What is a FIG?
I was travelling for work in Phoenix meeting with advisors to determine if LDA had a market fit in the USA (it does). After my demo, I asked the advisor what he thought of our platform and would this work with his workflow keeping in mind the goals of saving time, increasing sales and assisting in the automation of compliance. The advisor emphatically said, “Yes!, however, I really like how this could help me not look like a FIG”
I paused and asked, “Whats a FIG?”
To which he replied "A F**king Insurance Guy."
I paused again not really sure how to react, on the one hand, I am not an insurance advisor but a technologist, On the other, I have experienced that moment when the "what industry do you work in?" question comes up and I say "I work in the life insurance space" and they react like they think I am going to try and sell them on a policy.
Woody Allen famously said
"There are things in life worse than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?"
Now, this is not fair at all, sure there are a few bad apples that give insurance a bad wrap but for the most part, Life Insurance is the swiss army knife of financial products. It’s financial security for your loved ones, can guarantee the succession of a family business, it can save the wealthy and ultra-wealthy massive amounts of tax, it can exponentially expand your charitable giving footprint, there are even products where you access the benefit from while living. Unfortunately 88% of people are confused by life insurance and as a result never realize the full potential.
I’m sure if you have been selling insurance long enough you have experienced this stigma.
Having seen both sides of it I wanted to create a list of the do's and don't that separate the Advisors from the FIGs!
Avoid these classic FIG behaviors.
- Don’t be a dictator, even if you think you know what product is best for your client, your job is to provide options and explain them in an easy to understand manner. Advise on what you think the best course of action is and detail any alternate approaches.
- Don't make up an arbitrary amount of insurance without doing a needs analysis, even if you think you know your clients price tolerance, not only is a needs analysis a compliance requirement but there is a real risk you could miss something and leave your clients with too little insurance.
- Don’t pressure your clients or use guilt by asking things like “well with that benefit Susy will have to re-marry in just 2 years to stay in the family home".
- Don’t be Ned (see video below)
- Don’t overwhelm your clients with
100043 pages of illustrations before you have found your clients suitability. I’m not saying don’t use the illustration but work to educate your clients on their options and price tolerance first and once they have a firm understanding of their options they can make an informed decision. We like to use visuals and try and focus on when do you want your insurance to end. Bonus save trees by using tools like LDA to present!
- Don’t hide from their COI (circle of influence). This is the lawyer, accountant or business partner (include them) share your work it speaks volumes about you!
- Don’t exclude the spouse, I heard an interesting stat at a conference that stated that "80% of women switch advisors within a year of the husband's death!" Don't make the conversation a boys club even if the husband is the decision maker. Include both partners in the process and nurture both client relationships.
- FIG's Don’t present layers to their clients because it’s more work and already hard to communicate to a client with the carrier illustration. (want to layer like a pro watch this video). I can't tell you how many people in their 60's say man I wish I knew I could buy a layered solution and have some whole life.
- Don't Recommend the right solution because it makes them less commision. If you can find a better product (and you should be looking) for your clients but you sell another because it makes you more commision you are a FIG.
- Dont survey the market for the best price. Price is not everything but if your not even trying to find the best price for your client you are doing them a disservice. Keep in mind different companies have different definitions of what classifies a "Smoker" that can leave your client paying more than they should.
- Not being transparent, intentionally or not. This even includes basic things like your advisor disclosure, companies you are licenced with & the reason why letter all the way to how you research and communicate the options a client has.
- Sell a term policy to a client and never contact them again. Too many times I hear from people that they bought a term ten (or other length) policy from an agent and never heard from them again, including when the policy was about to increase in price 10X. Make sure you keep on top of your block of business to advise clients of their exchange and conversion privileges.
- Invest in yourself and your practice, don't skimp when it comes to client service. This means having the tools to service every single policyholder to the same standard as your A list client. By systemic approaching your practice you breed consistency and can scale your efforts more effectively.
Have you ever seen that scene with Ned from Ground Hog Day?
Unfortunatly it's this steryotype that keeps a lot of people from realizing the full benefit of life insurance.
How to Build Trust
Trust is a very powerful commodity to have earned from your clients. Establishing trust, on the other hand, can be very difficult, particularly for advisors in an increasingly digital age. Readers Digest ranked financial advisors among the least trusted professions.
Ways To Build Trust With Your Clients
- Believe in your product or service, and have enthusiasm for it, I know it's life insurance and it can be a hard topic to be super pumped about all the time but bringing it back to the basics it's a pillar of a solid financial plan so not having any puts all the fun stuff in jeopardy.
- Go the extra mile for your clients, even on small cases or service requests. As a wise advisor told me this service business put in 20 mins now save hours in the future.
- Be deliberate, in your process and your procedure. Systemize your business so you can deliver consistent results.
- Show up prepared and on time, have done your homework beforehand have professional material and be able to adjust on the fly to client requests or questions.
- Be Genuine trust is born when you approach selling as a way of helping the client. Make it top priority to discover the real areas you can help & be the first to say if your product or service is not the right fit.
- Think Outloud, be open to different solutions or directions from your client. There are many ways to skin a cat and even more ways to structure life insurance so get creative.
What else does a great advisor do that separates them
- Make it simple by using stories, visuals and analogies to help highlight the important mechanics of life insurance and the need in the first place.
- Speak from your experience about buying it yourself, have an example of your own insurance to show its not smoke and mirrors "Yes my insurance policy has this much cash value and yes I am done paying for it!"
- Outline your process and that of the insurance company, show the medical underwriting details so they know what they can expect and how it might differ from company to company.
- Make it engaging (use colour and visuals) to help educate and keep your clients active in the process have great leave-behind material for clients to review on their own time.
- Branding is an important part of building trust with your presentation. Ensure your presentation material is consistent, polished & on brand. A sloppy presentation gives a sloppy professional image. Match your colour pallet on every report (lda makes this easy & Premier subscribers get account setup).
- Go the extra mile! If you use an online quoter to gather leads think about following up every lead with a presentation comparing a few options. For example, if a client asks for a T10 quote send them a T10 vs T20. If they ask for a T20 quote send them a T10 vs T20 vs T30 comparison and leverage asymmetrical dominance. This is the over and above transparency and branding play at the same time, you are educating your clients on their options at the same time you are upselling. You are also establishing your brand and consequently your trustworthiness, so make sure to impress.
I’ve commented in my blog new tech making old school sales obsolete that even the look of your website must look professional and polished as most consumers (yes including boomers) are checking out your online presence deciding if they want to work with you.
Buidling trust is fundamentally about doing what is right for the client rather than yourself. For example have you ever been to a store that does not have what your looking for, instead of saying "no we don't carry that" they refer you to another store that does (even when its a competitior) this kind of selfles help imediatly builds trust and loyalty as it proves you are soley trying to help even when it does not beneift you.
If we take this selfless aproach and ingrane it into the fundementals of our business we can change the narative that has been so unjustly cast on the industry.
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