San Antonio, Texas
How to work effectively with broker-dealers is a sometimes mystifying question for insurance-trained professionals seeking to do business in the broker-dealer sector. But several panelists at a conference here suggested the solution comes down to providing superior service, which includes effective communications.
For example, “we listen all the time…, we need to follow up, and we send a personal thank you card,” said John Keller, a wholesaler for Jackson National Life Distributors, based out of San Antonio.
In talking about fixed annuities with advisors at the B-D, “you’ve got to be honest,” Keller said. If the wholesaler makes mistakes with just one advisor, he cautioned, that advisor will tell 4 friends and word will get around.
He spoke during a panel at the annual annuity conference co-sponsored by LIMRA, LOMA and Society of Actuaries.
The point to keep in mind, Keller said, is that advisors at a broker-dealer need accurate information. “They don’t want to be embarrassed when they go to the client.”
“Stress building lasting relationships, as a partner,” said Beau Niedermeier, a regional vice president at Jackson National based in Rockwall, Texas. “Keep calling on them and prospecting them…about building our business together.”
He said he does talk with advisors about product features when discussing how to position variable annuities for retirement planning. He might discuss VA guarantees now being offered, for example.
But Niedermeier avoids “throwing product” at reps. Instead, he focuses on discussing what will help reps grow their business by solving customer needs. He may suggest doing seminars, he said, or having customer appreciation events or taking customers out to dinner. But he also focuses on making it as easy as possible for reps to do their business, he said.
Find out what reps need from the home office and make it happen, suggested Keller. The needs can range from returned phone calls to stand-out sales kits and more.
The bottom line is to “be responsive,” said Niedermeier.
In recent months, brokers have been more open to wholesalers, Niedermeier noted. “They are asking the right questions. It’s not a matter of, “hey, where’d you get the pizza?” he said. Rather, what they’re saying is, “I have a client who might benefit from that product you mentioned last time.”