A business owner riding an arrow (Credit: Shutterstock)

Historically, life/health and property and casualty advisors have not had much in common. Aside from the contrast in compensation models, there has always been a general reluctance for the two worlds to interact.

But COVID-19 changed everything, and the industry must adapt. These two distinct groups of professionals share a very big problem: the mass migration of consumers unused to interacting digitally.

(Related: Get Back To The Basics With Business Owners)

Consider a most important group of customers: business owners. They themselves have a whole set of challenges ahead. And the advisors who want to work with this unique community recognize their task just got bigger.

Business owners are consumed with their companies. They’re not big fans of insurance to begin with, and starting important conversations around planning, and protecting their largest asset, will not be easy. They are in survival mode themselves. An audience that has been historically difficult to engage with is now further removed.

But all this “distraction” does not reduce the importance of the topic. In fact, given the general demographics of the (aging) business owner community, increasing difficulties in the marketplace and the growing impact of technology, advisors who work with these folks need an effective methodology to engage remotely, while simultaneous focusing on the task of pushing back on the negative stereotype.

This perception of advisors extends well beyond the insurance space.

What about those professionals often referred to as “centers of influence”: CPAs, attorneys, bankers, business coaches, and exit planners all could be categorized as contributors. They (often) share the same clients. They will explain that they are focused on working with business owners, but what proactive steps are being taken? And what strategy have they developed — and implemented — to stimulate these conversations?

Business owners may not verbalize it, but they are looking for help. And perhaps a little empathy. The responsibilities of starting this important dialogue rests solely with the professional community, and those who position themselves as specialists. Specialists who can help business owners protect and/or monetize what they have worked so hard to build.

As my father told me, “if it was easy, everyone would do it.” But for those who assume a leadership role, the rewards, both emotionally and financially, will be worth the commitment. Time is the precious resource they can offer. Experience and action will quickly become the most effective differentiator.

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Michael J. MainardiMichael J. Mainardi is president of Selling Technologies in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.