Arthur A. Bavelas
Accountants provide many exceptional opportunities for life insurance professionals to generate significant production. One of the very best of these opportunities is for new life insurance clients.
From where we sit, most producers are only getting a trickle of new clients from accountants. Most of this is in the form of a few client referrals and, increasingly, some (but not much) joint work with accountants. The vast majority of producers are merely generating cases now and again instead of creating for themselves a steady flow of highly profitable (and pre-qualified) clients for life insurance.
Based on our field experience and a comprehensive data warehouse, we know that producers who are working effectively with accountants are reaping the rewards of having a pipeline of highly profitable pre-qualified cases for life insurance.
Getting this steady stream has taken some work on the part of the producer, specifically:
1. A detailed understanding of the business model being employed by the CPA firm in question.
2. A methodology for identifying meaningful life insurance cases.
3. A coordinated process for implementation.
Let us now consider each of these three components for creating a pipeline of pre-qualified clients for life insurance from accountants.
Understanding the Accountants Business Model. All accountants are not alike, and all accountancy practices are not alike. There are vast differences in the business models of accountants. These differences can arise from a number of factors: the array of services a CPA firm provides, the nature of its clientele, their perspective on life insurance, and the way they prefer to be compensated.
The first step in creating the kind of relationship that generates a steady flow of client referrals is to master the business model of the accounting firm that is being targeted.
In order to do this, producers will need to learn as much as they can about the specific ways that the accounting firm operates. Even more important, producers must learn to detect the critical “inflexion points” that most producers, as well as carrier executives, fail to capitalize on.
The compensation issue, for instance, is very much a moving target and requires the producer to continually be attuned to how a CPA firm is dealing with this matter. According to our research, about 20% of accountants are already being compensated with fees and commissions. The same research indicated that this number is likely to grow to about 50% over the next few years.
Compensation is an inflexion point for many accounting practices, and producers need to be aware of the way the accountants with whom they are dealing are being compensated now and in the future.
Another inflexion point can be the nature and mix of the CPA firms clientele. Our research shows that few producers have an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of the CPA firms clientele. We have seen this oversight lead to many producers wasting their time and effort with the “wrong” CPA firms. Since time is one of the resources in scarcest supply, it is essential for producers to select high potential accounting firms to focus on.
There are a number of ways to develop the requisite understanding of the business models of CPA firms. They all require time and effort. However, this investment of time and effort is likely to be well rewarded.
A producer talking to the “right” CPA firms is likely to get a case now and again, but far from a steady flow or pipeline of pre-qualified life insurance clients. For that steady flow, it is essential for a producer to implement a methodology for determining which of the accountants clients the producer should be seeing.