When it comes to financial planning, we all could use a little help. The importance of saving (not only for a rainy day) but for higher education costs, retirement and even possible illness and long-term care are crucial.
Not all of us are star pupils when it comes to the financially fit class, but with the right tools and some planning, you can assist your clients, and help them save for the future.
If your clients are asking you about long-term care, disability insurance and life insurance, you can be the one to assist them if you’re already writing Medicare Supplement policies for them. If you’ve already established a rapport and a good relationship with your clients, it’s only logical to offer to help them with other needs they may have.
If your clients are saddled with credit card debt, this convenient tool will help them figure out how long it will take to pay off that balance, and find financial peace. The stress of revolving debt is something no one wants, and this tool will put them on the right track to eliminating that debt.
If your clients are still in the workforce and have yet to retire, this calculator asks for some basic math and will give them a plan in the making to realize their retirement dreams. There are even tools to help them figure out how long their money will last once they’re no longer working. This one allows you to enter the proposed withdrawal amounts and will calculate how long your client has before their money runs out.
Investing in life insurance is not just smart, it can be very cost effective. Clients with young children and without the resources to provide for their children, should something happen, are best-served by investing in life insurance. Clients often ask “How do I know if I have enough life insurance?” This tool will calculate your client’s needs and his/her spouse’s needs as well.
Many people wonder if they need DI, and if they can afford it, then yes. It not only provides monies at a critical time of need, but offers peace of mind knowing that if something should happen, they’ll have a way to cover their day-to-day expenses. This tool can help you show your client the costs for disability insurance and how much they’ll be able to afford.
“Money is what makes the world go ‘round”, as they say. And it’d be fantastic if we didn’t have to have it, use it, or worry about it. As daunting as it may seem to try and create a fiscal plan that fits your clients’ needs, it is indeed do-able. And with the right tools, you can make it happen for them.
Help your clients get fiscally fit, and help them prepare for their retirement and long-term needs.
By Carolyn Portanova
First off, the biggest source for networking and referrals comes right from your own circle of family and friends and your existing clientele. You've heard the old story "he told someone, then she told someone" and on and on it goes. Networking and referrals do not have to be daunting. In fact, it can be quite easy to build your customer base, if you're willing to work at your goal and put forth some effort.
Some of the absolute basics in getting repeat business or referrals is deeply rooted in how an advisor approaches his business and treats his existing clients. People want to be heard, they want to be acknowledged and they want to be understood. They also want to be treated with respect, kindness, fairness and be appreciated. That's just human nature.
We have people say to us "Selling insurance isn't as easy as I thought it would be. How do I grow my business?"
The golden rule is this: if you know your products, treat clients with fairness, respect and acknowledge them, they will in turn recommend you to their family, friends and peers. It's really as simple as that. If you follow up with a client two months after writing a Medicare Supplement policy for them, just to check in and make sure they're happy with their plan and their premium, that speaks volumes about who you are as an advisor to them. After all, they are looking to you for answers. This follow-up is the perfect time to ask additional discovery questions as well. "How's your health?" "Have you thought about life insurance?" "Is there someone in your family who could benefit from long-term care insurance?" These are all ways of making the client feel important, without trying to push a specific product on them. It also shows them that you have a broad knowledge on the topic of senior health products, and want to ensure they are well taken care of. And if you need assistance recommending a product, you can certainly look to us to help you. That is why we're here, after all.
Kindness goes a LONG way.
When you listen to people, you acknowledge their concerns, and you show interest in their well-being, you in turn are paving the groundwork for future clients. The next time you write a piece of business, tell your client that you're going to follow up with them in two months (and be sure to create that follow-up task in your CRM, so you're reminded to do so). Explain to them that you want them to be happy with the services you've provided, and want to be sure you've addressed all of their needs. Seniors change all the time. They move, they retire, they become ill, they have grandchildren. Life is never static, and neither should your philosophy be on growing your business. And if your small client base is happy with you, they will in turn speak highly of you. And before you know it, you will have clients calling you.....and not the other way around.
