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Helping Wholesalers Sell Effectively

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Helping Wholesalers Sell Effectively

September 28, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

Wholesalers are supposed to be product pushers. Lately our firm is making us learn skills to build better relationships. It’s a great idea, but we get paid to sell a product. It is disingenuous to me to have us learn how to be better connectors; we can have great relationships, but if we don’t sell something, we’re out of our jobs. I get the theory, but in practice, it doesn’t work. How can I push back professionally on this idea? Spending time learning something that isn’t really going to help me is a waste.

Kevin H.

The 8-Factor Sales Effectiveness Model

Dear Kevin,

Ah yes – you are addressing one of my main refrains and complaints about the money spent on training. That is, if a reward system compensates for a different behavior than is being trained, then people will gravitate toward the compensated behavior. It’s natural human behavior.

My firm is seeing the same trend that you describe and we are big proponents of the relationship sale, but I completely agree that in order to actually change behavior – not just introduce new ideas and train people – you have to have the accompanying support mechanisms in place. It’s unfortunate but a lot of businesses see a conflict between the need for revenue and the ability to offer high levels of client service.

Having said all of this, I do think that wholesalers in particular have an opportunity to stand out differently in their market. Because of the issue you outline, most wholesalers are perceived in the same way – they push product. We work with both sides of the equation, the wholesalers selling and the advisors who are buying; advisors need and might benefit from the wholesaler who takes the time to understand their business and actually get to know them. Learning some “soft skills” even when your ultimate goal depends on you selling something could change the game for you and give you an advantage over the others who are not doing the same.

I encourage you to go into the training with a “What can I learn?” attitude and look for the opportunities to add value in a different way. It may help you stand out in a crowded market.

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