Insurance Helps A Bank Capture The Small-Business Client
At First Tennessee Bank, one of our cross-selling strategies is to offer insurance products to small businesses and other commercial accounts.
Because the banks commercial relationship managers have developed a trusting and loyal customer base of business owners, they are the key players in integrating insurance with the banks other financial services.
Educating these RMs about the needs of their commercial clients and the potential impact of death or disability on the clients business and family–and, sometimes, the banks loans as well–has enabled the RMs to understand the basics of why people buy insurance. This has helped them to have simple, common-sense discussions with their business clients to uncover specific needs where the bank can offer solutions.
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To have a successful relationship with a commercial account, the bank must overcome a number of challenges. The primary challenge is to earn the trust of the RM in the banks ability to both offer competitive products and, more importantly, to add value to the relationship with the business client–whether the client buys an insurance product or not.
Management support at all levels in the bank is needed to break down any barriers that may limit the relationship manager’s access to business customers. Financial planners and investment officers must then work as partners with the RM to address the business clients insurance needs.
A successful tactic is to have the RM introduce–and not simply refer–the insurance specialist to the client. Actively involving the RM assures the client that he is not simply being subjected to a hard sell, but rather is dealing with a professional who can affect the success of his business and the financial well-being of himself and his family.
After a few joint appointments, the RM will start sending sales leads to the banks insurance specialist–such as the client with an unfunded buy-sell agreement; or one who wants to talk about the impact of estate taxes on her family business; or one who, because of limits on contributions to his 401(k), is very interested in talking about a non-qualified plan.