Thursday, October 31, 2013

7 Ways to Grow Your Life Agency

As time passes, we all develop habits. We sell the same products over and over again, and at some point, you stop looking for new and creative ways to present it. Find continued success following these seven steps.

#1. Don’t Win Business Based on Price. Many clients will initially claim that price is their number one factor on what they purchase, but the reality is customers of are often willing to spend more to achieve their goals.

#2. Help Your Clients See the Need for Insurance Products. Before they’ve even met you, customers already have an idea on what they want, but your job is to share information to help clients understand the value a variety of products that could help protect their financial future.

#3. Don’t Limit Your Sales to Only One Product. Share multiple products with your clients, because rarely do they visit a store and only buy “just one thing.” But if you don't talk to them about other products, they will find someone who will.

#4. Make Bigger Sales. Help clients understand how larger amounts of insurance can help them achieve their long-term financial goals.

#5. Develop Proven Methods that Attract New Customers. Some of the most successful financial professionals learn what works for them to bring in new business. Whether it’s by direct mail, workshops, networking, advertising, word-of-mouth, or marketing efforts - be consistent.

#6. Grow Your Business. These steps may seem easy, but don’t become stagnant. It’s important to stay proactive so you generate business and overcome plateaus.

#7 Invest in Yourself. Be sure to invest in yourself and your business by continual training, research and study. Our world moves quickly and we all need continual refreshment on top sales techniques, product training and new industry developments.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Annuity Suitability Tip: Save Time by Asking Your Client the Right Questions

When you get to know your clients financial profile, it is very important to uncover pieces of information that you may sometimes find uncomfortable asking. Some agents find it intrusive to ask about a clients’ income or assets, but this information is vital in understanding their financials and will help determine if an annuity purchase is suitable or not.

According to the NAIC Suitability Model Regulation, the following criteria forms the basis of suitability:
(1) Age
(2) Annual income
(3) Financial situation and needs, including the financial resources used for the funding of the annuity
(4) Financial experience
(5) Financial objectives
(6) Intended use of the annuity
(7) Financial time horizon
(9) Liquidity needs
(10) Liquid net worth
(11) Risk tolerance
(12) Tax status1

No one wants to look incompetent in front of their clients by having to go back and ask for information that they should have had before submitting the application. Take a proactive approach to gather all the information upfront by using a fact finder in your sales process that captures all the information you need. Having done your due diligence will make you look like a capable professional.

A smooth transaction, confidence and competency goes a long way in winning your customer’s approval
and trust and could even result in a boon of referrals.

For financial professional use only. Not for use with consumers.
Not intended to serve as tax or legal advice.
1Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation Executive Summary.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thinking About Buying or Selling Your Practice?

The CEO of Partners Advantage founded the company in 1993. This year Partners Advantage is celebrating its 20th anniversary, a milestone that not many independent insurance marketing organizations are experiencing today. During the past six years Scott has led several mergers and acquisitions and also wrote a book on the topic. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind.

Scott Tietz: “When I started my agency in 1993, I had no clue how to build a business. I made a lot of mistakes and learned from those mistakes. I eventually reached the point where I was willing to take on some partners in a new marketing company. That grew and flourished in ways I would have never imagined. We still made a lot of mistakes, but I learned it is a valuable way to capitalize a company, bring in incredible new talent and take the business to new levels. But as you build your business you reach a point where you really need to ask yourself: What is the end game for my agency? Are you building to sell, for the future, or for a job? And don’t assume your kids are going to want step up on take over the business when you want to retire. You need to have a plan in place and ask a lot of questions, such as what is the plan for your business and family in case of a catastrophic illness or death.”

For Financial Professional Use Only. Not For Use With The Public. 
The views expressed above reflect the views of the author.  The presentation is for informational purposes only, is not intended to provide financial advice and does not address individual circumstances.  The testimonials are not indicative of future performance or success and may not be representative of the experience of other agents or agencies.

PAIS 04091813

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Achieving Uncommon Success: Winning Follow-Up with Prospects

Follow-up is the last thing most any agent wants to do, but it can be the most important thing! Great follow-up may be common sense, but it is not always common practice. A systematic process with effective follow-up techniques can make all the difference.

How to make follow-up easy:
Successful agents have a sales process that they repeat and perfect.
It is beneficial if that sales process can do two things:
  1. Show your prospects how you are different
  2. Uncover your prospects’ primary concerns – the needs that will motivate them to action,
A well developed Response Sheet can be a pivotal element in successful prospect follow-up. Have all your  prospects fill out this sheet. A response sheet can help you: 1) show your prospect how you are different and 2) uncover their primary concerns for their retirement assets.

A key highlighted block on the response sheet should very quickly define how you are different and the services you provide for your clients which are special. It outlines what type of clients you serve and what you can help them achieve.

A large portion of the response sheet allows the prospects to articulate their concerns. This also demonstrates to them that your focus is on their needs and concerns. These are needs they have which will motivate them to take action. You can also provide a section on the form that allows them to identify why or if they feel they need the help of your services.

When you sit down for the appointment, the response sheet that lists their concerns becomes one of the documents that you can use as a reference. It helps you quickly get to the matter that is bothering them and that will motivate them to action. A proven, systematic process can make all the difference in your practice.

For financial professional use only. Not for use with consumers.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Remember the Special Insurance Needs of Small Business Owners

Small business owners typically worry about the day-to-day running of their business, but small business owners are subject to certain unique risks and also have certain unique opportunities. As a financial professional, your job is to meet with them, to do comprehensive fact-finding, and to help them to see those risks and opportunities. One risk is that the smooth operation, profitability, and value of a small business are often dependent upon one or a few key employees. What protects the owners of the business in the event of the death or disability of a key employee? The problem can become particularly difficult if that employee is also a part-owner of the business and wants to be – or must be – bought out by the other owners.

The answer could be a key person life and disability insurance policy owned by the business. The benefits can be structured as a lump sum, a series of payments, or some combination. While the premiums are not deductible as a business expense, benefits are paid tax-free to the business.

If that key person is also a part-owner of the business, the owners should consider having a buy-sell agreement in place. In the event that a part-owner becomes disabled or dies, a buy-sell agreement funded by insurance helps preserve business value, minimize disruption, and assure that both the exiting owner and the continuing owners are treated fairly.

Who can be your first client? You! Chances are you, if you are an independent financial professional, are essentially a small business owner. When you seek out training on solutions to these challenges faced by small business owners, you will learn how to help yourself, and you will learn how to help others in the

Some carriers have put together excellent small business marketing kits. Use these kits to learn, to prospect, and to uncover solutions for your clients. Successful agents identify underserved needs in the marketplace and make the effort (that others won’t make) to build their expertise and serve that need.

For financial professional use only. Not for use with consumers.
Not intended to serve as tax or legal advice. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual's situation.

PAIS 03090513