In the 37 years, I have spent in the financial services industry, the overwhelming majority of the time I have had some sort of educational role of one kind or another. That includes showing new reps the ropes on joint field work, teaching industry-related courses, doing seminars for the public and even running a training department for a major market firm.
Somehow, some way, to somebody, I am teaching or enlightening them about something. Right now, on behalf of the American College, I’m teaching a large property-casualty insurance company’s agents about life insurance. “You do realize that what you are doing is trying to teach fish to breathe air,” a new student once told me. I promised him that it wasn’t going to be as hard as he thought it might be, and he was very happy to find out it wasn’t at all what he had expected.
One of the issues we discuss is how life Insurance sales occur because people make an emotional decision to purchase it. People have to care about someone or something that needs protecting when they die, and it has to be that important to them, right?
Life agents cannot simply wait for that phone to ring in order for people to take action. It’s us, the licensed professionals, who have to proactively find our prospects and show them the importance of getting this done. I always tell my students that, after all, we live here on Earth. If this was the Planet Vulcan, where everything is based upon Logic, our lives would be all that much easier, wouldn’t it?
Just think about how your day in the life insurance industry would be on Planet Vulcan. Every day, you would go into your office at about 8:30 a.m. You would get yourself prepared. At 9 a.m. when the front doors opened, you would go to the lobby and call out, “Number 27? 27? Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Spock, thank you for coming in.” You would go into your office and have an interview, determine Mr. and Mrs. Spock’s needs and their budget, and write them a plan.
Why? This is Vulcan, remember? It’s only logical that they would need life insurance to cover their mortgage debt and other debts, save for their children’s education, provide income for a surviving spouse, and so on. What could there possibly be to think over? Nothing. After you turn in the paperwork, you would go back out to the lobby. “Number 28? 28?”
However, we don’t live on the Planet Vulcan, and therefore there are very few people out there that have those logical minds that make them actually want to call a local firm and set up an appointment. So, how to change that? Some will say that we can’t. Some people say that a lot of things are impossible. I remind you that the Chicago Cubs really did win the World Series in 2016.
Where should we start?
A ThinkAdvisor writer recently wrote about promoting insurance literacy by getting school children to run in-school insurance funds. I think she is right on the money. In fact, teaching our children all about money, including insurance, over the course of their elementary, middle school and high school education is very likely the key to the solution.