In the financial services industry today, brokers not only specialize, they sub-specialize. This is because products have become more and more complex. Let’s take the life insurance marketplace for example. Can you really explain fully a whole life illustration? How about universal life? How about indexed universal life? When you consider the vast variety of products in the disability insurance and long-term care insurance marketplaces as well, you can appreciate the overwhelming complexity of the product lines we sell.
In truth, most brokers can’t explain any of these illustrations fully. To make the situation more complicated, we now have more products with more bells and whistles. Critical illness riders. Long-term care riders. We even have hybrid products with both a living long-term care benefit and also a survivor death benefit. The trend towards increased complexity will only continue as more and varied distribution channels are developed. Already, we have to help clients integrate their online shopping and purchasing experiences into their consultation with us.
It is practically impossible to become a master of all these products and deliver the highest standard of expertise and competence your clients deserve. Insurance sales have really come down to a referral process in which you as the broker bring in the right specialist for the specific need your client has. Fortunately, many wholesalers have product specialists on staff. There are also brokers who have become expert in a certain product line or niche. For example, I have specialized in impaired risk life insurance for decades.
The function of the insurance salesperson has really become that of a team builder and manager. You recruit and maintain a team of specialists that could include other brokers, as well as personnel with your general agent and wholesaler. You bring each specialist into play as needed. Your job becomes one of facilitating the work of the specialists as part of the overall portfolio development process. It’s very much like the role of a general contractor in a building operation.
Educating your client about this team approach is key to gaining their cooperation. Here are the talking points you need to make for them to understand and appreciate how they will benefit:
- Financial products are highly specialized, and a product specialist is needed to shop for and recommend the appropriate product for your client.
This is a familiar concept. Consumers have been working with specialists in the medical and legal fields for decades.
- The specialist works for you.
They are a member of your team and are accountable to you. The medical model is typical. Your general practitioner is responsible for the overall care and coordinates the efforts of specialist physicians.
- You work for the client.
Your number one concern is client satisfaction. This adds a very productive dynamic to the whole purchase. In essence, you sit on the “client’s side of the table” and say, “let’s make sure my guy does his homework and gives us a real solution to your problem.” This reassures the client that their interest is the priority, and gives them confidence in the team approach. They know you won’t let them down.
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