When producers try to upgrade their markets to include more wealthy business owners and individuals, they may encounter difficulty getting in touch with either the most affluent prospects or those prospects’ tax and legal advisors.

Problems also may arise in obtaining the outside advisors’ blessings to the recommended insurance plan, even when it’s in the prospect’s best interest. How can producers gain influential advisors’ trust and confidence? First, three rules to understand:

- High-income people have gatekeepers whose jobs are to protect their clients.

- Producers must earn access to these tax and legal advisors.

- Under no circumstances should producers try to bypass the advisors.

So how do producers cultivate respect among targeted tax and legal advisors so that the advisors actually will refer business to them? It’s a process. There’s no magic quick fix. The producer should consider these five steps:

1. Identify the estate-planning and business succession-planning players. In this case, the prospecting task is to identify the key people in the area who are proficient in tax, business, and estate planning and can provide access to affluent individuals or business owners. Sources available for information include bar association directories, Yellow Page directories, professional associations, the Internet, cross directories, local estate planning councils, bank trust department personnel, other producers and center-of-influence clients.

2. Develop a strategy to meet them under favorable circumstances. The fastest way to develop a relationship is to be referred by a client and invite the advisor to breakfast or lunch. The producer should leave the advisor prospect something of value, such as a planning or tax concept.

3. Earn their good graces and keep your name in front of them by providing them with information. The producer should provide key practitioners with tax facts, sample business and estate planning documents, or articles of interest. Any investment the producer makes that helps advisors become more proficient while keeping his name in front of them will be repaid in huge commissions. So he should budget these tools as advertising costs; they’re a deductible business expense.

4. Earn their business by referring good business to them.

5. Show them that the producer is a professional who knows his or her stuff or who has access to those who do. Many successful producers don’t earn industry designations, and earning designations won’t in themselves make someone successful. The American College’s statistics, however, show a significantly higher average income among those life insurance professionals who have earned professional designations.

Editor’s Note: The preceding article was adapted from “The Secret in Selling to Affluent Prospects,” which ran in the March 2004 issue of Life Insurance Selling. Click here to read the whole article.

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

For more on affluent prospects, see:

Helping the Young and Wealthy Hold onto Their Earnings

Personal Defined Benefit Plans For the Affluent Market: The Next Great Life Insurance Sales Opportunity

Points that help you sell: A focus on asset protection concerns can earn access to affluent clients