The financial services industry is gearing up for critical staffing challenges. Many veteran insurance agents are readying for retirement just as the demand for financial advice is growing due to the boomer retirement and a shift toward consumerism and individual responsibility. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the oldest of the baby boomer generation turns 62 in 2008. As they trickle out of the workforce, firms will compete for top talent among younger generations to serve, perhaps, one of the largest and most advice-starved markets in history.
One of the best ways to welcome developing professionals into the workplace is to offer them a spot on a team. Generations X and Y, those born between 1965 and 1976 and 1977 and 1994, respectively, value the chance to be part of a group with a larger goal. These two generations are adept at social networking; and they have made web sites such as Face Book, My Space and LinkedIn popular.
They like interacting with their peers in a virtual group community and are accustomed to building friendships with people from across the U.S. and around the globe. They enjoy communities in the virtual and real world alike. But they are as wary as anyone of the sales process, particularly when it comes to products such as life insurance, stocks or bonds. To help them enter a career in the financial services industry that involves placing such products calls for a different perspective.
The concept of team selling has grown in popularity as the industry has changed. It is now commonplace in the securities and real estate industries. However, perhaps a more accurate and attractive phrase, at least in the realm of financial services, would be team planning. Our clients need a tailored financial plan to fit their specific needs, not a just a sales pitch, especially via tag team with an opener or closer.
Our industry has changed dramatically over the last 20 to 30 years. It was previously common practice to approach clients with a one-size-fits-all plan centered on two products: life and disability income insurance. Today’s financial services firms, formerly known as agencies, offer a more sophisticated approach.
Instead of pushing products, they seek to develop long-term relationships with clients to help them meet their ever-changing financial needs. Many of our clients are facing challenges not experienced by previous generations–simultaneously preparing for retirement, taking care of children and, in many cases, aging parents. As a result, our product is planning.
I started our firm in 1987 with an emphasis on planning. While the underlying goal of selling is inherent, successful representatives understand what they’re selling: a process, not just a product. Clients and prospects are often more receptive to the term financial planning than traditional insurance sales.
Our industry needs to attract more young talent to survive. To recruit and keep talent, we have found that it may be wise to offer young professionals a career in financial planning as opposed to product sales. It also helps to give them a place on a planning team.
The financial planning team approach can help to attract both new and experienced producers alike. A few tips for implementing a successful team follow.
Planning teams provide the most thorough advice and service possible to consumers. Team leaders are experienced planners with expertise in all of the critical areas that must be addressed by any successful agent and are experts in building clientele. The team approach has several advantages.
Clients benefit because they receive uninterrupted service from at least one of the team members who knows their personal and financial situation inside and out. New planners benefit because they can watch and learn from our very best. It’s their fast track to business success.