In our Sunday Night Email (sign up over in the sidebar to join 10,000 of your peers that receive this communication ——> ) we wrote the following and asked for your input.
And input we got!
Here’s the Sunday Night Email followed, by the reader comments:
We received a question via email that gave us pause for thought.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the following question that I was recently asked in an interview, “Which comes first: the relationship or the sale?”
The context in which the question was asked: it came from a sales manager that believes relationships are good but they don’t get you the sale.
Our reply was:
Short answer – relationship.
If the advisor doesn’t connect with you on some level (relationship) there will be no sale.
So I ask you, can there be a sale without some form of relationship?
What are your thoughts?
Our readers wrote:
Blackrock Global Allocation! Right product, right time, sales people had no relationship
Many years ago, I had a superb wholesaler who worked for my company. She had no problem getting appointments, and, in fact, led the company in terms of activity. The problem was that there were a lot of meetings, but little in the way of sales! Eventually she re-evaluated her business plan and went to those strong “relationships” and said, “look, I enjoy calling on you and since you always take a meeting with me, you clearly enjoy our interactions. I’ve noticed, however, that I’m seeing very little business from you. Unless that changes, I’m going to have to stop calling on you and focus my efforts on other FA’s . . .”. Lo, and behold, business picked up and she became a top producer! Bottom line is that relationships are important but only to the extent that they can be leveraged and turned into business.
Ed note: we wrote about this phenomenon in our post Run Your Business Like A Business, Not A Clubhouse
Why the answer is yes there can be a sale without a relationship. A 2nd sale??? Everyone gets lucky but it takes skill to be in this business a long time.
Rob, for what it is worth, my years of wholesaling has taught me the same lesson that you preach: The relationship is all important. The sale will not come without it.
I fully agree – relationship first. There are some advisors, however – to their credit – that won’t fully engage in the relationship until they are first investing in your product..
Still, you won’t get that sale until the like/appreciate/respect you enough to drop the ticket.
Thanks for your continued insights.
Relationship gives one an opportunity to sell again. A forceful sale NA never give one a chance at a relationship, especially if the idea doesn’t work out well.
Just one man’s opinion.
Sales can happen without a relationship. I had an advisor tell me he did over $3 million with a competitor when I knew there wasn’t a wholesaler covering him. I will say that the relationship is vital for a continual stream of business. The greater the partnership the better the business opportunity. I would have my people focus on a healthy balance between the relationship and being a partner who can always bring value on some level.
The initial relationship is thin, just attraction, bonding, then a small sale to solidify the new relationship. The relationship deepens like a relationship should as two people with a common goal get to know each other. (The problem is, most reps take that first sale and move on, leaving the rest for one of the folks YOU are coaching!)
If you make a ‘sale’ without a relationship, consider yourself lucky, but don’t expect any repeat business, unless you have an exclusive on a product that no one else has at a price that no can match. (Query: Who has something like that other than an Apple store?)
Relationships are sales. We sell ourselves every day and if we don’t we don’t get paid. People buy from people they trust. Or they shop for price alone.
This comment from the sales manager has the feel of someone who just read “The Challenger Sale.” There is a movement / school of thought that indicates that relationship selling is not nearly as effective as what they call “challenger selling.”
Love to know your impressions.
What is the definition of a relationship and who defined it? Companies (banks, brokerage, insurance, asset managers) believe it’s how many products you buy and revenue generated by those products. Personally, I believe a relationship is what my client says, who he say it to and what he does when I leave his office. Like-ability, competence, understanding and trust are the beginning of of any relationship and doing business. Like you said “If the advisor doesn’t connect with you on some level (relationship) there will be no sale”. I personally like many of the people I do business with, there are a few I do not connect with personally but connect very well with their business. It all comes down to; if you like me, you believe I understand your business, you trust me and my solution to help you then you prove your side of the relationship by doing business. Now that being said, there are situations out there today where the product can and does drive the sale. I personally have never had a “hot dot” product so I have had to rely much more on earning relationships and creating momentum. I believe this has made me a much better wholesaler and endeared me to great partners.
Distribution is like a car needing relationship momentum (driver), product momentum (engine) and company momentum (suspension/tires). If you have all three and you can drive to reach any goal but if you are missing one or two of the parts you can still go somewhere but only until the driver or one of the parts wear out. Will the car stay on the highway without a driver?? for a while or until there is a curve in the road! And how many desirable destinations are only reached by straight roads?
This is not just a Relationship or Sale answer. I understand what the sales manager is saying when he says that the relationships are good but they don’t get you the sale. I would add that they don’t always insure a sale. I have a wholesaler that works for me and he has tons of relationships, good ones. When I read the notes in the CRM he has connected with many of the Advisors that he calls on. I have even called them and the all say “Oh Yes Jim is a great guy, we love Jim.” But at the end of the day he is not getting the advisor from friend to customer. On the other side I have Tim. Tim can cold call a new advisor and have the ink on a 2M dollar deal in less than a week. Now Tim cannot get this done without some kind of relationship. What Tim’s advisors know is that Tim is here to work with them and get the AUM in the door for both firms. Tim has fun with his advisor’s and they have social aspect to the relationship. The relationship must be based on the work and goals at hand.
Jim has tons of people that like him but no real friends and very few customers.
Tim has tons of customers that have become close lifelong friends.
Get the sale and let that build the relationship.. They can grow side by side at almost the same time and the same rate.
I have taught this Tale of Two Sales Styles many times. If you like to give me call I would be more than happy to talk with you about the JIMS and TIMS in the world of wholesaling.
Relationships comes first.
My answer is like yours: relationships!
Interesting question and one that has or deserves….context. I’ve been in the investment industry for 26 years, with wholesaling or sales representing some 16 of those years.
If I had to pick one….I would go with relationship. The exception, or context would be when an advisor simply wants a fund or product that you/your firm provides. That, to me, is a transaction and not a true sales relationship. I would compare this to a client of an advisor who doesn’t want wealth management or financial planning….they simply want the advisor to buy (or sell) a CUSIP.
To me the relationship endures volatility and fickleness of firms. Many times the face of the firm is….the wholesaler. If there is trust and confidence in the relationship, this can overcome challenges coming from a home office.
Big topic, short answer. I hope this helps.
We’ll add more as we get them – and feel free to add your own thoughts (anonymously if you wish) below.
This topic is one of the very reasons that wholesalers seeks out Wholesaler Masterminds Coaching.