the salesperson can approach them in the best way using the right amount of persuasion. The purpose of this is to give him or her a higher chance of maintaining old customers and winning new ones.
Interpersonal and communication skills are indispensable in a fixed income sales role, because this type of job requires many person-to-person interactions. Sometimes the fixed income sales professional might be required to cold call qualified prospects. Cold calling involves calling potential customers who fit a certain criteria but might or might not be interested in the products being sold. For this reason, this approach results in many rejections, and thus the salesperson should be able to take rejections without being fazed, and he or she generally should not take things personally.
Moreover, the salesperson should be able to explain all sorts of fixed income instruments in a fluent and coherent manner to all types of investors from those who don't know anything about them to those that know quite a bit about them. For instance, the fixed income sales professional should have the ability to explain the products in layman’s terms to people who have absolutely no knowledge of fixed income securities. Examples of such people are retirees or those who have just inherited a fortune but have no business background.
Depending on the operations of the firm, the fixed income salesperson might be given the task of selling fixed income products to a broad range of potential customers. These customers include wealthy private individuals; large institutions, such as pension funds; and insurance companies. In each case, the fixed income salesperson will need to convince the decision maker to purchase the income instruments that he or she has to sell. This is where the salesperson's skills will come into play and help make the sale.
The fixed income sales professional's skills will help him or her acquire new clients or open new accounts for old ones. The more skilled the salesperson is, the more productive he or she will likely be, which can translate into more sales, more customers and more commissions for the firm and himself or herself. Moreover, things such as perpetual education, experience, passion and persistence will help the salesperson hone his or her skills. Persistence is a key trait, because most of the time, when one starts out in this business, the amount of rejection he or she might face at the onset can be discouraging.