Have We Lost Focus?
During the sports section of the evening news on TV, there is often an interview with someone from either a winning or losing team offering insight on the results of a game just played.
Invariably, spokesmen for winning teams point to the fact that they were focused on the essentials of the game and that was why they outscored their opponents. Likewise, losers usually lament the fact that the team was not able to stay focused, thereby letting the game get away from them. Professionals know that skill alone is not enoughyou also must focus those skills toward the end you want to achieve.
Whenever I see one of these interviews, I am reminded of an incident that occurred about 15 years ago. I was attending a party at home of Shirley and Stan Liss when Ben Feldman approached me. Ben, in his inimitable fashion, said to me, “BOH…BOH!! What ever happened to life insurance? We can do something no one else can do, why is everyone turning their back on it? Why do we insist on playing on someone elses turf?”
Good questions, and perceptive at an early stage of transition for many people in our business. While not expressing his concern in the parlance of a pro-athlete, he was nevertheless talking about the same thing–a matter of focus. Were we losing it was his question.
Now, 15 years later, I hear people starting to ask the same questions. It is only a low rumble at this juncture, but my instincts tell me it is getting louder as more and more people are asking how to get back into the life insurance business.
There is, I believe, a realization beginning to set in that having an array of products to sell is good so long as you do not lose focus on your core products.
The lack of focus is evident in many ways, but perhaps the most significant is the deterioration in agent training. A few companies have already discovered that they have a generation–or more–of agents who were never properly trained to sell life insurance. The drop in CLU and LUTC enrollments also gives testimony to this problem.
I believe LIMRA is doing a good job of exploding some of the myths that have damaged industry focus in recent years. So many decisions have been made and opinions expressed on vital industry issues on suppositions that are clearly false. Such suppositions may, in some cases, be valid in a small or special market, but they do not apply generally to our marketplace.
One of LIMRAs latest publications, “Rhetoric vs. Reality,” takes apart 18 such myths that have become part of what some people call “conventional wisdom.” When I was a kid, there was a popular expression that said: “Its fun to be fooled, but it is more fun to know.” LIMRA research helps us to know rather than be fooled.