“The rules of engagement have changed between buyer and seller. Today’s buyer has much more information and is much more educated,” says Patrick Leary, Assistant Vice President at LIMRA, and he has plenty of research and statistics to support this claim. At the Advisor Network Summit 2014 in Las Vegas, Leary discussed how the role of the sales professional is “no longer just about providing information, but about helping consumers weed through information, to help identify needs and provide solutions.” Here are four takeaways from his presentation.
1. Consumers may need to be convinced of an advisor’s value.
How do consumers engage with our industry? When consumers were asked which sources they rely on in the shopping process, there were four basic answers:
- Advisors: 69%
- Internet: 61%
- Place of employment: 33%
- Family and friends: 33%
However, when those consumers were asked which source they most value, they responded:
- Advisors: 37%
- Internet: 25%
- Place of employment: 16%
- Family and friends: 12%
Sources: Consumer Internet Use for Insurance, 2012. Shopping for Life Insurance: Different Paths to Success, 2013
2. Consumers are stuck online.
When discussing their online buying experience, consumers say they feel stuck. They go online, interact with friends and family, research products – “but they end up getting caught in circular logic and not being able to close the deal,” says Leary.