Which way to success - Latest product or motivating ideas?

With all of the changes that insurance companies have been making to their products since mid-March of this very unusual year, an observer might think this business is in turmoil because our products appear to be in constant flux.  But even in the best of times, it sure seems like insurance company actuaries and product development teams are constantly tweaking and modifying and creating – essentially trying to come up with that special product that will give their advisors that edge over the next company’s latest and greatest.

But in my experience, the smartest life insurance pros understand that, when it comes right down to it, product is not the most important part of getting a person’s attention and ultimately getting that person properly insured.  Instead of focusing on the latest product with the loudest and flashiest bells and whistles, the smart advisors and marketers focus on ideas.

By focusing on ideas instead of products, you’ll be putting yourself in a much stronger position in several ways:

  • Your prospect will understand that he or she has a significant problem in leaving the lives of loved ones unprotected either by dying too soon or living too long and running out of money.  After your prospect clearly understands the very real idea that he or she has a major problem, you can help solve it.
  • Your prospect will understand that the solution you are going to present is not really an investment like other investments with which he or she may be familiar, and so shouldn’t be measured in typical investment terms.  Instead, it’s a solution like no other, and it should be measured on how well it solves the problem and eliminates the need.
  • Your business owner prospect will understand that unless well thought-out plans are implemented, his or her spouse, heirs, and business partners may be saddled with some substantial problems after he or she leaves the business.  These well thought-out plans, which include the use of financial products, of course, are what will help your prospect understand the issues his or her family and partners face and how those risks can be eliminated.
  • You’ll get your prospect’s attention with ideas regarding those things – and people – in life that are important to your prospect.  Ideas that help your prospect think about and ultimately feel the importance of ensuring his family’s lifestyle, the importance of sending her children to college, and the importance of helping a spouse stay in a home no matter what happens are all ideas that will drive a prospect to protect the people they love.  They will feel fine about the products that you use to help ensure that all of those protections are in place.  In fact, they may even feel good about them.  But it won’t be the products that get them excited or motivated; it will be the ideas you provide that get them thinking.

This may never have occurred to you, but after many years in this business, it sure has occurred to me.  The life insurance business is uniquely blessed in the number of top-tier people who are willing to share their successful ideas with others in this business.  The insurance industry if filled with successful people who are ready and willing to share ideas through books, magazine articles, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, industry organizations, mentoring relationships, conferences both virtual and face-to-face, and on and on and on.  I encourage you, no matter how many years you’ve been in the business, to take advantage of the vast wealth of sound, practical ideas that other successful advisors are willing to share.  And I encourage you to share your own ideas in the same way.

Finally, don’t neglect the latest product developments.  Good knowledge of and access to the latest products is certainly an important part of being a pro.  Just don’t expect the latest new product to sell itself.

Chuck Hirsch, CLU, is the former editor and publisher of Life Insurance Selling magazine. He continues to contribute to insurance industry publications, in addition to providing consulting and marketing services through his firm, Hirsch Communications Consulting, LLC. He can be reached at [email protected].