You preach diversification to your clients, but are you practicing what you preach with your own business? As the recent financial market firestorm made clear, the more versatile an advisor is from a product standpoint, the better equipped he will be to weather upheaval in the marketplace.
Just as the long-term success of an investment portfolio depends on diversity of assets, so, too, does the long-term welfare of a practice depend on the advisor or agent’s ability to skillfully handle more than just a single product or class of products. And one of the most effective ways for agents and advisors with annuity-centric books of business to gain diversity is through a producer’s best friend, the cross-sale.
A valuable tool
The ability to uncover cross-selling opportunities with annuities and capitalize on them when they emerge “is extraordinarily valuable,” asserts Jeff Leib, CFP, CLU, RFC, co-founder of ICON Wealth and Legacy Partners in Woodland Hills, Calif.
“We cross-sell every single day,” says William E. Kauffman, Jr., CLU, ChFC, LLIF, director of marketing for life and
annuities at Senior Market Sales, an independent marketing organization in Omaha, Neb. “It’s how we built this
“But the problem is,” adds Kauffman’s colleague, Pat Sheridan, director of life sales at SMS, “so often agents don’t take the time or don’t know how to cross-sell. If they sell annuities, they are content being very good at that.”
One of the prerequisites to cross-selling is a strong working knowledge of the products involved. Then it’s a matter of uncovering need, a more nuanced process that, according to Kauffman, any responsible advisor should be following as part of the needs-based analysis he conducts with clients. “You could think of it as cross-selling, or you can just think of it as doing a better job for your clients.”