August 26, 2008

Learning The Language Of Investment Advisors

I said, do you speak-a my language?
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich.
--- Men At Work,
Down Under

How do you get investment-oriented advisors interested in life insurance? This is a great question if you're an insurance specialist. A 15 month experiment gave an answer.

An organization wanted to help their investment advisors incorporate life insurance into their business processes. Intrigued, I volunteered to help them for free.

Getting Started
I started with group meetings, showing how life insurance was used according industry research. Most strategies are simple, solid and change little over the years. This meant a small learning curve. I showed sample compensation for different ages, face amounts and deposits. I figured compensation would drive interest.

Next, I privately met interested advisors to understand their unique goals and concerns. Then I tailored confidential, individual strategies. Finally, I started visiting regularly, generally once or twice a week. I even got a nice large office with a nice view.

Long Lineups
I figured advisors would line up outside my door, clamoring for advice. Wrong! Advisors did visit --- then again, I was on the route to the espresso machine. This didn't lead to sales, though. I quickly learned that even volunteers need to actively market their services. I turned to blogging as a low key way to stay in touch.

Even so, cases were relatively small and infrequent. What could I do? I didn't want to play Solitaire.

One Day
During construction for expansion, the boardroom table was moved to an open area near my office. One day, the table was packed for a presentation about an esoteric investment product. I observed the investment advisors undetected. I heard numerous questions. I saw enthusiasm. The advisors were animated and captivated. Why?

The Spark
A different language is a different vision of life. --- Federico Fellini
I instantly realized that we spoke different languages. They spoke investoid and I spoke insuranch. While life insurance allows tax-sheltered growth, investment advisors

  • don't like the limited investment choices
  • don't like investment dollars going "off book" into life insurance

I knew the solution. Investment advisors have clients who are active investors, comfortable with financial leveraging and looking for tax deductions. That's what "10-8" leveraging by squeezing more benefits from the client's existing investment dollars.

Investment advisors get three three important benefits:

  1. continuing to make the investment decisions
  2. assets stay "on book"
  3. revenue increases

This appealing combination grew sales to record levels. The experiment ended in success.


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