Why You Should Expect More From Todays Wholesalers
By Terry Mullen
Most of us in the financial services industry have similar professional goals. We like to believe we are doing the best job possible of guiding our clients and, as a result, seeing our businesses grow.
While this is a tougher challenge than ever in light of the evolving retirement needs of baby boomers, the complexity of todays insurance and investment products, and the strict regulatory environment, there still is hope. More than ever, success requires a hefty dose of creativity, resourcefulness and tenacity.
Youre not in it alone.
I recommend that you take these words to heart the next time you receive a visit or phone call from a wholesaler. In an increasingly competitive market, todays wholesaler has a lot to offer beyond expertise in annuity, life insurance and mutual fund products. What separates a great wholesaler from the pack is his or her ability to listen to your situation and provide tools to help you build your business.
In my experience, a wholesalers level of client service is directly related to top-notch recruitment and training techniques. A diverse wholesaling force that represents a wider cross-section of the population and brings unique perspectives will be better equipped to meet your needs (and those of your clients).
In addition to bringing more women and ethnic minorities into the profession, I also advocate recruiting top talent from outside industries such as pharmaceutical sales and equipment leasing. These people often possess the right combination of sales savvy, personality and business skills. With thorough product training, they have the potential to serve as valuable assets to financial advisors and thrive in our sales environment.
Once hired, wholesalers should go through an extensive competency assessment to identify their strengths and weaknesses so their training can be customized. Although this may not be standard at all firms, I believe financial services companies must seriously invest in wholesaler training to maximize selling results.
That includes more than basic product training. Many wholesalers come to the job with impressive credentials and industry knowledge. But their training can be taken further, with education centering around a companys business model, channel variances, database management, practical selling ideas and products (not just the ones they will focus on). This will help create the “total wholesaler,” helping them understand their “piece of the market” and related client needs.
Implications for financial advisors.