By David A. Macchia
Is your brokerage general agency (BGA) providing you with the tools and strategies you need to attract more clients and increase your income? Are you benefiting from advanced multimedia technology that conveys complex concepts and products in a manner that clients can easily understand?
Have you received the latest in seminar presentation programs that help you capitalize on huge, new sales opportunities, such as retirement income distribution planning for seniors? Have you been offered a Web site capable of delivering rich multimedia sales presentations and designed to make a dramatically positive impact on your success?
If you find yourself scratching your head, unable, perhaps, to even recognize that these important marketing developments exist, it may be time to realize that youve become a victim of the disastrous trend of commoditization in financial services. Its time to demand better.
The past decade produced unprecedented price competition in financial services as increasing numbers of insurance carriers adopted a product manufacturing stance at the expense of their traditional role in developing marketing tools. This shift is often referred to as “commoditization,” in which products generally look the same, act the same and are priced the same.
As insurance carriers further focus their efforts on product manufacturing and less on sales and marketing, the art of selling is in danger of becoming permanently lost. Many companies that used to boast about the strength of their home-grown distribution systems, systems comprised of individuals highly skilled in their ability to sell financial products, today sell exclusively through independent planners, brokers or producer groups. As result of that change, one source of quality, conceptual marketing and training programs, has disappeared.
Commoditization also has caused BGAs to focus almost exclusively on price. Loyalty to companies has become a quaint concept. Consequently, for carriers to attract business, they must either lower premiums or raise commissions.
When advisors can go anywhere to get the products they need to help their clients, how does the BGA fit? I would argue that todays BGAs must furnish real value to advisors to continue to justify their role in the financial services distribution “food chain.”
Innovative marketing and training strategies
One way to add value is through a new approach to training. No matter how smart or sophisticated an advisor or a producer is, financial products and advanced planning strategies are complex. And with new riders and concepts being unveiled daily, advisors appreciate a thorough and engaging way to learn about product innovations quickly and, thereby, deliver appropriate products and strategies to clients in a timely manner.