In late 2015 Ignites Distribution Research released Beyond the Cliche of ‘Consultative’ Wholesaling which polled the advisor community regarding the consultative capabilities of our wholesaling community.
Among the questions, they specifically asked advisors about the most important skills needed for wholesalers to succeed in forming relationships with their practices.
All of the figures represent the weighted percentage of advisors who deemed the skill very important or crucial in the study.
Be an Expert on Their Firm’s Product
While considered ‘table stakes’, and the very reason we have jobs representing product manufacturers, it’s instructive to note the 2015 vs 2014 increase in the percentage of advisors who indicate that being an expert on the firm’s products is a vital skill.
We believe that one reason for the increase is the increasing complexity of products across the distribution spectrum.
One UK consultant, Huntswood, produced a piece that observes: The current macroeconomic environment of low-interest rates and highly volatile markets has led to an increase in more complex products as consumers seek capital security…
… the regulator is remaining concerned that more complex products [referenced in their article] involve risks that are not understood by consumers or their advisers…
For wholesalers, this creates an opportunity to build advisors mindshare by being a true technician of your firm’s products.
Be Consultative Instead of Product Focussed
For all the times we have heard wholesalers lament the “whattaya got” advisors who simply wants the facts and just the products facts, there is an increasing landscape of advisors that want their wholesalers to be consultative versus product-focused.
The difficult question for so many wholesalers is, “What should I be consulting about?”
For starters, how about:
– Macroeconomic events
– Sector specific education
– Region-specific insights
– Product category education and usage
– Advanced planning techniques
– Regulatory forecasts and interpretations
– Industry/channel best practices
– Informed practice management assistance
And, most importantly, crafting a super solid PVP-Peerless Value Proposition®
Provide Valuable Insights Not Found Elsewhere
In our 25 years of distribution experience, we run across ideas that are timeless – and ideas that are tired.
Your job is to take time-tested, well-worn ideas and breath new life into them – thus creating insights.
Also, your job is to remain a current and keen student of the business, so that you can serve advisors fresh perspectives on a weekly basis from less mainstream (though no less valuable) sources.
This also requires you to exercise your less used creative muscle, in order to present concepts and ideas in a way that, though time-tested, take a fresh approach.
For example, this very site Wholesaler Mastermimnds® combines endless ideas, many of which are new spins on timeless topics, with new insights we believe are not found anywhere else.
Be an Expert on Competitive Products
As the product landscape becomes more complex, it stands to reason that you need to up your game when it comes to your competitors and their product offering.
Advisors should be able to count on you for a deep well of knowledge about:
– How the competitor’s product works
– Key differences that should be highlighted/acknowledged
– Your unique strengths versus the competitor’s
All while presenting an even-tempered approach to the competitor discussion, as product bashing never has been, nor ever will be, in style.
Understand My Business and My Needs
Long gone are the days when wholesalers could slide into an advisor’s guest chair, pull out their yellow pad, and exclaim, “So, tell me about your business”.
In fact, circa 2016, there are advisors that will summarily throw you out if you take this lazy approach.
At Wholesaler Masterminds® we bang the drum loudly about the need for wholesalers to do thorough advisor reconnaissance work on the advisors that they serve/seek to serve.
This includes leveraging all available online and offline resources to uncover as much about the advisor, their practice, their family, their outside interests, etc.
It requires you to use the information in a deft manner to establish a strategic advantage for you and your firm.
From this advisor surveyed list, which skills do you need to improve upon and/or enhance?
Our goal with all wholesalers is the same: to help you move from being a good wholesaler to establishing yourself as a great wholesaler.