Always a rare opportunity.
To be able to speak to current and former senior leaders of the firms that we serve.
Specifically about great wholesalers…and those that have work to do to become great.
For the past 30+ years, Bill Edmonds has worked in the Financial Services industry, both as an Advisor and a leader of Advisors.
He joined Merrill Lynch as an FA in 1991, and built a successful book of business as a Chairman’s Club producer. In 1995, he became a Resident Director (producing manager), and was named “Manager of the Year” on two separate occasions. He joined the executive ranks of the firm in 2006, as a Director, where he continued until his retirement in December of 2014. In his most recent role as the Director of the Columbia Complex, he took the market from 80 Advisors and $65MM in revenue to 125 Advisors and over $107MM in revenue in a seven year period.
Bill has hired and trained hundreds of FAs and has coached hundreds of Advisors to higher production levels. He has coached FAs on team formation, systems processes and work-life balance issues.
The core of Bill’s coaching and consulting is hands on, one-on-one engagement with FAs who want to create excellence in their practice. This is accomplished by combining the latest tools, techniques and resources with the particular qualities and strengths that each Advisor brings to the table.
Book Bill for your next event through Wholesaler Masterminds Speakers Bureau (services provided by Ro Morrison & Associates).
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“You Can’t Fool the Players.”
This is what one of my mentors used to say to me repeatedly. He employed the phrase both observationally and anecdotally when describing the mindless actions of leaders inside the organization and partners from the outside when they would attempt to put half-baked goods and inferior content in front of savvy Advisors.
If you can’t fool the players, why do some Wholesalers keep running the same plays?
As a Complex Director, my best Wholesaling partners had a value proposition that resonated, differentiated, and validated. Unfortunately many pitches I heard from Wholesalers only exacerbated, alienated, and agitated me.
So, what play should you run? Why not run the play that’s uniquely yours?
Wholesalers and Advisors alike can learn a lot from basketball player Rick Barry. Barry is a retired NBA Hall of Famer who employed an unorthodox free throw shooting technique – the underhanded “granny shot” style. Nobody shot free throws like this except Rick, but it worked for him. It was uniquely his. When he retired from a fifteen-year career of professional basketball in 1980, his career free throw percentage accuracy was 90%, ranking him the number one free throw shooter in pro basketball history at the time. Borrowing from the poet Robert Frost, Barry “took the road less traveled, and it [has] made all the difference.”
What is your unique, differentiating value proposition?
Here’s a phrase I heard a lot from Wholesalers who didn’t differentiate themselves: “Got a minute?” “Got a minute” simply means, “I don’t have anything worthwhile to offer and I’m just going to waste your time.” When you don’t differentiate, you don’t resonate. When you don’t resonate you’re irrelevant.
The Wholesalers who were accretive and relevant to my business and that of the Advisors I led, where the ones that brought me value – value in the form of information and ideas that could drive the value proposition of my FAs. They answered the questions Advisors were asking themselves – the things that were keeping them up at night. They marketed with content, not product.
All things being equal, people buy from those they know, like, and trust. What are you doing to get FAs to know, like, and a trust you? What gets you in the door will keep you in the door – authenticity, genuineness, and “others” focused. What shuts the door will keep the door shut for a very long time.
One of my best Wholesaler partners made his first appointment with me and opened with a simple question. He simply asked me, “What can I do to help you drive your initiatives and add value to your FAs?” I told him, and he offered a series of presentations around a topic none of his peers had offered – behavioral finance. The presentations were a big hit and attendance was great. Product wasn’t discussed, and he was able to meet with all the Advisors who attended because his content resonated, differentiated, and validated.
For those still leading with, “got a minute”, I would like to offer two suggestions to transform your business. First, put the brochures away. Second, look your customer in the eye and answer the question they are asking themselves right now: “How will I stay relevant in an environment that is demanding that I change, and how do I change?”
Now, as a full-time coach to Advisors, I encounter three groups of FAs. Those embracing the momentum of the DOL message – transparency and a fee-based practice who see this as the future of the business…they “get it”; those in the middle who know they need to do something but aren’t sure how to do it and are desperately in need of a strategy coach; and those who are looking for the exit doors.
These groups are not divided by production. They are divided by strategy or lack thereof. Don’t spend time with exit seekers. Don’t spend much time with those who “get it”. Go where the competition is silent and where you can add the most value – those in the “moveable middle”.
Become a strategy coach to the “moveable middle” by becoming their trusted partner to help them move from fear to relevance and vibrancy in their practice. Do this for them and you will become their “life-line” – their North Star in a world full of noise, breathing direction and purpose into their livelihood.
Maybe it’s time to run your own play – the one that’s uniquely yours by changing to the “granny style” shot while helping others do the same? Your success will improve and so will the success of those you serve. Perhaps it’s your road not yet traveled – the one that will make all the difference.
You can’t fool the players, but you can add value to them. Value resonates, differentiates, and validates!
Written by Bill Edmonds