Getting a great start in the insurance business is not the easiest task. I feel so fortunate that from a young age I watched my father run a very successful agency for a major insurance company. Even as a boy, it was obvious to me how his work with financial products and services had the most positive impact for his clients at the most critical moments of their lives.
No question — I wanted to experience the satisfaction of making a real difference for others. Today my occupation is also my passion: working with my clients to help them ensure their families’ financial security.
Trust is the key
One of the main issues we as an industry face is developing and maintaining trust and credibility with our clients. Let’s face it; there is a lot of negativity and bad news to overcome.
The seemingly endless headline stories of fraud, Ponzi schemes, and other rip-offs besmudge the reputations of all of us to some degree. The “good guys” must work even harder to maintain their reputations and the trust of the public. We must carefully explain our recommendations, present meaningful options, and truthfully provide the “pros and cons” of all options. As advisors possessing a body of critical professional knowledge, we must use our it for the best interest of our client as we owe it to them to present honest recommendations.
In addition to helping clients and families, what I enjoy most about our industry is that there are no limitations. There are few other occupations in which people can do so much good for others while doing so well for themselves.
I love the ability to control my calendar and even select the people with whom I work. In my practice, we primarily work with business owners who love their families and want to create a plan to protect their interests. It is a joy to work with those who respond to your recommendations, appreciate your services, and willingly refer you to acquaintances. Brightens the day, lowers the blood pressure and increases the bottom line.
Our industry changes rapidly. New products, new strategies and new legislation constantly challenge our relevancy. I make it a priority to stay informed on these changes so I can answer my clients’ inquiries and adopt the most promising innovations.
As with other advisors, my clients keep me on my toes to stay current and explain the “latest and greatest” article from TV’s talking heads or financial magazines. I am also blessed with a dedicated staff that assists me in providing excellent client service. I have learned to be proactive in reaching out to my clients, especially when “storm clouds” are gathering such as significant market sell-offs, new legislation, or adverse financial news. Clients expect and appreciate these “touches” and excellent service demands we provide them.
For the new advisor
I have been so fortunate to have my father as a role model, the wise counsel from many friends, supervisors and colleagues. For the new advisor, the challenges can be huge, but the rewards can be bigger. Here are a few of my best helping hints:
Proactively seek advice from those who have made it. Do not feel you have to “reinvent the wheel” in your early years. Look around, seek out the successful advisors, invite them to breakfast and pick their brains. To what do they owe their success? What do they recommend for you? What mistakes would they warn you not to make?
Do “first things first.” What are the tasks that are most important to your success? You will find that producing a steady stream of qualified prospects is essential to avoid failure. Other tasks are important, but prospecting is critical. Your most valuable time is spent with new prospects and clients. With each new appointment, you are placing new business in the pipeline. Prospect, prospect and prospect some more.
Resolve early that you will do business with the highest of ethical standards. That may cost you a sale along the way, but it will purchase your integrity and reputation among all who know you.
Make your professional career your passion — to help others provide for their financial needs and those of their loved ones. Do good for good’s sake, and your own financial rewards will exceed your wildest dreams.
You CAN do this! It is not simply the smartest, nor the well connected, nor the glib, nor most attractive who succeed. The surest path to success is to work hard, work with integrity, and work with a burning passion.