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Oct 25, 2008 4:43 pm

Not sure if this is the right place to ask this, if so I apologize. Barring that, I just got a marketing/sales job at a somewhat smaller third party firm that has about 30 active independent b/d relationships, and about 110 active reps placing business with us (not naming any particulars of course).

Long story short, I know the guy they hired before me was let go after a 30 day "trial" period, and from what I've gathered, this was simply because he wasn't able to generate any new money (which from just starting, seems daunting). On the plus side, we do have some pretty impressive YTD numbers (one of our plans is up over 40%, and all are far above S+P). So it's just a matter of getting that info out I think.

So my basic question is, being independent reps, and my potential customer, what advice could you possibly give me about effective ways to reach out to those reps that would be a fit for my new company? Right now my department does mass quarterly newsletter/number emailings, sales kit mail outs, and gets warm call lists from b/d's etc. That being said, I have a feeling that mass emails and phone calls are largely ignored.

What I think would be more effective is to build close relationships within the RIA or Advisory department people at the various Ind B/D's through face-to-face meetings, calls, whatever, and work from there down. Then when a rep calls and asks what third party is "hot," our name is fresh on their mind, and they then could direct the rep to us, have us send out sales kits or whatever to just that rep (if they're interested), and go from there.

Any advice? Again, if this is in the completely wrong forum/board/whatever, I'm sorry, and no qualms if a mod makes it disappear. :)

Oct 25, 2008 4:47 pm

So, you're a mutual fund wholesaler?  Separately Managed Account?

I'd be careful in how you market the latest "hot" fund. 

Oct 25, 2008 4:55 pm

We're not a mutual fund, but our money is custodied at mutual fund companies (one in particular). Separately managed account... through sub-accounts in va's, vuls, etc. I think, also, this is just an alternative investmAgain I'm new in the industry, so I'm definitely learning A LOT. But basically, we're a company that manages money managers lol.

And yeah, again I'm sorry if this is the wrong place, and also I am woefully uneducated compared to most if not all of you.

Oct 25, 2008 5:06 pm

And just to clarify, although it may be valid, I'm not really looking to debate the value/lack thereof of our product (mainly because I just don't know enough yet to have an informed opinion). What I really need is - given that an advisor IS interested in our product, and DOES feel that it would be a good fit for a client, what are some good ways to cut through all the other static that a rep gets, and connect our product with an advisor that wants to use it.

Oct 25, 2008 5:13 pm

This just my honest opinion, I don't mean to be rude, but before you even think of trying to figure out how to get more reps interested in whatever service you're providing, you better figure out what that service is. 

Those calls/emails are largely being ignored because most of us are dealing with our clients these days.  That said, I appreciate the American Funds/Legg Mason/Oppenheimer/Zacks/insert-fund-name-here marketing pieces, and client hand-holding pieces. 

What we especially don't have time for is to help a wholesaler figure out what they're selling. 

Oct 25, 2008 6:42 pm

Lol. I'm definitely not asking for help figuring out the intricacies of my products - I know it will come in time.

And IM not trying to be rude, but don't you think it's kind of flattering yourself when you refuse to give an answer to a question that wasn't even asked.

 I thought my question was pretty specific, respectful, and articulately asked. If not, I apologize.  But I'd still love to get a straight response if possible to:

Do you guys think it's a better use of my time as a wholesaler/marketer/whatever to:
1. Contact reps directly through semi-warm lists, or
2. Build relationships with the pertinent Broker/Dealer department (in my case RIA), and have them in turn give our info to interested reps, or vice versa (give me contact info for reps that like what they hear and want to hear more).

Oct 25, 2008 6:49 pm

gvf tried to help you and you brushed him off. If that's the way you're going to deal with your customers/brokers, good luck!


Oct 25, 2008 6:54 pm

Thanks! Seems like a pretty liberal definition of "tried to help," but ok...

Oct 25, 2008 7:00 pm

and I really don't want to get in an argument about arguing on a forum which is a waste of everyone's time...

I'm just asking (if you choose to answer - you're not forced to) whether someone thinks 1 or 2 is a better strategy for reaching reps. That's all. Thanks!

Oct 25, 2008 7:41 pm

ThirdPartyNewb,

 
First, you need to get into the mind of an RIA & IAR.  Would you as a FA recommend that your clients dump their underperforming account to an account that has already seen 40% returns - thereby moving from selling low to buying high during an economically troubled time?  (What you've effectively been saying to each advisor with this is "You should've picked my stuff and you wouldn't be in this mess" and saying that the FA's judgement isn't as good as someone who picks your stuff.  I wouldn't like hearing that at ALL.)
 
