Build Sales By Building Trust Between Agents And Bankers

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Building and earning trust among professionals can be difficult. Often, it is not easy for professionals to share their hard-earned client relationships with someone in a different industry or field.

However, as the financial industry continues to consolidate, and clients continue to seek a more integrated approach to their financial needs, banking and insurance professionals are faced with the trust issue. To succeed, they must learn to depend on and confide in each other.

Building a trustworthy relationship takes a great deal of time, effort and an open mind from both sides. The payoff is a win for the bankers, the insurance professionals and, most importantly, the client.

There are several necessary qualities that have helped these relationships develop into profitable avenues for BB&T and its financial advisors. They are: teamwork, reliability, empathy and competence.

Teamwork provides the basis for successful cross-selling. Most bank financial advisors will already have an established relationship with a client. That advisor cannot only introduce his fellow financial professionals to the client but also share information about the client. In addition, the advisor can collaborate with bankers on other financial products and services that might help the bank better serve the client. Finally, advisors often can make joint calls on customers with loan or trust officers or other specialists.

The second quality, reliability, also is vital to an effective working relationship between banking and insurance professionals.

Both the insurance professional and the banker need to take whatever steps are necessary to provide quality service and follow up–not only with the client but also with each other.

This means, among other things, keeping the other parties on the bank team informed at all times of contacts and transactions with each client. In addition, bankers and insurance professionals must rely on one anothers individual expertise when working with each client. In short, they must constantly communicate with each other. That approach can make a world of difference both for the client and for the relationship between bankers and insurance advisors.

Empathy is the third personal quality that helps to build trusting relationships between insurance and banking advisors. Empathy means viewing a situation from someone elses viewpoint–in our case, the client. Financial professionals must be able to understand the circumstances and conditions their clients are facing at all times.

Whether this entails knowing specific conditions in the clients industry, the banking environment, the insurance market or the nations economic state, financial professionals need to understand the business environment that their clients are dealing with. This kind of empathy enables bankers and insurance advisors to show they value the client relationship. Its how they can demonstrate a genuine interest in providing the best products and services to satisfy the clients needs.

The fourth element, competence, is key to establishing an effective relationship between the banker and the insurance professional.

A professional displays competence when he proves his credibility, shows he is knowledgeable about the clients industry and company, and exerts confidence that he can assist the client in prospering financially. This assures the client and the advisors colleagues in the bank that the advisor is capable of handling the clients needs and of providing the high level of service they deserve.

Developing a trusting relationship between two professionals can be challenging. However, being open, honest and always keeping the clients best interest at the center of all decisions is the foundation for a trusting relationship between insurance and banking professionals.

Richard L. Meador is a senior vice president and executive regional agency manager of BB&T Insurance Services, Richmond, Va., a subsidiary of BB&T Corp., Winston-Salem, N.C. He can be e-mailed at Dmeador@BBandT.com


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 14, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.