Marketing: When Protein Powder Is Not Just “Protein Powder”

A while back, as I was preparing to go to the gym, I made myself a protein shake. For whatever reason I actually read the label on the protein jar. The label had some guy that was jacked and tan as well as a lot of technical, chemical, and biological language that made it sound like I would turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger if I took this protein. One sentence in particular that stood out to me—as a marketer—was a sentence that explained what the protein powder was. It said that the protein powder was “A pre-workout energy and post workout recovery system.“ I thought to myself, “Wow, and for a second I thought I was just drinking protein powder mixed with milk.” That is marketing my friends! And our industry revolves around marketing.

Another example would be BMW. Instead of BMW saying, “We make good cars,“ their slogan is that they make “The ultimate driving machine.“

Now I am not suggesting putting lipstick on a pig, but rather I am suggesting giving credit where credit is due. Because, after-all, you must live up to your marketing message!

Like the old saying, “When you live inside the jar, it is hard to read the label on the outside of the jar.“ Many of us have lived in the financial services jar for decades and as a result we “normalize our excellence.“ We normalize our excellence just like how pro golfers probably can’t understand how hard it is for “normal people” to drive a golf ball straight.

Now, “normalizing our excellence” may sound like a bold and arrogant statement but I promise you, if you are reading this article, you more than likely are excellent at financial services relative to who your prospects and clients are—the public. Are you marketing your excellence adequately?

When you normalize your excellence you take for granted what it is that you know and the wonderful things that you do automatically.

So, the purpose of this article is to get you to reflect on exactly what it is that you do when you assist your clients in achieving financial security. Then, the goal should be for you to market that process. When you have a process, and that process has a name, and the process is clearly explained, you then differentiate yourselves from your competitors. And that is what you want—differentiation. Nothing is worse than just blending in…

Let me give you an example as a microcosm of my point. As a marketing organization, one of several things that my company does is we help agents/reps with case design. And because of the experience that I have been privileged to acquire over 23 years, my company’s case design process and knowledge is unique. My process—that I do automatically—is actually a substantial, detailed, and methodical process that I have when I help an agent with case design.

Now, If I just put in a brochure that CG financial group “helps agents with case design,“ does that have any appeal to it at all? No, it normalizes my company’s excellence and it blends in with every other entity that markets case design. That would be like my protein jar merely saying “Protein Powder.“

So recently I have reflected on exactly what it is that I do automatically when I get scores of phone calls per day to help agents/reps with cases. I have created sales material, videos, and brochures that communicate this message. I would suggest that you consider doing the same thing, whether you are a general agency, a marketing organization, a registered rep, or an insurance agent.

Here is my example that is effectively a “cut and paste” from some of our advertising. The purpose of the below is to get your wheels turning with your business and a different way of thinking about how you market:

The CG Financial Group 6-Step Case Design Process: This is a process that includes analyzing—using technology, quantitative analysis, and qualitative analysis—the products and solutions of around 80 different life, annuity, and long term care companies depending on the problems the client and advisor are wishing to address.

The implementation of CG Financial Group’s 6-Step Case Design Process usually begins with a simple statement from the advisor. That statement is, “I have a client who…”
Those Six Steps:

  1. Exploratory conversation and assessment. This is where the advisor and CG Financial group discuss the financial situation of the consumer and what the problem is that needs to be addressed. This will lead to a preliminary conversation around potential solutions and to get a pulse from the advisor on those potential solutions.
  2. Quantitative Solutions Screening Process. The numbers! This is where technology comes into play. Whether it is term pricing, GLWB payouts, long term care pricing, etc., the cost per dollar of benefit is always a factor. Using technological tools can take hundreds of financial products and narrow down the field to those products/solutions that are the most “cost effective” in the industry.
  3. Qualitative Solutions Screening Process. Cost is an issue only in the absence of value! Although the quantitative analysis in #2 is important, this is where we identify if there is additional value by looking at some of those products/solutions that are not necessarily “the cheapest.” This is where experience and knowledge come in! For example, a term policy may be “the cheapest” but does it have living benefits? If there is a term policy with living benefits that we found and is only a dollar per month more expensive than “the cheapest,” we may want to go the living benefits route. This is where experience and “qualitative analysis” comes into play.
  4. Plan and Solution Formulation. This packages everything together. This is where everything that was learned through the Exploratory Conversation, the Quantitative Analysis, and the Qualitative Analysis culminates into the formulation of the plan that will then be presented to the financial professional.
  5. Proposal of Plan Session. This is usually a phone call or a Zoom call with the Advisor where the Plan/Solution is presented. Furthermore, this is where product descriptions, sales ideas, and proposed sales language is presented to the advisor so that they can communicate it to the client. Many times there are videos that are sent to the advisor laying out the sales ideas as well. We have over 400 sales idea videos already created in our private YouTube channel. Lastly, the willingness to join meetings between the advisors and the clients to propose the plan directly to the client.
  6. Documentation Delivery. This is delivering the supporting sales material and documents to the advisor for the case to be written. Many times there is carrier mandated “product training” that accompanies this email as well. Whether the advisor wants paper apps or eapps, this email provides him/her with the preferred avenue for writing the app.

I think you would agree that the above is much more than “We help with case design.” Think about the process you go through with your clients and create something similar. If you want my opinion, email me your creation and I will give you my quick consultation.

Charlie Gipple, CLU, ChFC, is the owner of CG Financial Group, an innovative and full-service independent marketing organization (IMO) that serves independent agents that sell life insurance, annuities and asset-based long term care. He also owns “The Retirement Academy” (www.retirement-academy.com), which is a subscription based online training platform for agents, reps, and company wholesalers.

Gipple is recognized throughout the industry as one of the foremost thought leaders and subject matter experts on annuities, life insurance, long term care, leadership, storyselling and behavioral finance. He is also an industry keynote speaker conducting 100-150 speeches per year. He has spoken at the MDRT Top of the Table as well as other large forums and has also appeared on TheStreet.com and AM Best TV.

Gipple has vast leadership experience in the insurance industry as he has been an executive of various insurance companies and large independent marketing organizations. He is unique in his broad knowledge across the life insurance, annuities and securities businesses. Additionally, within these businesses, he has a deep understanding of the distribution aspects of these products along with the actuarial and hedging aspects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Northern Iowa, is FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 licensed and also holds the CLU® and ChFC® designations.

Gipple can be reached by phone at 515-986-3065. Email: cgipple@cgfinancialgroupllc.com.