If anyone can handle the challenges 2020 has thrown at us, it’s the members of MDRT.
From time to time, we like to check in with the MDRT Podcast and see how top producers are evolving to meet their clients’ needs. During the pandemic, these producers have found new ways to market, connect with clients, and shape where our industry is headed once we get back to some form of normal. Here are some quotes from recent episodes to shed some light on the opportunities we all have moving forward. All the quotes below came from these episodes:
- Easily overlooked improvements that have happened during tough times
- Developing new ideas for customized service and digital marketing
- Is it necessary to scare clients about income replacement?
- Becoming a resource to clients and staff when circumstances change
- Significant ways I’m adapting to a new normal
Here are some highlights, anecdotes, and tips we think you’ll find helpful.
- John P. Enright: “We have a handful of new clients that have come to us through [social media]. What we’ve done is transitioned our first meeting from being in person, where I give them a folder full of information I present to them. It’s now 100% in PowerPoint, and we also Federal Express them the content that’s in the folder I typically deliver in the first meeting, so they have it in advance of the meeting.”
- Sarah Helen Hogan, ACII: “We were using a PowerPoint when the client came in...It was relatively easy to get that onto Zoom and send everything via email and a zip folder before the meeting. So I’ll send all the compliance documents and things like that. Some of the stuff we would go through at the beginning of the first meeting – compliance documents and data protection and things like that – we’re looking at putting that into a video that we’d send as well, before that meeting. So it’s purely about the client in that first meeting as opposed to having to get all that out of the way in the beginning.”
- Catherine Chee Keng Lian, MBA, FChFP: “I had to be very active on social media...I always posted my travel photos on Facebook. Now, I have to change and post my presentation, a professional image with a 1-2 minute video clip into Facebook. I give it to the prospects referred by my customers because I do not know my prospects well. So if I can give them a 1-2 minute video clip about myself, the trust will be there...I’m preparing now so that I can draw more customers and more prospects to my business. I used to do this on a face-to-face basis, but now, it has to be virtual since everything is going online. I have to adapt to the changes.”
- Leena Parwani, MBA, Cert CII: “Out of my hobby, I started doing my YouTube videos and those YouTube videos were just to educate people, just to let people know basic information and get access to smaller clients. I specialize in the business-owner segment, so I don’t see a lot of smaller clients coming in...but I realized I have some decent time available to help people out on a video channel. So I just started the YouTube channel out of my passion just to give out information...it really went pretty viral. At first, I thought I’ll just do a little bit of that. I eventually ended up doing almost 40 videos, so every single week there is a video going out with complete consistency. A lot of insurance companies whose products we weren’t talking about, those came in. Unexpectedly, clients calling in. So these YouTube videos rank pretty well and I thought this is really working well for me. It is also kind of positioning yourself as an industry expert.”
I’m preparing now so that I can draw more customers and more prospects to my business. I used to do this on a face-to-face basis, but now, it has to be virtual since everything is going online. I have to adapt to the changes.
- Dana Mitchell, CLU, CFP: On the sales conversation: “So if you’ve got X amount coming in each month, and if that X amount stops coming in, I ask, ‘How long are you okay with that? How long can you live without running into a major problem...and where would you go to get the money?’ Draw their attention to it in a focused way without really scaring them. Just bring their attention to what would happen. We sit there, and I say, ‘Okay, you don’t need disability insurance, no problem. So you need X amount per month – show me where you’re going to get it. And we sit there with their net worth statement and say, ‘Okay, you’re going to take it out of your retirement vehicle. Okay, how long would that last...and then how are you going to retire?’ Having a real discussion looking at actual numbers is easier than telling scary stories.”
- Brandon Green, ChFC, CLU: “As an advisor, I think we have a responsibility to be bold, to ask clients direct questions to get them thinking so we can truly consult them. And asking questions that cause them to think and imagine ‘What would I do?’ are much more effective in my opinion. I think it’s perfectly appropriate to be bold and just call them out a little bit. A question I love to use is, ‘When you had that conversation with your spouse, how did it go?’ Oftentimes, there hasn’t been a discussion. That creates a conversation between me and client that wouldn’t have happened without that question.”
