September 11, 2014

Wholesaler waste

Male chimpanzee wearing telephone headset : Stock PhotoA wholesaler just left me a voicemail that said, "I am following up from an email that I sent you last week regarding our interest rate outlook. I wanted to get your thoughts on our products and investment process."

Are fund wholesalers still pitching products to anyone who will listen? Apparently, yes.

First, I am not a financial advisor and am not a good prospect for her. She is wasting her time by calling me because I won't drop a ticket. If I am on her call list because I attended a conference, perhaps she could have used a database or Google to perform a quick search to learn who I am and if it makes sense to call.

Second, why would I want to talk to her about her "products and process?" What about the WIIFM model of "What's in it for me?" She could have asked to get my thoughts on what's keeping me up at night or what client issues I am dealing with. Perhaps that could have started a conversation about my problem that she could fix.

With that said, wholesaling is very important. And it's not easy. Internals or hybrids are on the phone working lists, often getting voicemails or gatekeepers who won't let them through. And the serious firms have multiple people calling on advisors looking to have conversations that could turn into a meeting, Webinar attendee or at least an opportunity to "send me something."

But if I'm getting calls like this, she is probably calling other unqualified prospects. And if she has colleagues in the bullpen, they may also be spending time calling unqualified prospects. Her team is likely spending tens-of-thousands of dollars per month on waste.

A sales coach could help her and her team's sales effort. They could learn to be more efficient and effective. They could be having more conversations with qualified prospects. Otherwise, I look forward to receiving the leather gift chotchkie that she will send to me in late October to encourage me to visit her booth at Schwab Impact.

Sure I'll add it to my collection of pre-conference schotchkies that I received over the years, but I won't be dropping a ticket.


  1. Dan;

    Yes, the wholesaler is to blame - and so might be the firm she works for - as I'm guessing she has a list of 'metrics' that she has to meet. These can include (as I am certain you know) dials, talk time, contacts, etc.

    We received an email from an exasperated internal wholesaler a couple of years ago and posted her thoughts. Forgive the link here but she points out Why Firms Need To Reevaluate What They Inspect and Expect:


  2. Rob, thanks for your message. Great story you linked to. I feel for the wholesaler. It's not an easy job. And some firm's don't make it easier. Glad you can help ease the pain.