The distribution community is no stranger to change.
Yet the winds of change are blowing harder and faster than ever before.
Wholesalers who resist the change will find their careers, and their livelihoods, irreversibly altered.
Mark Magnacca, President and co-founder of Allego, has spent the last 15 years helping sales leaders shorten the sales cycle and distribute their best ideas faster. Over the last five years, Mark has been instrumental in coaching leading sales teams to deliver a consistent message in the marketplace by integrating mobile technology into their sales process.
He has worked as a presentation coach with a wide range of financial service companies by delivering innovative, practice-development and business-building strategies. Mark is the author of “So What? How To Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience”. His work has been featured in numerous media outlets including Fox TV, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.
The Evolution of Wholesaling
Advisors today demand more consultative wholesaler engagement. If you’re still “showing up and throwing up,” you’re not going to survive in today’s competitive market.
Why the shift in wholesaler-advisor dynamics?
Financial advisors have access to just about everything they need from a data standpoint, before the wholesaler even walks in the door.
As more content becomes available to advisors, they have less need for appointments with you. You have to bring consultative value if you want advisors to value their time with you, if they take your meetings at all.
So what can you do to secure meetings and add value to your relationships with advisors?
The Six Characteristics of The Consultant Seller*
- Embraces technology: In order to bring relevant value to an advisor, you have to embrace the latest technology, even the basics like smartphones.
- Shares new ideas: This comes naturally to wholesalers, who like to share ideas. The question is, are you sharing relevant ideas?
It’s important to have a variety of ideas so you can adjust to the advisor you’re talking to.
- Exhibits business acumen: The truly great wholesalers understand the business, the way advisors make money, the political dynamics within a firm, and the challenges an advisor faces.
There are a number of ways that business acumen can inform the solutions you’re going to bring. It’s about building relationships of trust and competence where advisors want to work with you and recommend you to others.
- Communicates effectively: I’ve worked with thousands of wholesalers in every channel of distribution over 15 years. As a group, they’re better communicators than average.
Within that subset, there are some who take the time to think about what they’re going to say and they are the ones who are ultimately most successful.
Wholesalers who come in locked and loaded with their presentation without listening and adapting do not perform as well. Great listening is asking better questions. It’s like a bad Google search. If you don’t put the right search terms in, you don’t get the right information back.
- Seeks collaboration: Collaboration requires tapping into Centers of Influence of any variety. It’s knowing whoever that specialized person is who can influence your business, and your life.
It’s also collaboration at every level within your organization: among peers, between you and your boss, with portfolio managers, right up to getting a message from the CEO and being able to react and respond.
- Leverages Data: Similar to the first trait of embracing technology, there’s been a massive shift, and wholesalers are paying more attention.
They wonder: How should I design my day or week with the rotation I’m on?
Which firms should I meet with and who should I meet with at those firms?
Knowing who you’re going after and being able to leverage content from the sea of info your firm produces, particularly the one or two things that matter to the advisor you’re meeting with today, will pay off in the end.
The world has changed dramatically for wholesalers and their quest to be more effective and meaningful consultants to advisors. When I started in this business, we were trained in a “just in case” manner, which means you had to learn volumes of material from the Series 6 or Series 7, just in case you ever had to do a bull call split with options, even though you probably never will.
With the Allego platform, we approach training “just-in-time”, which is a YouTube style of learning, where you may not have any need to master a topic until you encounter a specific selling situation. At that point, you can actively search for a short video that explains the exact thing you need to learn.
Next, the world is moving to a “just for me” format, where, in the not so distant future, the world of sales will mimic Netflix and Amazon by making recommendations based on your past behaviors and preferences.
For example if your firm uses Salesforce.com, and you’re about to call on a prospect, a modern mobile video sales learning platform could recommend three or four short videos for you to watch before you go to that appointment.
These are peer-generated videos, relevant to that meeting and firm, which give you the insights and information that allows you to walk into appointments with more confidence and knowledge.
By adopting these six consultant seller traits outlined above, and embracing modern mobile video sales learning tools, wholesalers are well on their way to becoming trusted consultants to the advisors they serve.
Written by Mark Magnacca, President and Co-founder, Allego
Wholesaler Masterminds content is now available on Allego.
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*Global research and advisory firm Forrester: The Six Characteristics of The Consultant Seller (“The B2B Sales Force Digital Reboot,” Mary Shea. October 19, 2015)