Our Approach - Wholesaler Institute
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Our Approach

The content for The Wholesaler Institute’s programs is based upon the Eight Pillars of Effective Wholesaling. The strategies, techniques, and systems The Wholesaler Institute utilizes to train in these eight areas are based upon the best practices for the most successful wholesalers.


The Eight Pillars of Effective Wholesaling


Executive Overview

Vision: to have the most valued, trusted, and successful wholesalers in the financial services business; wholesalers who are distinctive, relevant, and consistent; wholesalers who will develop sustainable flows of business through relationships.


To move toward this vision there must be a strategy focused on the developmental needs of the wholesalers and sales managers — a strategy that will improve productivity and position the firm to achieve its distribution and profitability objectives.


Purpose  The Eight Pillars of Effective Wholesaling identifies those behaviors that lead to high performance and helps sales managers effectively coach their wholesalers to be top performers.
Outcomes To create tools that will expand knowledge and improve skills to effectively developing sustainable flows of business.


The Five Levels of Wholesaler Development

Wholesaler development needs vary, based on their present levels of productivity.  Developing wholesalers as one group would dilute the effectiveness of any responses. Wholesalers need to be developed based on their experience and their current capabilities.  Below are the five levels of wholesaling:


Formative Less than one year of wholesaler experience
Developing Two to three years’ experience, or 1-9 Evergreen investment professionals
Emerging Three to five years’ experience, or 10-24 Evergreen investment professionals
Mature Five or more years in the business, or 25-49 Evergreen investment professionals
Prime Performer Top ten percent of wholesalers, or 50 Evergreen investment professionals


Note: Evergreens are investment professionals who generate significant and sustainable flows of business.

Success in moving from one level of development to another is influenced by:

  • Formative and Developing Level  – a high activity base from which the wholesaler can learn to apply product knowledge, learn the principles of the sales process, and build a level of trust with investment professionals.
  • Emerging and Mature Level – the expansion of the base of Evergreen investment professionals, depth of the development of existing Evergreen investment professionals, and becoming recognized as a person who can service their marketplace and function effectively as a wholesaler.
  • Prime Performer Level – has the capability of generating significant amounts of revenue and forming “strategic alliances” with Evergreen investment professionals in which the wholesaler becomes an integral part of the achievement of the Evergreen investment professional’s goals.
  • The factors that distinguish the top-producing wholesalers from other wholesalers are:
  • The ability to translate the knowledge they possess about products, sales process and case design into sales applications and narratives tailored to the investment professional, and/or
  • To become an integral part of the revenue generated by their investment professional because of the relationship and business-building skills developed over the years.


The Eight Pillars of Effective Wholesaling


The genius in wholesaling is based on providing creative solutions and resources, developing and maintaining profitable relationships, and successfully spurring people to action.


Wholesalers must be:

  • Able to generate a sufficient number of new leads and have a process to rapidly move these leads through the sales process.
  • Able to create value and build durable, long-term relationships.
  • Knowledgeable and skilled in products, sales applications, upselling, and practice management.
  • Able to manage time and budgets.


In order for sales managers to effectively coach, manage, and develop their wholesalers, an assessment tool has been developed to measure the level of wholesaler behavior and performance.  The assessment tool includes recommendations for closing gaps and moving to the next stage of wholesaler development.


On the following pages is an in-depth analysis of the Eight Pillars and the related behaviors necessary to develop the Prime Performing Wholesaler.

Eight Pillars:


Lead Management Territory Management Sales Process  Relationship Development Time Management Communication Education Financial Management
Lead Management The first order of business is to identify new targets of opportunity or leads in order to convert them to customers. The process includes ways to generate, process and track investment professionals from the “prospect” stage through the “Evergreen” stage of development.
Territory Management Territory management  is a process that creates and maintains great investment-professional experiences to: (1) generate sustainable flows of business (speedometer), (2) grow relationships and maintain high asset retention levels (odometer), (3) create cross-selling opportunities with channel partners, (4) create goodwill within a firm, and (5) generate referrals.
Sales Process The sales process involves the orchestration of efforts and events in a relationship-based sales experience with prospects.  It spans the process of arousing a prospect’s interest, creating value, and planting seeds for the next sales opportunity, better known as “advances.”
Relationship Development A case development and management system generates an appropriate solution to an investment professional’s situation through a process of due diligence, consultation and use of analytical tools. The case should be developed to solve a problem, and fulfill a need, and leave the door open for future business.
Time Management A time management system is an offensive and defensive mechanism to ensure the wholesaler maximizes business time.
Communication A critical component of the wholesaler communication system is identification of the key relationships in the territory to ensure these relationships get regular, proactive contact.  The communication system also includes the investment professional’s staff and topics that resonate and comply with the communication medium(s) requested by the investment professional.
Education The education system involves using tools, resources, and media to stay sharp on financial services matters, to anticipate new sales and marketing opportunities, and to be an advocate for a company’s investment professionals’ clients.
Financial Management A financial management system involves using the tools and disciplines to maximize profitability of the territory.


The first four: Lead Management, Territory Management, Sales Process, and Relationship Development, are the core four pillars and must be dealt with first.

Sample Report


          Wholesaler Practice Management Assessment Overview
       8 Practice Management Business Systems
Prime  1000
Mature 850


Technology Tools Self-Assessment


Wholesaling Metrics



Success requires alignment of the processes, people, roles, strategy, and the customer. Positive results are driven by measurement. What gets measured gets done; what gets rewarded gets done again. Here are the critical measures for wholesaler success:


Weekly wholesaler benchmarks for sales activities:


Activity Weekly Goal Comments
  Total Appointments 20 The benchmark is to see five people per day, four days a week.
  Total Appointments – First Time Targets 5 One new target per day.
  Total Appointments – Booked Ahead 120 Appointments should be booked out six weeks in advance.
GROUP MEETINGS 3 Based on ideal weekly target.
DISCOVERY MEETINGS 8 At least one for each new target, plus seconds calls
NEW OPPORTUNITIES 20 Twenty new cases open per week. Target to have five times the monthly production goal in the pipeline at all times.
ADVISOR DEBRIEFS 5 Feedback is important.
NEW PHONE CALLS TO TARGET 20 Prospecting new sources of business, e.g. follow-up calls to group meeting leads.
REFERRALS 5 New targets that match ideal profile.


Other Metrics


  • Maintain a list of 200 investment professionals.  The ideal mix is: 50 Evergreens, 100-150 Core (advisors who generate one or two tickets per year), and 50 Targets (prospects).
  • 160 working days per year.
  • The maximum number of production centers should be six; four is preferred.
  • Plan calendar out twelve weeks in advance, and schedule out six weeks.
  • 800 to 850 face-to-face appointments per year.
  • Cycle five Targets in and out of the Target category each week.
  • Update business plans quarterly.