Need Additional Support? Look To Your Internal Wholesaler

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Many of todays financial services professionals are faced with challenges they never experienced before. Recent levels of market volatility and client apathy rival those last seen in the early 1970s.

So whom do you turn to in this time of need? What resources are available to help you develop new relationships, increase sales and maintain assets without breaking your budget? The answer is probably as close as your Rolodex. When you need additional support, be sure to keep you internal wholesaler in mind as a resource.

Todays experienced and well-trained internal wholesalers can make a meaningful contribution to your sales success in a number of different ways:

Expert Knowledge and Product Positioning. Producers depend on internal wholesalers because they are true product experts, especially when it comes to complex products, like annuities. You can count on them to have access to all product features and informationeither top of mind or immediately available at their fingertips. In addition to their in-depth knowledge of proprietary products, internal wholesalers are also very familiar with products and services offered by competitors.

Because they are located typically at a central or home office, competitive information is acquired quickly and shared. Their deep knowledge of the competitive landscape can result in actionable sales ideas; plus, they have the insight necessary to position products to better meet client needs.

A Main Point of Contact. Working with one internal representative prevents you from having to make multiple telephone calls to have your questions answered. Internal wholesalers navigate the internal workings of their own company so your needs are addressed in a timely and comprehensive manner. And as your business with their firm grows, you can rely on your internal wholesaler to represent your interests and get the job done.

Marketing Support. Many firms provide their internal wholesalers with resources to support their producers marketing initiatives. They can help set up, supply, and administer targeted and consistent marketing campaigns with NASD-approved content and templates. For many producers, the biggest danger to any marketing effort is a lack of consistency. Whether it is communicated via postcards, mailings, phone calls or seminars, a campaign that is not focused and sustained is unlikely to meet expectations. However, your internal wholesaler knows what marketing efforts have worked well for other producers and, given your client base, what will likely work best for you.

Business Planning and Goal Setting. If you are like many producers in the financial services industry, your early success was due, in part, to establishing a business plan and then following it carefully. Over time, however, as your business grew you may have moved away from the strategies that helped launch your career. With todays challenging and volatile markets, partnering with your internal wholesaler can help you better structure your approach to both prospects and existing clients.

At the beginning of each year, your internal wholesaler can help you establish specific plans and annual business production goals. He or she can then provide ongoing updates, coaching and advice to help you exceed your initial targets.

Working Together Successfully. As with any human relationship, the key to leveraging your internal wholesaler is to build a partnership based on mutual respect and trust.

The relationship that develops between a producer and an internal wholesaler cannot be one-sided. While producers can be demanding and are under significant time pressure, a cooperative approach is the only way to build the mutually beneficial relationship that both producers and internal wholesalers desire. True teamwork requires understanding that your internal wholesaler has to balance many demands and competing requests, and must follow business practices established by his or her employer.

Building a successful partnership with your internal representative will result in your ability to make the most effective use of your time. By accessing their expertise, you are able to focus on addressing your clients needs.

Leveraging your internal wholesaler as a main point of contact for your product and marketing support needs is bound to have a direct, and positive, impact on your level of production. Internal wholesalers also can help you set and achieve your business goals and discover valuable clients that you may have overlooked. Building a mutually beneficial partnership with internal wholesalers will save you time, enhance your production and help you grow your business.

, Ph.D., is executive vice president of marketing for Jackson National Life Distributors Inc., Denver, Colo. You can reach him at greg.salsbury@jnli.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, November 7, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.