Whoa – what a ride it’s been.
The bull market we have all enjoyed is now over eight years old.
Since the market bottom on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 is up roughly 250 percent.
And sure as the sun comes up over the horizon, the next recession will come, the market will tank, our industry will be challenged and distributors will right size their wholesaling teams.
The question becomes, how do you insulate yourself today from the right sizing of tomorrow and assure your position at your firm?
What steps should you be taking today to make absolutely certain (as ‘certain’ can be in our business) that when the chunks start hitting the fan you are safely out of harm’s way?
How Does Management Evaluate Wholesalers When Cuts Need To Be Made?
Think of the following list in terms of the sum of it’s parts.
Said another way, no one factor will likely save the wholesaler who is underperforming in all others.
Maintain sales volume – While a seemingly obvious indicator of future job security, look deeper than just the top line sales number to access your success with:
- driving sales from the right/focus firms. These are the firms deemed to be of the highest value to your organization, so you’d be wise to earn sales from them;
- creating sales across a broad cross section of advisors – not sales highly concentrated either by firm or advisor;
- product sales that span multiple asset classes/product lines; developing a diverse book of business.
Be part of the conversation – Many wholesalers work hard to “stay under the radar”.
While this may serve you well when all ship are rising, when the tough personnel decisions are being made it could backfire.
How much do you participate in the conversation with:
- Your Boss – Do you actively engage your boss to discuss successes and failures, both yours personally and of the team?
Are you assisting her/him with finding solutions versus bitching about the current state of the union?
- Your Peers – The daily airwaves between wholesalers are full of chatter, but what context does the chatter take?
Have you developed a reputation as a mob organizer or as the voice of reason and assistance?
Do you give willingly of your time and talent to others, or have you built walls around your practice that shield others from the opportunity to engage and learn from you?
Are you a leader amongst your peers?
- Your Home Office Partners: What’s your reputation like at the home office?
If compliance, marketing, legal, or customer service, were asked about their interactions with you, what would they say?
When a partner department needs feedback regarding a policy, procedure or wholesaler facing idea are you on the list of those who would be consulted?
Alternately (and brutally honestly), if you are a pain in the ass to deal with, you are not in good standing when tough decisions need to be made regarding staffing.
Maintain the right, high activity – Two parts to the equation.
- Right activity: Are you seeing the right advisors, at the right firms, at the right time, for the right reason?
Does your activity support your firm’s advisor data, management guidance, broker dealer sponsorships, and overall coverage model?
- High activity: This speaks to volume.
By virtue of your one on one appointments, group meetings, COI engagement, email marketing, snail mail marketing, etc. to the right clients and prospects, are you getting in front of enough potential sellers and/or influencers?
Note: this is not to be confused with being ‘busy’. [Read: Are You Hiding Behind Busy?]
Stay administratively current – If you are thinking that your volume of sales tonnage will absolve you from the responsibilities of your administrative tasks, think again.
In a world where your management is faced with tough decisions and two wholesalers are producing roughly the same volume of sales, but one is an administrative nightmare, guess who’s on their way to the unemployment line?
Constantly hounding you for your call notes to be input into SalesForce or your credit card to be reconciled is time consuming, taxing, and unnecessary – especially when management can keep another employee who is just as sales able and knows how to complete an expense report on time.
You may remember the wholesaler horror show of 2008/2009.
Or, you may have cut your wholesaling teeth in this amazing bull market run.
Either way, let this serve as a reminder that the worm will turn.
And your actions today will determine your outcomes tomorrow.