Insurance companies and banks have to provide support, focus and direction to their financial advisors to boost sales of their more profitable insurance products, such as single-premium life insurance, say executives in the industry.
Bank customers are used to doing business face-to-face, so theres a natural trust level there that can be built into added sales of profitable insurance products like single-premium life, according to experts.
“The perspective you have to give is that the rep is selling the customer a relationship,” says Carmen F. Effron, president of C. F. Effron Company, a Westport, Conn. bank-insurance consulting firm.
Training is the master key that opens up more of these sales, adds Robert J. Mittel, senior vice president, Dime Insurance Group, a division of New York-based Dime Bancorp. It is what turns financial and insurance reps away from seeking the easy, one-shot sale towards the more complicated one.
Typically, the single-premium sale takes three appointments before the sale is made, Mittel notes.
Once the rep makes her first single-premium sale, the battle is basically won, he says.
“In 90% of cases, that first sale is the minimum,” which in Dimes case is a $10,000 premium, he observes. “But over time, the average gets better and better.”
Perhaps 70% of reps who make that sale will become repeat sellers of single-premium products, he estimates.
Typically, the most successful reps in selling profitable insurance products have a strong commitment to needs-based selling. The bank has to reinforce that with incentives aimed at achieving specific goals in selling single-premium products or any other high-profit insurance or investment products it wants the reps to sell.
“You have to have incentives aligned with sales goals,” Mittel notes. “Incentives that are set up to reward activities [e.g., cold-calling prospects] are no good.”
To encourage reps to sell more single premium, Cal Fed Investments, a subsidiary of California Federal Bank in Sacramento, focuses on products with long-term care features, says Rachel Zaragoza, the subsidiarys vice president and product and marketing manager.
“We did co-branding with Glenbrook Life and Annuity Company [a division of Allstate Group, Northbrook, Ill.], and reps found it an easy product to sell.”
The important thing about selling more single-premium products is to convince reps to incorporate it into their sales process as they speak with customers.
The next step is to promote the product to the salespeople, she says.