TOP TEN TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL ADVISORS
Being an independent advisor can often feel like a thankless task with only yourself to find the answers to success and nobody to share in any of the failures. As an entrepreneur, I know what that can feel like and having worked with thousands of advisors I wanted to share some of the things that set the top advisors apart.
- Recommend the best product for their clients (regardless of commision)
- Stay current
- Perform ongoing policy reviews
- Leverage technology
- Communicate the value of their solution effectively
- Portray a professional image
- Have a consistent strategy
- Fact find
- Have a reputation for client service that leads to referrals.
- Refine their process
The best advisors in the business are usually ranked by their commision or "FYC" so it would be natural to think that by simply selling a lot of product we would be considered one of the best in the business. However, the way top advisors generally reach prolific sales is by consistently solving a problem with the right solution regardless of how much commision it earns, this is a great way to earn trust and as a result referrals from clients. One of the best ways to build trust is be transparent about your clients options and their need for insurance. A report considering several strategies can often be the most effective in proving you have the clients best interest at heart. It shows your client you have done the due dilligance required to meet their unique needs. Consider using a shared needs analysis link to get your clients engaged in the process, this helps them validate and conceptualize how you established the insurance ammount needed.
Advisors who stay current with access to the latest product information and best prices almost universally outperform their counterparts. Life Insurance is an extremely competitive space which is great for consumers, however, because of the competitive landscape, there are a lot of companies that offer similar prices in each segment, however, may differ in the policy provisions or supplemental benefits they offer, these supplemental benefits can range from term conversion privileges to member benefits (like scholarships funds). Its important as an advisor to stay current with the latest pricing information but also contract, claims and underwriting best practices to consistently be able to deliver more value than your competitors.
Advisors who review their clients' policies frequently are better able to identify gaps in their insurance and keep current with the changing needs of their clients. The best advisors have a process to annually review their clients' policies and often use a system like Life Design Analysis to be alerted to these service/sales opportunities and help save time to perform them. There is nothing clients hate more than not hearing from their advisor for nine years and then getting a one-paragraph letter from the insurer saying their rate is going to increase Ten fold.
The best advisors in the business are constantly reinventing their sales process to deliver the best client experience and maximize their time. Technology though it can have an initial learning curve is the best way to scale outreach, improve client communication and provide proactive service. Advisors often get shy to change something that has worked in the past however we have to remember that our customer is always evolving and so must we. Sitting still is not an option today.
Communication is key, remember it does not matter how much skill, talent, the substance of discussion or even your solution. If your clients don't understand you they are not going to be comfortable purchasing from you. Remember 88% of people are confused with their insurance options so don't underestimate this hurdle(even if your clients are nodding in agreement). Use visuals, concepts and analogies to help people understand the need for life insurance and the various pricing models that are used.
Looking the part is only one piece of the equation, Being professional means being on time(read 15 mins early), Having all your material ready and organized(don't get lost in a sea of illustrations have a presentation that consolidates all your information. Have something to give the client (most don't take in all the info at once). All these little things come together to show you have done this before and gives confidence and trust for the buyer.
Consistency is a hallmark of a good advisor, This means having a process for how you welcome prospects and new clients to your practice, How you research and present that material can help to scale your efforts but also build familiarity with clients if you are refining a strategy around their needs if you are consistent in your process you will create efficiencies and maximizing time is a key component of a successful advisor.
Great advisors ensure they get to know the scope of their client's needs. Yes, this includes performing a needs analysis however great advisors go out of their way to find ways to help understand their client's needs and help solve them. Often this is by selling them the right products, however many times it's referring them to someone in your circle of influence. For example, making sure they have a current will and if not refering them to a lawyer to set up the basics.
Reputation is key, many advisors will tell you they built their business on referrals. This means being proactive to client needs, not being afraid to say I don't know but I will find out for you. Not ignoring the tough questions or small tasks that don't make money. This means to follow up when you say you will. Don't be afraid to ask for referrals and as part of being consistent make it known to your clients that you will ask them as part of your service.
Advisors at the top of their game are always looking for new ways to deliver value to their clients and invest in their practice. Good enough is not never good enough for a great advisor. A great advisor will always be looking for that next level, they will always be looking to learn more and sharpen the axe to gain an edge on their competition. A great advisor knows they need to leverage tools in their practice that help scale aspects of their business (like case prep) so they can focus on client development.