‘It Is Glorious To Be Rich’
In our culture there is a profound desire for wealth. Just look at the publicity surrounding lotteries and the buzz around the million-dollar television game shows if you are not convinced. There are more and more magazines devoted to the good life (read: rich life) and McMansions dot surburbia. In the United States of America, the desire for pecuniary success is ever present.
This has gone beyond the United States. In fact, the headline for this article–”It is glorious to be rich”–comes from that one-time Communist, then-market reformer Premier Deng of the People’s Republic of China, of all places.
So, it is no surprise that among life insurance producers there is a very strong drive for the “good life.”
Although there are many reasons people enter the insurance business, a powerful one for staying and persevering is the potential to earn a very good living. Without question, a ubiquitous reason that producers have for being in the business is the potential to become wealthy. Talk to producers, and this is recognized early on. When we survey producers, we also find money is the number one motivator.
Pursuing the Golden Apple
We have surveyed producers to find out more about this motivation. In fact, we did a recent survey of 322 Million Dollar Round Table producers. Of this group of high-achievers, more than 90% said they were in the profession of marketing life insurance because they believe it is a way to make a “good living.”
The profession is seen as a path to personal affluence. In this same group, 72.8% believe a producer can become wealthy by marketing life insurance (Exhibit 1).
An interest in becoming wealthy does not abrogate the desire among producers to do a great job for their clients, to make their communities better places to live, or to make the world a better place because they are here. On the contrary, these motivations are complementary. Doing good and doing well go together–doing well enables people to do more good, and doing good makes people attractive and sought out by others, so they can do well.
Making money certainly is not bad; in the hands of thoughtful, caring people, the good that they can do because of their own monetary accomplishments is considerable.
Still, there is a cultural orientation toward making money (to getting rich) in this profession. This perspective is not at all limited to the insurance industry. On the contrary, it tends to be a prevalent mind-set among entrepreneurs of all types. Take, for instance, people who made (and still have) many millions because they created (and cashed out of) Internet companies. The majority of these people (69.5%) chose to create Internet companies with the express intent of becoming wealthy (Exhibit 2), almost the same proportion as producers whose goal is to become wealthy.
We have established that most producers want to become wealthy. Now the question becomes, how? How does a producer become personally wealthy? What should producers with this goal be doing?
The answer will surprise you. The answer is not by just marketing life insurance. The answer is by leveraging all the opportunities that arise because a producer is marketing life insurance.
The first step is to build a business focusing on clients who are wealthy and in need of sophisticated financial advice. The paradox is that finding such a clientele does not directly or immediately translate into personal wealth.
The key to wealth is leveraging the asset of having such a clientele, and that means addressing compensation issues head-on. So, just how does a high-end producer join the ranks of the truly affluent by being a high-end producer?