It started with our Sunday Night Email.
And the concepts of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.
While writing What’s Your Motivation?, we knew we needed a survey to learn more about what makes wholesalers, circa 2019, tick.
In the email we explained the difference between the two as:
“Extrinsic motivation occurs when we are motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment. In this case, you engage in a behavior not because you enjoy it or because you find it satisfying, but in order to get something in return or avoid something unpleasant.”*
“Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding; essentially, performing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward. Essentially, the behavior itself is its own reward.”*
The survey was open from February 24 until March 5.
We received 260 responses to the three questions that we asked.
The Results (hint: click on any image for full size viewing)
We asked: What motivates you to be a high performing wholesaler? (select your one, PRIMARY, motivator)
The answer options were:
- Earn a lot of money (includes provide for family, etc.)
- To be recognized as one of the best at my firm
- To make a meaningful difference to advisors and their clients
- To get promoted to my next roll
- Fear – I just can’t imagine doing anything else
Nearly 50% of wholesalers surveyed offered, unsurprisingly, that money was their primary motivator.
“Making a meaningful difference” was a top selection for 31% of wholesalers. This option was selected by wholesalers across the age spectrum – though concentrated in the 36-65 age bands.
Conversely, only 1.2% of respondents said that getting promoted to their next roll was their primary motivator for wholesaling.
We included an answer option of “Fear – I just can’t imagine doing anything else”, as we know that the longer you do this work, the harder it is to transition to another career. That said, the ‘Fear’ responses was evenly distributed across all wholesaler age groups.
We asked: What’s the ONE thing that intrinsically motivates you – when you act without any obvious external rewards? Examples include: pleasure travel, read, work out, play sports, painting, etc.
Not unexpectedly, the answers to this ‘fill-in the blank’ question were varied and unique.
The most frequent responses were:
Sports (includes playing, watching, working out, coaching etc.) = 20.3%
Family = 18.8%
Travel = 17.3%
Other responses included:
food (dining out, cooking)
and one vote for: naps.
We asked: How old are you?
Notable survey comments we received included:
“Financial Independence motivates me. Not things. As I get closer to financial independence, more things that would bother me in the past just roll off my shoulders.” ~46-55 year old wholesaler
“Culture is far more important than money.” ~46-55 year old wholesaler
“Earning a lot of money is still a motivator! However I believe you will never reach your true earning potential as a wholesaler if you don’t make a meaningful difference to advisors and their clients. It’s how you can open the “referral” floodgate.” ~36-45 year old wholesaler
“It feels disingenuous to suggest that money-making isn’t my primary motivator, but the times I most ENJOY my work is when an advisor or client experiences something beneficially cathartic because of my work – and tells me about it.” ~56-65 year old wholesaler
“It’s all about keeping it fresh and staying fully engaged. When you get in a routine of blah everything suffers, i.e. work, happiness, everything. Managing your attitude is the most critical part of my personal success and with wholesaling this can be a challenge.” ~26-35 year old wholesaler
“The game is changing. Asset managers/Insurers need to understand if they want high quality sales people (distribution) they are going to have to pay for it, just like they pay for high quality money managers. This industry is not the only place for sales pros to make a lot of money. Keep cutting comp and you’ll be left with what you pay for.” ~36-45 year old wholesaler
“Unsolicited praise is a strong affirmation.” ~56-65 year old wholesaler
“Numerous industry challenges for active mgmt wholesalers to navigate in the coming years – indexing movement, platform fee compression, shrinking FA headcount in the industry. Amazingly, FAs seem more over-wholesaled now than they did a decade ago. FA time and shelf space becoming ever more scarce.” ~36-45 year old wholesaler
“Wholesaling has changed a lot so adaption and change is the new norm.” ~46-55 year old wholesaler
“I don’t love wholesaling, but I do love the process of accomplishment. I satisfy that itch by wholesaling effectively but also in other ways (fitness, hobbies, etc) that would not be possible if they could not be underwritten by my profession. ~36-45 year old wholesaler
“Best job in the industry but at 56 there is no room for growth other than the income.” ~56-65 year old wholesaler
Thanks to all who took the time to respond -we appreciate you!