What The Big Hitters Do
By Steven R. Craig
All business people recognize that a business must grow or face inevitable decline and death. Ambitious agents must look at their business the same way.
Most agents agree the easiest way to grow their business is by working with clients who have larger, more complex insurance needs. In this article, I will explore key areas that separate agents who are the big hitters from those who are still struggling.
Seek To Understand. To paraphrase Stephen Covey, you must understand the client before you can expect him to understand you. Elite producers know that a clients life insurance needs dont exist in a vacuum and that they are inextricably linked to other long-range planning issues.
If you are going to work with doctors, you need to understand the business of medicine. If your target includes senior executives of small public companies, you need to understand the rigors and routines they face daily. Understanding the client is much more involved than just understanding the corporate balance sheet or knowing how to structure a buy/sell agreement. It also means understanding non-insurance solutions to the same problem and how one solution might be superior to another based on the clients specific situation.
The problem is agents often only engage in education on a “need-to-know” basis. To enter upscale markets, a more proactive approach to learning must be taken. For example, an associate of mine wanted to expand his practice to include Bank-Owned Life Insurance (BOLI). This market is so complex that he first had to learn the business of banking before he could make his first presentation. He had to understand asset/liability management, regulatory requirements and financial ratios that are important to directors, shareholders and regulators. He had to understand cost of capital, deployment of capital and more importantly, he had to understand the mindset of a community banker.
Only after he had done his study and aligned himself with a firm that specializes in the market was he able to break into this lucrative field.
Make Yourself Indispensable. Not long ago, a producer and I had a meeting with a very influential business manager. We were discussing one of the business managers centa-millionaire clients and his $50 million of life insurance. In that meeting, I learned why this producer consistently generates in excess of $1 million in new commissions. The business manager who advises ultrahigh net-worth clients stated plainly that this producer is “his guy” for creative insurance solutions. The relationship he had built with the business manager had made him an indispensable resource when it came to insurance planning.
Here are a few points that can help make you indispensable: