Unlocking Real Value Blog

Giving Advisors What They Want

I’ve read a number of articles over the past few days analyzing why communications between advisors and wholesalers break down. Many mutual fund companies and investment managers continue to struggle with the best way to earn the trust of advisors, and in turn become one their core investment offerings.

Well – I have a news flash – it really is not all that complicated! The one caveat is that good performance must be there – because if an investment firm is consistently under-performing, it will be very difficult for any wholesaler to establish a long-term relationship with any advisor. Let’s not be naive – this is all about business. The wholesaler wants to help the advisor, but if no business comes his way, this support will inevitably diminish.

I don’t view this as a conflict of interest as much as a reality of life. Top-notch advisors do business with multiple providers of investments, and it’s fine that the level of support and communication is a factor in the decision-making process. After all, they need to provide their clients with information on an on-going basis.

So, what are the keys to success in this advisor/wholesaler relationship?

The first key to success is one that does not have a lot to do with the wholesaler per se. It’s important that the firm that the wholesaler works for communications openly with the home office of the advisor so that the rules of the road are clear and that the priorities of the sponsor become those of the investment provider (and in turn the wholesaler). Advisors do not want to do business with firms that will potentially bring him into conflict with the powers that be at his firm. A strong firm-to-firm relationship makes the job of the wholesaler easier from the start.

Then it is up to the wholesaler. Begin by asking what the advisor wants  – not by telling them what you offer and can do for them. The best salesmen – and wholesalers are after all salesmen – listen more than they talk. While there will be a lot of common answers – like value-added presentations or financial support for seminars (if allowed by the firm) – each advisor will want to get information and communicate with you in his own way.

Make the advisor feel like the services you area providing, and the way that you are providing them, is unique and custom to his needs. Treat him like the client that he is. Ask how often he wants to hear from you and in what form. Ask for permission to contact him in case of “emergencies” that need to be communicated quickly.

In other words, treat the advisor as a partner. Advisors spend a lot of time making sure that their clients are happy – wholesalers should do the same. The most successful wholesalers understand that advisors want this same level of attention given to them in their relationship. See – its not that complicated! But it does go beyond having the best value-added training modules.

Its the relationship, the relationship, the relationship. And communication, communication, communication.

Leave a Reply