A recent LIMRA study found that many financial advisors stated they prefer to do business with internal and external wholesalers who work together as a team.
The purpose of the study was to better understand the advisor-wholesaler relationship and the value both internal and external wholesalers bring to an advisor’s practice. Nine hundred financial professionals completed a written survey and 17 advisors participated in one-on-one interviews to gain further perspective on their experience with company wholesalers.
When advisors spoke of working with favorite wholesalers during the interviews, they often referred to them as “teams,” rather than “the sales desk” and the “external.” Wholesaler support for advisors can range from providing knowledge of their company's products, to navigating diverse client needs and providing solutions to satisfy those needs. Internal and external roles are sometimes perceived as interchangeable, but advisors in the survey noted their preference for who they believe is the best provider of certain wholesaler services. (Chart)
As advisors demand more services from both internal and external wholesalers, company wholesalers who present a team dynamic can increase efficiency and provide the type of seamless support advisors are seeking.
Companies can choose from several strategies to design a wholesaling support model that works best for their advisor clients:
Company Dictated Responsibilities — In this approach an internal person is paired with an external and their roles are clearly defined by the company. This model tends to be cost-effective for the company but lacks flexibility and does not play to each team's dynamic.
Team Defined Responsibilities — The team decides which duties work best with their personalities. While it allows flexibility, good communication is essential and the team would need to frequently evaluate how well the model is working.
Hybrid Model — In this scenario one person takes on the internal and external role. This model can provide an opportunity for a wholesaler to make a higher salary than an internal wholesaler could while traveling less than an external wholesaler. In some cases, two hybrids work as a team to insure better access to advisors.
Team-Based Wholesaling Model — In this model multiple internals on the sales desk partner with one external. This works best when an external has an expanded territory with several designated sales desk representatives. With several internals, it's easier to manage turnover and maintain responsiveness to advisor needs.
The best model for a company depends on a number of factors such as the complexity of the products they sell and the channels where they sell them. For any model to succeed the wholesaler team must concentrate their efforts on effective communication and provide seamless support to their advisor client.