The closely held business market simply deals with family-owned or family-managed businesses. In the United States, these kinds of businesses account for 50% of employment and 50% of the gross domestic product. [Producers who would like to tap this market should consider taking the following steps.]

1. Study the cares and concerns of the closely held business owner. A key to doing this is continuing education. You must know the basics cold, and the more you specialize, the more education you must obtain. Studying for and obtaining a CLU, ChFC, CFP or CFA designation is a great way to gain a professional education in the business market and get the bonus of adding letters behind your name.

2. Find a live resource — a living, breathing interactive person to whom you can talk and from who you can learn. I have attorneys in my home office with whom I talk weekly to keep up with what’s new in the estate and business world.

3. Start with existing clients. Put together a client list of your existing clients who are business owners or key people in a family-run business. You can send them a lead letter to let them know you are “in” the business arena.

4. Consider these additional areas ripe for prospecting and accelerating entrance into the business market:

  • Dunn and Bradstreet or its equivalent: You can get a list of all the businesses in your geographic area or obtain a list of specific kinds of businesses if you want to focus on one particular industry.
  • Join the local chamber of commerce.
  • Join a trade organization. I work with many successful producers who know almost more about the lumber industry or restaurant business than they do about life insurance. They have become more attuned to what those in these industries need and want.
  • Join the Rotary club and other civic and business related organizations.
  • Contact centers of influence and ask them if there are businesses with which they work that might need financial products or services.
  • Send out mailing materials and follow up with telephone calls.

Editor’s Note: The preceding is adapted from “Transitioning into and succeeding in the closely held business markets” by William H. Taylor, J.D., CLU, an article that originally ran in the August 2003 issue of Life Insurance Selling. To read the full story, click here.

To read last week’s Words from the Wise, click here.

For more advice about working with business clients, see:

Does your client have a 100-year business plan?

5 questions to ask a business owner

Small-business succession planning can mean big business