Every business needs a rudder to help it navigate through the choppy economy. Finances can be confusing, emotional and just plain daunting, especially when life insurance is involved. Over the past 50 years, four key principles have contributed to our firm’s smooth sailing. To help you steer through the challenging seas of your clients’ life insurance needs, try these easy-to-implement strategies.
Make the Connection
People often resist meeting with an advisor because they fear they will be pushed to buy products they don’t need or because they are trying to avoid discussing life insurance altogether. That makes your introduction to a client extremely important. As a member of Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), I learned a simple and nonthreatening way to ask permission for a meeting. When you preface a meeting by saying, “Would you have any objection to discussing your life insurance with us?” clients feel you are putting the power in their hands instead of pushing forward without their consent. Regardless of the situation, you can use this phrase to introduce any subject. Would you have any objection to allowing us to look at your asset allocation or discussing your overall financial planning? Posing the question this way takes the pressure off, opening the door for a fruitful discussion.
Most people don’t like to think about their mortality. However, when you position life insurance as an asset class in overall estate assets, you move the discussion in a more positive direction. Proper asset allocation always includes some downside protection, but you need to present the characteristics of a life insurance policy as the bond side of the investment strategy. It fills the role of a life raft when the market pressures make other assets less liquid. Also, the death benefit always holds its own compared to any discussion of having long-term bonds over extended periods of time.
During the recent market corrections, clients saw firsthand the long-term value of permanent life insurance as a sinking fund with cash value reserves, as a stable cash asset to address transfer costs and as something that preserves the core value of their personal wealth.
Clients want to know you are looking out for their best interests, so you must be diligent in understanding the possible issues facing them and the best solutions to alleviate their concerns. This is particularly significant when presenting a life insurance policy. We must hold life insurance companies accountable in providing financial products that meet the highest standards of actuarial integrity. Have your business partners help you examine the way companies are treating your existing policyholders. They should be treating the relationships with old and new policyholders the same. This will ensure money spent on developing and selling new products is not compromising the economic performance of contracts sold many years ago.
On the front page of every life insurance policy are the words “We promise to pay.” For those of us active in helping people buy life insurance, it is our personal credibility that is on the line. Especially when we propose a life insurance solution, we must do everything in our power to assure people that the promise will be fulfilled. The public has come to trust that when they pay a premium, the company will deliver on their end of the contractual bargain. You can accomplish this by giving clients an inside look at the great lengths to which you go to understand the products and ideas you propose to them. For example, show them the resources and technology you use to manage and monitor the information that is pertinent to their financial situation.
We are the captains of a business enterprise that has served the public extremely well over the ages, and it is our duty to preserve the integrity of this profession for the future. By adopting the philosophy inherent in these four straightforward principles, perhaps you can build a road map for your own success and, most important, a life’s work that will add significant value to the lives of others.