By Carolyn Portanova
I just left an hour+ meeting with the Regional Vice President of a large insurance company. Boring, you may think. Nope, you’d be wrong. It was anything but boring. This gentleman has been in the insurance industry for 20 years and he just knew how to relate to people. All people. All six of us in the conference room. One woman was 50, one gentleman was 71, another was 50, two guys were 32, and me (I’m 46 ).
How not to be boring.
Meetings in a board room can be long, full of metrics and numbers, culminating with endless industry jargon that flies around the room like meaningless banter. Not this meeting. Yes, there were facts and figures spouted off, and how we are striving to bump our numbers up. But it was also a meeting that involved everyone. Everyone had a chance to speak up, to ask questions, to give their opinion and to be heard. How often does that happen? I suppose often enough, but many times we tend to listen and not speak up, for fear of not being understood.
How did he relate to each of us?
His ability to tell stories. That’s how. He had the uncanny ability to relate to each of us by sharing a story. One woman related to him because she’d met him before at a conference. One guy related to him because he’s a fly fisherman from Montana. I related to him because he carried two phones (an iPhone and a Samsung) and likes technology . My boss related to him because he’s been in the insurance industry for many, many years.
How do we become understood?
We relate to people on a personal level. A familiar level. Through personal experiences. This Regional Vice President lives in Florida. He had fabulous stories about sunny, private beaches and catching sailfish and showing us pictures, and $15 lobster specials at his local pub. Who can’t relate to a fishing story on some level? He was a master storyteller. One that parlayed his personal experiences into his job responsibilities. He connected with each of us on some personal level. And in turn what happened? We each contributed. We each spoke up and shared our views, our concerns and our questions. He understood each of us.
It’s magic when that happens.
By Carolyn Portanova
What do your clients want? Let's face it. You're in Sales. It's what the insurance industry is about. As independent agents, you sell. You sell Medicare Supplement policies, Life Insurance policies, Long-term care solutions, Disability Income Insurance plans. They're all products. But what sets you apart from Joe down the road who is also selling similar products to an ever-expanding senior market?
I recently read an article published by Life Health Pro, regarding what seniors wish their advisors knew. Some of it may seem like common sense, yet some of it is clearly lost, and some of the key points in the article should be taken to heart. You would think that 'Trust' would have been #1. It sure would have been on my list, if I had been asked to participate in the poll. Trust is of utmost importance when it comes to a retiree looking for a solid solution for healthcare. At a time in their life when they're now on a fixed income, and they're relying on your expertise to guide them to the best solution (and albeit most of it is cost-driven, give the fact that they're no longer working) is of paramount importance. Trusting your advisor to research and explore numerous options, all this, after asking important, probing questions to find out what the client needs, is how one earns and gains trust. Right? Well, apparently not everyone does that. And I'm here to tell you, that it's important.
You may ask how I know that it's important, given the fact that I'm not an insurance agent. I'm in Marketing. What could I possibly know about Sales? In another life, I managed a team of sales agents for Apple, Inc. Different industry. Different type of sales, you say. Yes and no. Sales is first and foremost about selling yourself. You sell yourself to the client. First impressions are what count. And we all know, you only have one time to make a first impression, so it better be a good one. But after that, after you've sold yourself to your new, prospective client, you are now in the process of earning their trust. How do you do this? You listen. You become an active listener and you take an active interest in your client.
At Apple, you have to relay the benefits to a customer about the products you're introducing them to. Makes sense, right? Afterall, benefits are what actually sell a product. And you sell the benefits to the solution you've provided AFTER you've probed and asked important questions about your client's life and lifestyle, and you've listened. In the Apple world, this is called creating a complete solution. The Mac user that renders high-def video and who needs a tricked-out MacBook Pro is completely different from the high school student who needs a basic MacBook for fundamental needs. Apple creates successful sales people, they do not churn out order takers. There is a big difference. And it all comes back to listening and asking questions, which is part of the customer engagement model.
Back to the insurance industry. Some examples of questions you should be asking:
The list of questions can go on and on. It may seem obvious, but yet somehow, so many agents don't do this. They don't ask, and they don't listen. They don't show interest in their client. By taking an interest and showing that you care, and that you genuinely want to find the best solution for your client.....you have then earned their trust.
By Carolyn Portanova