Here's a couple of hints that will help you for the rest of your career: 
 
Your product is a COMMODITY.
 
The company you represent is a COMMODITY.
 
What is the unique aspect that you (and only you) can bring into a relationship?  (Hint:  It's YOU.)
 
So, what can YOU bring to the relationship that isn't related to YOUR COMPANY or your PRODUCT that can help enhance a financial advisor's practice?
 
Determine the answer to that question (in fact, you could try to interview advisors who you would like to work with for help on that).
 
Don't go in to see an advisor with your own agenda.  You should be asking:  What do you need to grow your business, get more client referrals and retain the business you have?
 
If you can help an advisor grow THEIR business, you'll grow your business.
Oct 25, 2008 8:52 pm

Ominous - Thanks for the reply, that's really insightful honestly... and exactly the kind of candid info I feel lucky to get from a forum such as this.

I actually haven't even solicited any reps yet whatsoever. Those I've talked to have basically just called me, and wanted to see our numbers, and I've given them out or sent sales material out, etc... So in that way I don't think I've been implying any lack of judgement or anything...  I however do know that the 40% returns are coming from a program that's taken a lot of inverse S&P positions, so it's not really buying high so much I guess?

Oct 25, 2008 8:57 pm

You missed the point.

 
Your numbers don't matter.  Your company doesn't matter.
 
People calling YOU doesn't matter.  (Are you an "order taker" or are you a business builder?)
 
Once you figure out what you SHOULD ask, try starting a new thread and get some responses.
Oct 25, 2008 9:10 pm

Sorry for missing the point, although I don't really think I did to be honest (Saying that this is a business based much more on relationships than numbers).

But frankly, numbers do matter.

I know enough to know that the reason the phone is ringing is because we're up in a down market. If our numbers were down, no one's going to care.

No conversation at an advisor's BD is going to go "Hey, steve, you know of any money managers that are putting up good numbers lately?

"Yeah, but you should try this other company - they have bad numbers but just hired a really great new wholesaler, he seems really cool."

Oct 25, 2008 9:24 pm

Oh, and the only reason I mentioned that I hadn't been calling out at all is because you were insinuating that I was calling up advisors and telling them they should've been in our programs earlier. Was just saying that it wasn't the case, nothing else.

This is my second week. I like the industry and want to make sure they keep me around. That's all. Not trying to be smarter than you. I don't know what the right question to ask is. I don't really know much at all! Was just looking for a little help, not arguments and nitpicking every statement I make. Yeah, I get it, you know guys know a lot more than everyone in the "newbie and rookie" section. You should!

Oct 25, 2008 9:41 pm
ThirdPartyNewb:

Oh, and the only reason I mentioned that I hadn't been calling out at all is because you were insinuating that I was calling up advisors and telling them they should've been in our programs earlier. Was just saying that it wasn't the case, nothing else.  [This effect is SUBTLE, not blunt.  You know that you wouldn't outright say that... but if you keep talking numbers, you can be inferring that the advisor should've been working with you and could've been better off.]

This is my second week. I like the industry and want to make sure they keep me around. That's all. Not trying to be smarter than you. I don't know what the right question to ask is. I don't really know much at all! Was just looking for a little help, not arguments and nitpicking every statement I make. Yeah, I get it, you know guys know a lot more than everyone in the "newbie and rookie" section. You should!

 
You need to grow some balls if you're going to stick around this industry.  I wont coddle you - particularly because you're new.
 
Before I go too deep, are you an INTERNAL wholesaler or an EXTERNAL wholesaler?
 
Regardless of internal/external, I would suggest that you read Nick Murray's books - particularly The Value Added Wholesaler for the Twenty-First Century.  Now I haven't read it, but ALL of Nick's books are worth their weight in gold.  www.nickmurray.com
 
Oct 25, 2008 9:47 pm

It's such a small firm that I'll be doing a little of both. But my read is that as my experience grows I'll move into more of an external role.

Our marketing department, with the addition of me, is now 2 strong, and the other doesn't want to go do all the external type stuff (lunches, conferences, business trips, etc) whereas I really do.

Oct 25, 2008 10:03 pm

thanks for the link, I'll be ordering it (company coin hopefully) on monday