It could be that the 2000s will turn out to the era of “solution selling” in insurance and financial services–just as the 1990s became the era of “product pushing.”
No one is using the solutions selling term yet, but don’t be surprised if you hear it soon–said derisively, just as “product pushing” is spoken with a curl of the lip.
Why so? Let’s back-pedal a bit. When “insurance and financial solutions” first showed up at the financial professional’s dance, maybe 8-10 years ago, it looked pretty good.
Advisors using this term sought to distance themselves from others who, though licensed, seemed more interested in selling certain products–often high commissioned ones or products on a distributor’s hot list–than in addressing what the customer needed.
Such product pushing has been blamed for inappropriate sales to seniors and others, drawing much negative press and industry tongue lashing.
The solutions advisors went to great pains to point out that they, unlike the product pushers, take a consultative, customer-centric approach to their work.
They said they focus on developing the best solutions for the customer’s situation, whether it involves a product or not. They do “talk product,” but only as one of many of their financial “tools.” Many of these advisors work on a fee or fee/commission basis, thus dulling complaints about “high-commission-sales.”
As noted earlier, that all sounded pretty good. What, after all, is not to like about putting the customer’s need first?
Problem is, from that well-intentioned beginning came today’s stampede of advisors–and companies–who all seem to be touting the very same thing.
Everyone, it seems, provides insurance and financial solutions.
Often, this talk is accompanied by the now familiar buzzwords–transparency, suitability, client relationship, etc.
It’s gotten to the point that some websites and brochures are so loaded up with all this verbiage that it is difficult to determine just what the advisor, firm or company actually does or sells.