At a recent conference I met a long tenured wholesaler who spoke about a list he created that defined the 10 things wholesalers must do to insure a long a prosperous career.
Of course I asked him for the list.
That lead to the post A Lot More Than 10 Rules For Wholesalers.
And, after more than 25 years in wholesaling/distribution, I thought I’d create a list of my own.
1. Get your priorities straight:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you are not vigilant this job will own you.
Knowing that, you had better make up your mind that family, friends, health and pursuits beyond wholesaling are critically important.
They are the nutrients that feed your career and your life.
They allow you to do what the job requires at the highest level necessary.
Without them you will find yourself hollow.
Don’t screw this up.
2. You are not that important:
Upon arrival, the program facilitators collected his cell phone and told him he would not get it back until after the two day session was completed.
“You are not that important”, they reminded him.
The business will go on.
To this day he turns off his smartphone late Friday night and doesn’t turn it back on until Sunday night.
3. Kiss your wife and babies:
Wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, kids, dogs, cats, goldfish – it doesn’t matter.
You likely have a propensity to neglect the ones that you love.
I have one client that hired me to focus her on making sure she was able to enjoy the 90 days of maternity leave she was about to experience without caving in to the demands and temptations of voice-mail, email, sales reports and sales rankings.
This means that you no longer sit in the driveway on the phone while kids and dogs anxiously await you crossing the front door threshold – 30 minutes later.
Your career will be significantly crappier if you screw up your most important relationships.
4. Be mindful of the excesses of the job:
You probably have an ample expense account that affords both the opportunity and the mandate to entertain.
And if you are not careful that combination can lead to behavior that you later may not be proud of.
Many years ago there was a wholesaler who, while attempting to be the life of the bar party, thought it would be entertaining to demonstrate the explosive nature of human flatulence and fire.
He was fired and has not been heard from since.
5. Carefully navigate your ethical boundaries:
If you have not been tempted by, or acted upon, a top producer’s outrageous request, you will be.
It will come in the form of that event or financial request that your inner voice says, “This is shady, and I likely shouldn’t be doing it”.
Listen to that inner voice.
There are unemployed wholesalers aplenty that caved to outrageous requests in pursuit of the large trade – only to run a foul of compliance or FINRA.
The income and freedom that your position affords are unique in the financial services industry.
Don’t believe me?
Just ask one of the hundreds (thousands?) of folks that have been evicted from the business since 2008.
6. Guard your brand:
You are the brand people.
Yes, you carry the products and business cards of great firms.
Yet, at days end, it’s you and your reputation.
Filter your decisions accordingly – if you wish it to be it can be a long and highly rewarding career.
7. It’s not always greener grass – it might be crab grass:
Yes, you are tempted to test the free agent employment waters.
After all, good economy or bad, superstars are rewarded handsomely.
And yet there are countless wholesalers that lament that the “evil” that they knew was better than the one that they just met.
Think twice before making a job change.
Besides, there are only so many times you can show up in a producers office with another business card from a new firm before they know that you are a job hopping flake.
8. Management isn’t a natural next stop on the career train:
Yes, you have been a wholesaling ninja.
No, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be a good manager.
The skills and politics of management require a whole different tool box.
It’s a gig that may look tasty from far away, but if not done right will leave a very bad taste once you are fully engaged.
Do your homework about the demands and pitfalls of management before you raise your hand for the next promotion.
9. Beware the “Freshman 15” and its kissing cousin “You’ve Trainwrecked Your Health And Now You’re Screwed”:
It’s one thing to enjoy the perks and opportunities of wholesaling (read: expense account lunches, dinners, lavish events, etc.).
It’s another to not wake up and smell the scent of excessive fat and ill health.
Recently I learned of a wholesaler, in his early 40’s, who simply keeled over one day and died.
Do I have the first clue as to what his diet or genetics were?
What I do know is that the obesity epidemic that faces our country hasn’t skipped over the wholesaling community.
Do yourself, and the folks that depend on you, a favor. Examine what you are putting in your mouth.
Commit to some regular exercise – ANY regular exercise.
10. Stay humble and pick your battles:
Cocky and arrogant is not attractive.
So why is it that many of our peers show off this trait like it’s the latest NYC Fashion Week style?
It’s far more satisfying to be confident in yourself knowing that you have no need to endlessly prove your point.
It also wisest to take a stand only when the stand you wish to take is the one you really want to fall on your sword for.
Otherwise you’ll get labeled as a “whiner”.
And that’s a label you don’t need nor want.
11. Manage you own money wisely:
What a great business we are in.
We make more that 90% of the wage earners in America.
We also speak to people all day about prudent investing.
So why is it that too many wholesalers are over extended and stretched beyond their means?
Let me be the one to remind YOU – pay yourself first.
Get out of debt.
Amass a chuck of money – or as many like to call it “f&%k you” money – that will allow you to have far less pressure next time the winds of change and retrenchment blow over our industry.
This isn’t a complete list – simply one derived from personal experience and observation.
If you have other career extending ideas please leave them, anonymously if you wish, in the comments below.
We work with wholesalers to make absolutely certain that they have as long and as successful a career as they wish to have. Find out more about any of our coaching opportunities today.