On a monthly basis I get automatic reports that are generated from my CRM system. These reports are sorted out by the agents that work with my IMO and show what policies are coming to the end of the term within the next 60-days. For instance, a two year multi-year guaranteed annuity that was written two years ago represents an opportunity right now for my agent. Additionally, a term life policy coming to the end of its convertibility period represents an opportunity for my agent. This is what this report shows me. From there I am able to send the agent their report so they can reach out to their client and have that conversation. I feel like Santa Claus delivering these reports to my agents.
Anyway, as I was going through my report last month on two-year MYGAs that are reaching the end of the surrender period, I observed one agent that had three cases on this report that were coming to the end of their surrender periods. The total amount of these three annuities that were “coming due” represents about $950,000. Those are three great sales meetings that this agent will be having! But that is not the interesting part. The interesting part is, 30 months ago, this agent did not even know how to spell annuities! He was almost exclusively P&C. Now however, his business has taken on a life of its own. He has policies that are rolling over and, most importantly, he knows how to sell annuities to his massive P&C book of clients. How did all of this happen? Let’s back up and I will discuss.
The number one retailer in the United States is Walmart. The number one grocer in the United States is also Walmart. Now, Walmart is usually the cheapest around which is largely the reason for dominating in both areas, but I would argue that a lot of their “multi-offering” success is about convenience as well. Consumers have a limited amount of time, and it is nice to be able to buy that car battery they need while simultaneously grabbing what’s for dinner tonight. Making one trip is better than two. Plus, at Walmart, you have some great people-watching to keep you entertained, but I digress.
I mention the above example because I often work with agents who are very good in one area—annuities, life insurance, long term care—but not good in other areas. And if they are not fluent in those other areas, they completely disregard those other product lines while having conversations with their clients. Like everybody, agents tend to have a bias where they only want to talk about what they are comfortable with for fear that they are asked a zinger question that they don’t know the answer to. This is natural. Well, perfection is the enemy of progress many times. You don’t have to be perfect to merely get the client interested in a separate product line.
If you are an agent that works with my marketing organization, you will attest that I have been imploring everybody for some time now that if they have clients, they should be able to discuss with those clients annuities, life insurance, and long term care insurance—all three. That may sound daunting to some because we only have so much room in our brains, and it is hard to be an “expert” in multiple areas. Well, with what I am talking about, the goal is to just know enough to get the clients interested in the concept. And once they are interested, bring somebody into the equation that does know that product line. I promise you that you will make a lot of money if you get out of your comfort zone and start taking that step.
In this same Broker World issue, I discuss a little bit about partnerships and what are some recommended commission split structures. If the thought of partnering with another agent and splitting your commission with them makes you cringe, just know that many times you can have an IMO as one of your “partners” where a commission split may not apply. For instance, multiple times a week I am brought into the “three-way calls” with the agent and client via Zoom to discuss the concepts, ideas, and minute details that the agent may not have known. Because it is merely a Zoom call, there are no “splits” involved and is actually the best use of my time. If there are better uses of an IMO’s time than helping consumers with financial security while simultaneously helping agents make a great living, I would like to know what that is! The broad acceptance of Zoom calls is one of the few positives that COVID has brought about. I never would have thought that the average 65-year-old client would be fine with logging onto a Zoom call, but we are there.
But is the above scenario suboptimal? Would it be more optimal if you knew everything (annuities, life, long term care) so you did not have to get a third-party “expert” involved? I don’t believe so! There is power in discussing with your clients that you are a specialist in certain areas and have a “team” of other specialists that help you with the other product areas. Afterall, this is how one of the most credible clinics in the world operates, the Mayo Clinic.
If you are providing your clients with the convenience of Walmart but expertise like the Mayo Clinic, I promise you that you will make a lot of money. It is just a matter of finding the right partners and also the courage to broach the conversations in those areas that may be foreign to you. For my P&C agency that I started this column with, it took a lot of courage to start conversations about annuities, but he did, and now he is making a significant amount of revenue from annuities. And his clients view me as a part of his “team,” as I am.
Once you jump into these other product areas and get a couple of sales under your belt, your business will start to take on a life of its own. You will become more familiar with the sales concepts and product details via the best way possible–through observing an expert communicate the story to your clients. It may not be as exciting as observing the people at Walmart, but it is certainly more profitable.