Speak to any wholesaler that started their career 15-20+ years ago and you’ll hear a similar refrain:
“My oh my how things have changed.”
The reality is, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
One of a handful of firms that senior leaders in our industry get their decision making insights from.
The insights they share included:
1. We’re headed for a “Succession Cliff”: Cerulli projects that 38% of financial advisors will leave the industry over the next 10 years*. Which, if you consider that average advisor is +50 years of age, that’s easy to fathom.
Since only 10% of financial advisors are under 35, the ledge of said cliff appears in sight.
2. There will be a smaller subset of highly successful advisors: There will be a class of advisor that is served, in whole or in part, by automated platforms.
They will be advisors that survive, but don’t thrive.
The practices that most wholesalers covet will be structured as teams – in fact, over 50% of advisors today (wires, regional, independents, RIA) are in a team structure.
When that number is stratified by assets under management, the number jump to 93% of practices with over $500 million AUM operate in a team structure.
3. The empirical number of wholesalers will decrease: Considering that there will be less “buying units” to call on, that’s an easy dot to connect.
4. Wholesalers will be better paid: Read on….
Surviving The Decade Ahead
If you intend on being one of the fewer, better paid wholesalers that serve the larger, team based, successful advisor practices, pay close attention to the following.
Letting Go: One of the primary irritations a wholesaler encounters is when someone from another department wants a clear window into the processes and activities occurring in their region.
Part of the DNA of a wholesaler is to be in control…of everything.
You’ll need to let go of that feeling.
Yesterday’s wholesaling model was bottom up – wholesaler hunted for and bagged sales in a manner that required minimal home office interaction.
Today’s wholesaling is top down – the data helps you determine who to see and there is a ton of support to make those advisor interactions a success.
Trusting in Others: Work to find partners within your firm (portfolio, marketing, legal, compliance, operations, product) that form the nucleus of your team.
Those who have earned your trust to communicate directly with your advisor teams.
Then you’ll need to “open the kimono” and let the free flow of information about these advisor practices flow.
Furthering Your Education: CIMA, ChFC, CFA, CFP are all credentials that are viewed as preferred/necessary, depending on which member of the advisor’s team you are facing off against.
View this video for further insights into advisor perceptions of credentials:
Thinking Like A CEO: If you’re running an entire organization (CEO), you’ve refined certain skills that ‘individual contributors’ (wholesalers) have not given as much thought to.
These skills will serve you well as you navigate the landscape ahead:
Communication: Yes, you are a professional communicator to clients and prospects, but how adept are you at communicating corporately?
How well do you include others in your ideas and updates?
Do you have a forum to cross pollinate those ideas and share updates (think weekly meeting).
Have you proactively introduced the members of your team to the clients they will serve?
Can you communicate what you need, from whom, when you need it by, and how it should be done?
Know How to Deploy Your Resources: It’s great that your firm has specialists (and specialists that serve those specialists).
The question is, do you have a clear idea how to match the resources provided with the right advisors, for the right reason, at the right time?
Be Emotionally Intelligent: This includes your ability to:
- master the art of compromise,
- see, and consider, another person’s perspective,
- being able to express your feelings appropriately,
- take responsibility for your actions and behaviors,
- keep your word and are dependable.
Relationship-Building Skills: You already have these skills as a wholesaler – but they are likely put to use only on external clients and prospects.
In order to maximize your success in the future, you’ll need to leverage these skills against internal partners as well.
Manage Your Ego: As you move from a ‘solo practitioner’ wholesaler to a wholesaler who locally manages the firms’ resources and teams required to succeed, you’ll need to keep your ego in check.
Know Your Weaknesses: You simply cannot be good at everything, no one can.
Know where you shine, and where others shine brighter.
Dial Up Your Accountability: In a world where you are a ‘lone wolf’ you are primarily accountable to you.
In a world where you are interdependent on a highly functioning team, you’ll need to recheck your commitment to being consistently accountable.
Patience for the Process: We sell intangibles that often have a reasonably long sales cycle.
If our future paradigm includes more teams, with more players (both internally and externally), it’s safe to assume that the sales cycle will extend.
Do you need to tune up your patience for the process?
Organization: Admit it.
If you are like most wholesalers, your organizational skills are, shall we say, in need of improvement.
If you are leading/participating in a high performing team that is responsible for calling on the highest level of advisor practices you’ll need to make a conscious effort to be tight and organized in all that you do.
If you have not listened to this thought provoking discussion yet, we strongly recommend that you give it a listen right now: