As you move upmarket, you will have a larger circle of lawyers, accountants and other advisors to contend with.
Are your sales stuck in a rut? This can happen for many reasons, but ultimately nothing is more frustrating than putting in the time without seeing results. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been stuck or even why. What matters is how you get “unstuck.”
Not having enough time is a common excuse used by agents. I get it — agents are busy and often working around their clients’ schedules, so they are strapped for time.
With only so many hours in a day, you have a finite amount of time to meet new clients and take applications. Once you have maxed out the working hours available to you in a day, what more can be done to increase sales?
The answer: Sell larger policies. It’s time to meet the advanced markets.
The advanced markets are concepts that deal not only with high-net-worth individuals, business owners and their families, but also with charitable and nonprofit organizations. The advanced markets provide an opportunity for you as an agent to increase your skill set by learning new sales concepts, as well as opening up a potentially lucrative new prospect pool.
Business owners and high-net-worth individuals may have more than one problem that you can solve. Selling more than one policy or solution to an individual turns them into a client instead of a one-product customer. This will strengthen your relationship.
One big advantage to working with business owners and their advisors can be reaping the benefits of their business owner referrals. These professionals generally have a healthy book of individual and business owner clients who may benefit from the services you can provide. Referrals offer a multitude of opportunities, but it’s vital that you prepare yourself to be able to assist your clients in a multitude of ways, because no two sales scenarios are exactly the same.
In order to succeed in the advanced markets, you’ll need to break out of your comfort zone. Learning to overcome objections is a key to sales success. But this skill becomes even more important when you're working in the advanced markets. Your standard “kitchen table talk” will no longer suffice.
Unlike personal sales, where you’re generally dealing with one decision-maker at a time, in the advanced markets you will interact with attorneys, accountants and other advisors, all of whom can influence the sale. It is crucial that you understand these new audiences and can pivot and tailor your presentation accordingly.
Consider the personalities of those to whom you will be presenting, and anticipate the objections they may have. Tap into your skills of understanding the psychology of selling. Overcoming these obstacles may seem like a daunting task at first, but with time you’ll see that these additional obstacles may be a blessing in disguise.
In addition to honing your presentation skills to business owners and their advisors, you will want to gain a better understanding of some key areas of advanced marketing. These include executive compensation, business succession planning, qualified plans and premium finance.
It’s also important both to know that the sale typically takes a longer time for advanced markets and to get buy-in from the client’s other advisors. If you’re committed to learning the strategies and beginning to build your pipeline of business, as the big cases come through you will find out why so many veteran agents focus their practice on advanced markets.
One way to gain knowledge in these markets is by attaining CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) and ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) designations. Holding these designations can be a great way to help you gain a significant advantage in this competitive market.
They can help you advance your career by providing in-depth knowledge of the insurance needs of individuals, business owners and professional clients alike. Attaining these designations doesn’t happen overnight though, so while you hit the books and study, it may be beneficial to find a seasoned agent who works in the advanced markets to show you the ropes.
An experienced agent can help you learn the ins and outs of the advanced markets through applicable, real-world experience. This mentorship could provide invaluable lessons on how to present to clients that no book can teach.
If the mentorship route doesn’t pique your interest, there are other solutions. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to learning about the advanced markets, as there are many places you can go for information and many people with whom you can consult.
What’s the best way for a producer who is new to the advanced markets to tackle the challenge? Work with a carrier with expertise in the advanced markets.
These carriers can work with you to show you how to pull together various advanced marketing concepts and sales opportunities in a clear, concise manner. That’s one of the many reasons partnering yourself with a company that has expertise in the advanced markets is crucial to your success.
In addition, when you work with a company that gives you access to subject matter experts and advanced planning attorneys, it’s their job to help make complex cases simple. There are many things you need to consider when your client is a high-net-worth individual, a business owner, a charitable organization or a nonprofit.
Do you ever wonder what approach to use, what questions to ask and what strategies make sense? Are you concerned with creating the design or making the presentation? What about product fit? All of these questions can easily be resolved if you’re working with a carrier that has this expertise. They can help you turn technical information into action-oriented solutions for your clients, and in turn help you advance your own business.
Bryan Pritchard is an advanced sales consultant at National Life Group. Bryan may be contacted at [email protected].