You Have Only 90 Minutes For The Presentation, Use Them Wisely

You are making the presentation. Here are some pointers for doing your best.

Follow the agenda! The company and the consultant didnt put it together for practice.

Note that it is likely the people from the company will have a scorecard for measuring how well each broker does in each segment of the agenda. These folks will assess your presentation, component by component, and then compare notes. They also will note what your competitors had to say about your carrier(s) and product(s).

Dont start off with, “Were here to learn more about what the company is looking to accomplish, etc.” You had plenty of opportunity to explore all that in the RFP process. The company will take that line of inquiry as a delaying tactic and a sure sign of your unwillingness to make a recommendation.

Do tell the people from the company that you are ready, willing and able to present in accordance with the agenda. But, ask them if they would prefer that you focus on certain aspects of the agenda, such as product selection and design. Dont be surprised to hear a collective sigh of relief from the assembled.

Dont just stand there, do something! Unless your group is the first presenter of the day when everything is new and the audience is fresh, you will need to do something to differentiate yourself from the others and create that certain je ne sais quoi. So, even if you are the first presenter, do your best to animate the discussion and maintain eye contact. You might use a flipchart to illustrate how your product so efficiently fulfills the funding needs of the plan over time. Or, you might have your product specialist walk the audience through your scoring system for evaluating the competitiveness of products and their fit for a particular case. Maybe you can use a diagram to demonstrate how you will help the company manage the VUL product you are proposing.

Dont get caught up in your own jargon. Terms and concepts that are second nature to you are not going to be second nature to most of the people from the company. The risk is that, given human nature, they wont bother to ask you to backup and restate. Rather, theyll just tune you out.

Be prepared to really answer questions, particularly about products and carriers. Make no mistake about it, this point is often the Achilles heel of even seasoned producers who, after a brilliant discussion of the financial case for using COLI to fund SERPs, stumble badly on such questions as: “How did you select the product in this case?” “How did you design the product for utmost efficiency in this plan?” “You are presenting 2 or 3 products here, what should be our criteria for decision?” For goodness sake, bring your product person to the meeting and let him do the talking when it comes to product. The last thing you want to do is punt on what are perhaps the most critical questions posed by the company.

If they ask you what time it is, dont tell them how to make a watch. Dont be afraid to answer “yes” or “no.”

Dont take every question as an objection. The company is just trying to learn. Folks tire quickly of a broker who, much like the politico on a talk show, seems to have an elusive answer to every question that has a hint of challenge to it.

When you do get an objection, a real objection, be willing to concede the small points for the bigger picture. Getting argumentative about a relatively inconsequential point will only make it that much harder for the company to stay with you for the rest of the presentation.

Speaking of objections, acknowledge that there are risks to COLI. But strive in an intellectually objective way to describe how you will help the company mitigate any risks that cant be avoided.

Take a few minutes at the end to summarize and to set forth some crisp criteria for the companys decision.

–Charles Ratner


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, March 12, 2004. Copyright 2004 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.