Insurance is increasingly a female-friendly industry, and the Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT) organization provides an interesting case study on how these demographics are evolving. The MDRT board is now comprised of three women and two men, marking the first time in the organization’s history that women have held a majority position.
Micki Hoesly, the incoming president of MDRT, shared an interesting tidbit about the global group. While women in the U.S. do not make up a large number of advisors (only 10.8 percent of those in MDRT), that’s not the case throughout the world. In fact, overall, MDRT has 37,805 members and 15,535 are women (41.1 percent).
And, Hoesly believes the numbers could move up in the U.S. as well. “Historically our industry has been biased toward new sales, but women tend to be gatherers and nurturers,” she says. “So, sometimes this hard sales approach is not as much a woman’s way.”
She adds that as clients increasingly look more toward long-term, educational-based relationships, it’s a great opening for women. “The service aspect is very, very important in planning. It’s an ongoing thing. Not just a one-time sales thing.”
On this point, many in the industry agree. Read on to see how six women have built some of the best practices in the business — and why there’s no place they’d rather be.
“Women are conditioned to focus more on wanting to be liked than wanting to be respected. Men are different. This is one reason women in general feel uncomfortable selling. They don’t want to be pushy. But believe in what you’re doing. I believe life insurance is powerful as a financial tool. Once my business stopped being about selling a product and started being an obligation that I feel to take care of people, I began building relationships and my sales took off. Because you know who notices and appreciates that sort of attitude? You got it: women.
I think that’s the reason I’m able to talk to people. I really believe in what I do. It’s about helping to change someone’s financial position. Once you understand your moral obligation, you will be able to take the time, build the advisor/advisee relationship with women in your network and begin turning them into clients.”
— Mary Lyons, financial representative, Personal Economics Group, Dallas, Texas
“When I decided to go back to work, other industries were telling me I was too old. But that’s the beautiful part about this industry. You’re never too old or too young — you’re always just right. Because no matter what age you are, there are people who need you to provide them solutions to the same problems you are personally dealing with.”
— Wallene Leek, registered representative, New York Life Securities LLC, Nashville, Tenn.
“I think that women are really masters at networking and we’re not really all masters at patting ourselves on the back for our accomplishments. And I think that kind of obvious lack of self-promotion as a group is somewhat of a weakness as compared to some of our male advisor counterparts. But I think we can really play up our networking skills to collaborate with other women professionals. And I think that when we do that we can accomplish much greater things.”
— Rebecca True, president, True Capital Advisors, Orlando, Fla.
“I sell from my heart. I love my product; I’m passionate about it. I love my people. What people will say to me often is, ‘You obviously love what you do.’
I would consider myself a horrible closer if you were to read some books that teach you how to sell. The biggest challenge I had to learn was to shut up and listen to people, but I learned that it wasn’t just a matter of shutting up. In order for me to be a good listener, I had to ask good questions. No script, no follow-along PowerPoints — it’s talking about an issue, helping people plan for long-term care, answering tough questions, knowing my product, and always learning something new every day.”
— Carol Guilbault, owner, LTC Simple, Bellevue, Wash.
“It was the No. 1 goal for us to be a mother and a wife and still have a career so we really worked at building our day around both our business and our families. When our first babies were born, we would take Monday off, because we knew we couldn’t enjoy the family on Saturday and Sunday if we spent all weekend doing the laundry and the cleaning and managing a household. Then we worked Tuesday through Friday from 8am–6pm. As the boys grew older, then it came time to carpool, so then we worked every day until 3pm, and we’d have one late day appointment. I think people knew the value of our families were important to us, which meant that the value of their families were also important.”
— Katheigh Degen, founder, Twin Financial, Kansas City, Mo. (above left)
“I think that what the industry really offers is the kind of opportunity where women can have a career, but they don’t want to work until 8 or 9 or 10 at night. Maybe they make $100k a year, but they don’t have to do it at the expense of their entire lifestyle.”
— Raleigh Lang, founder, Twin Financial, Kansas City, Mo. (above right)