How to find the best wholesalers and get the most out of your relationship with them

Matthew Paine

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In the financial services world where there are mountains of products, advice and ideas, the right wholesaler can become your Sherpa, guiding you and your practice to the top.

But, like climbing the world’s highest peaks, there are no guarantees of success and, like Sherpas, some wholesalers are better than others at maneuvering the long path to success. So, what are the best qualities to look for in that wholesaler who can be relied on when the going gets rough and what can you do to get the most out of your relationship with them?

First off, you have to understand (and respect) the critical role wholesalers can play in both your investing and insurance products and the development of your practice. A good wholesaler can enable advisors and agents to work more efficiently in their role as more than just a conduit between clients and products/services: in addition to product knowledge, great wholesalers can provide practice management tips and ideas you probably would not be able to easily get on your own.

While the worst wholesalers either shape up or leave the business, the best wholesalers demonstrate the following characteristics:

  1. They know your practice and your clients: This means offering products that you can take to your clients with confidence that have the potential to deliver what your clients need. If you have retirees who need security, it means products with security and track records built in, not the cryptocurrency of the month.
  2. They are hyper-responsive to your needs: They (or their team) are available when you need them to answer critical client questions.
  3. They always look for a win-win in their relationships: The best wholesalers want to develop a long-term relationship with you that isn’t one sided in either direction. In this business, nobody wins unless everybody wins and that includes the wholesaler, you and your clients.
  4. They are willing to go the extra mile for the clients they work with: That can mean getting you an answer quickly, always being available when you need them and becoming indispensable to your practice.

Once you have found a wholesaler who can live up to these ideals – it’s not as easy as you might think – you need to find ways to use them as much as you can in your practice. Here are ways you can get the best out of your wholesalers to make you more successful:

  1. Treat them as a partner, not just a checkbook. You need to develop a successful partnership together that builds a healthy respect for what each side brings and a trust that they will deliver when you need them.
  2. Use their skills in all aspects of your practice:
  3. As a speaker in presentations to your clients about the products they represent. This can be a sensitive topic. Many advisors feel their credibility is damaged if they let a wholesaler speak to their clients. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Using a wholesaler with subject matter expertise will strengthen the relationship with the client. Clients tend to respond favorably when their advisor or agent is working with a team to achieve the client’s goals.
  4. To help you close a deal with your clients – the best wholesalers are some of the best closers I have ever worked with in the industry.
  5. Positioned as your partner, they can be invaluable in overcoming client objections and making a sale.
  6. Bring them in as a guest at client events where they can talk about investing/insurance issues that matter to your practice and your clients.
  7. Ask them for ways to grow your practice. The best wholesalers are in demand with the most successful practices, a position that gives them special insight into what it takes to be successful. Use that knowledge and pick their brain for ideas and suggestions to build your practice. They can tell you the key attributes or common themes/practices they see in the top advisors that make them successful.
  8. Utilize their internal partner to make your practice run smoother. The external wholesaler is likely to spend most of his or her time on the road, leaving their internal wholesaler to be the contact you can reach most quickly when you have a specific problem.
  9. Constantly evaluate your wholesalers to make sure you are getting the most out of the relationship. This will mean meeting with them in-person on a regular basis to keep them up to date on the needs of your clients. You will want to have regular discussions about problems you have and any ways to improve your working relationship.
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