Dealing with an Obnoxious Wholesaler

Beverly Flaxington

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

We have a wholesaler who calls on our office. He is completely and utterly obnoxious. I understand they are supposed to sell but he is over the top. I don’t like to be pushed into things. Is there a right way to tell a salesperson like this to back off?

Name withheld

Dear Financial Advisor,

I have spent the better part of my career in a selling capacity of one form or another, so this is a sensitive topic for me. The best salespeople are the ones who aren’t salesy at all. They listen. They understand the needs and then they meet the needs – sometimes called solutions selling or consultative selling.

Unfortunately the pushy, transaction-based approach like you are describing here works too. Sometimes a salesperson can actually bully someone into doing business with them. They attach to a person and just keep pounding until the deal gets done! So, these people can be “successful” too; they just aren’t often liked very much.

You control the relationship as the prospect or client of this salesperson. Don’t refrain from saying that your style is very different and you don’t respond well to his approach. Let him or her know your office is more genteel or calm in nature and you find the pushy approach to be unappealing. Describe it as a communication conflict or a difference in behavioral styles, so it’s objective and not insulting.

Of course, if you like the firm’s products, but not the representative, you can always call the home office and ask to be assigned to someone else. While they are often territory-based, if an unhappy client demands another representative, most firms are willing to comply rather than risk losing the business.