- Everett Revere Foxx: “One of the questions I can remember asking my first few years, after painting the picture, and what it would look like, and in most cases it would look gloomy, and I’d say, ‘Do you care enough to change that?’ I thought that was a bit abrupt and direct, so I softened the language a little bit and I ask them, ‘How does that make you feel? After painting this picture, we all agree that this is what it would look like: how does that make you feel?’ And I’m getting a better response now...based on their body language and facial expression, I can say that it’s a warmer approach. In most cases they say, ‘I don’t feel too good about that.’ And then we take it a step further: ‘Is this something you want to address today?’ And in most cases, they say, ‘Yeah, let’s take a look at it today.’ ”
- Steven Genoff, CFP: “I think it’s too soft to just ask them the question if they have enough insurance in place. A lot of people think having $100,000 of life insurance is enough for their family. A lot of people will look at a sum of money like that and think they’ve hit the jackpot. But what they’re not looking at is the long-term implications. And they’re not understanding that we’re not talking about one lost year of income. We’re talking about potentially 30, 40, or 50 years of lost income. And they’re probably not getting their heads around that in the first instance. Asking ‘Do you have insurance?’ or ‘Do you have appropriate levels of insurance?’ – people will just say yes or no to that and they won’t want to go any further.”
- Brad J. Myers: “Our clients look to us as their advisor, whether it’s a life insurance advisor or their financial advisor. There are a lot of products we can offer them and 90% of them they never use – they’ll use the 10% they know about. But if we can let them know about that other 90%, it’s going to make you more referable. Just being a resource there that they can call and say, ‘Hey, do you happen to know about this?’ ‘I do – let me share what I know and how I can help you.’ ”
Having a real discussion looking at actual numbers is easier than telling scary stories.
Staying in Touch with Clients
- Catherine Chee Keng Lian, MBA, FChFP: “I prepared a video of my presentation, my charitable events, and also our outing events and the countries I travel to. All this video, I send it to my clients for them to see and I follow up with a phone call. They will be very curious to know about the school that I built – why do I want to build a school? From there, we have a talking point so it’s easier to have a trustworthy relationship.”
- Lam Pui Ka: “I’ve done a series of webinars, but not really focusing on insurance…What you want is to draw attention from your prospects, which is [easier to do with] non-insurance advice so create certain topics which are interesting. Maybe the first week is about marriage. Maybe the second is about helping children doing virtual learning. Create attraction from the audience, then slowly move to the insurance topics. For one topic, it’s about how you teach children to do virtual learning. For the second, it will be how to use insurance as part of education planning...the webinar works pretty well because nowadays, everyone is staying home. I think I did 20 webinars in 3-4 months during the pandemic. It’s not just me doing the sharing – I invite specialists on the matter…I invited 1-2 people, so 3 of us are sharing information...Most advisors don’t do it – in Malaysia, not many advisors are doing webinars. They don’t really feel comfortable talking to the screen…at first I didn’t feel comfortable talking to the screen. But this is the new normal. You have to get used to it. If I’m not visible to them, I feel they might forget me because I’m not seeing them physically. So I have to make sure I do something to have me appear in their lives.”
- John P. Enright: “In how to differentiate yourself, I think remaining true and consistent in the work that you do for your clients does separate you in times like this because so many people in our industry go dark, go completely quiet, completely disappear in times like this. I’ve got to tell you that we’ve had our most successful year ever to date so far. Not only in new assets, but also in revenue. We’re up about 11% over last year, which was actually our best year ever...it’s been absolutely incredible and all I can say is I believe that has 100% to do with being even more active in times like this, when most are less active.”
I think remaining true and consistent in the work that you do for your clients does separate you in times like this because so many people in our industry go dark, go completely quiet, completely disappear in times like this.
How Will Our Industry Change?
- Sarah Helen Hogan, ACII: “Something that a client actually said to me…is that clients are getting Zoom doom. I didn’t even realize that was a thing, but apparently we’re all a bit Zoomed out…but sometimes people have then gone to the opposite extreme and said, ‘Let’s do a Zoom, let’s do a Teams meeting,’ and sometimes it can be done on a phone call. We’re still trying to find our footing. I think some of the onboarding – some of the simpler stuff – will be done in video format that we can send out and then just have a call with them to see whether they agree…I’m an early bird; I can work at 6 am and have things done before the girls even get up. Now, obviously I can’t be calling clients on Zoom at 6 o’clock in the morning, but if I can be doing stuff on a video that I send them, that frees up a lot of time for me. I think there will be things like that that will change in terms of onboarding.”
- Lam Pui Ka: “Activity is everything in our industry. The more you people you meet, the more opportunity you create and you open more doors. You don’t know which activity will lead you to another level. Do something new, even if you feel uncomfortable doing it. If you want to grow, you have to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable.”
If you want to grow, you have to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
That’s what we found most helpful in recent episodes of the MDRT Podcast!
Which of these tips or strategies resonate with you? Share your favorite tidbits in the comments!