Ed. note: This article was originally written by a sales manager who wishes to remain anonymous.
I’ve enjoyed great partnerships with wholesalers over the years, and most of the meetings I’ve planned have involved wholesalers.
Whether it’s sales coaching or a new product roll-out, wholesalers usually add an important dynamic to meetings.
I normally welcome this group of business partners to participate.
But not always.
There are a few issues that have landed some product partners in the “I’ll skip that wholesaler next time” category.
1. Blow a previous presentation or call. One wholesaler actually asked me on a conference call with about 40 participants what he was supposed to talk about when I turned the call over to him. I guess he forgot about our conversation the previous day when he pitched me on a new annuity rider he wanted to present.
2. Bait and switch. The wholesaler told me she was going to go over some tax law changes but not product. Her presentation was solely about her product, even after I introduced her and the tax topic she was going to cover.
3. Talk trash about other investment companies. It is not an uncommon occurrence to have more than one wholesaler participate in the day’s events. However, don’t put down the other guy’s product while he is waiting in the wings to present next, especially since he is the one who bought lunch for the fifty people attending the meeting.
4. Technology fouls. If you need an internet connection, a projector, a sound system and someone to run it for you, then don’t be surprised if you run into a tech foul. Many of my meetings have gone off schedule because some piece of technology isn’t working. I’m not saying don’t use it, but if you do, make sure it works.
5. The automated presentation. This seems to be gaining popularity. The wholesaler shows up, pops in a DVD for the group to watch, and that‘s it. Do I really need a wholesaler for that?
6. Inappropriate references. I had a wholesaler try to explain how we sometimes strive for things we can’t have. He stood behind one of my top producers (someone he didn’t know and who’s got some hair loss) and commented that “some of us wish for more hair.” I thought the point was to make the reps like you and want to sell your product.
7. Bad language. Ok, you’re comfortable with our group and you know us. You still can’t use curse words in front of a large audience.
8. Entourage. This is when I invite you to a meeting and then you show up with your boss, his boss and an obscure subaccount manager. Worse still, they want to say a few words as well – is that OK? Not really.
9. Just in time delivery. If you arrived one minute before your presentation at my last meeting, you’re probably on my “skip” list. I don’t want to stress out at my meeting waiting for you to show up.
10. Does it ever end? Stick to your time slot. I recall one meeting when a wholesaler was well over his time and I was motioning from the back of the room by pointing at my watch. Then I upped it to a neck slash gesture. That’s when he said, “I can see I’m running out of time…” Yes, I thought, 15 minutes ago. At least he shared all of his ideas, as this was his one and only appearance at one of my meetings.
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