Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mr. Client, I'm The Best There Is.

I sell Life Insurance.  But I’m different than everyone else, because I’m the best there is at it.  

I am not the best at product knowledge.  I am probably in the top 5% there, but that’s not a big deal.  I can call around or use the computer and hunt down the info I need.  I am independent, so I have all the best carriers to use.  

I am not the best at underwriting.  Again, I am in the top 5% of all agents in that category.  Also, I know where to go when I need assistance, so unless there is a bribe involved, I cannot be beaten by another agent with a better medical offer.  

I don’t sell the most life insurance.  I am in the top 5% of producers, but this isn’t really a good measure of skill.  Many of the top producers have been caught using unscrupulous sales methods.  Some are master marketers.  Some work 100 hours a week.  I don’t like to work too much.  I want to enjoy my life.  I am not very well organized.  I don’t have a fancy office.  I do not drive a new car.  And I don’t sign my name with a Mont Blanc pen.

I am the best because I can perfectly figure out what the client needs and sell it to him or her.  I do not sell too much or the wrong thing or add superfluous policy riders.  [Thomas Aquinas said: "If a thing can be done adequately by means of one, it is superfluous to do it by means of several; for we observe that nature does not employ two instruments if one suffices."]
I know this sounds simple, but simple and easy are not the same thing.  I have put a lot of time into this in order to be the best.  But, that time isn’t the only reason.

Let’s say there is an agent whose skillset is similar to mine and that agent sits across the table from a client similar to mine.  The likelihood that the result will be the same is nearly none.  It is likely that the other agent will think too much about his own interests to do as good of a job as possible.  Think about it like this.  Would you expect to go buy a car and get the best possible deal without any haggling?  Would you even expect to get the best deal if you do haggle?  No.  And you don’t even fault the salesman because you know this person gets paid on commission and the more profit there is from the sale, the more they make.  Most of the time, you’re happy when you buy the car, even if you figure you could have gotten it for cheaper.  Otherwise, you would have left the car on the lot.  In the same manner, the other agent is likely to sell you something that is good but not the best.  Here is possibly the number one example of why most good agents cannot be the best:

  • Product A costs the client $5,000 per year and pays the agent a 90% commission.
    • $4,500 to the agent
  • Product B costs the client $5,100 per year and pays the agent a 95% commission.
    • $4,845 to the agent

All things being equal, I sell product A and the other agent sells product B.  Hell, you might even side with the other agent on this one.  I mean, it’s only 2% more expensive and the agent gets to bring home an extra $345.  

But what if Product B is 5% or 10% more expensive?  What if Product B is 30% more expensive and is poorly designed for your needs?  I would say that on average, this last example is the most likely to be the Product B that gets sold to you.

There are plenty of other examples out there on why the other agent doesn’t sell the right thing, like Annualized Commissions, Incentive Trips, Commission Bonuses, and the like.  I have given up more trips to Hawaii than I care to count because I do not place enough business with the same company.  Other agents would steer their last few clients to the company for the 10% bonus or vacation trip if they are close to earning it.

Here is the problem.  If an agent can be swayed at all, even if it only costs the client 2% more, then that agent will always cross his own line in the sand for the right amount of money.  I’ve even heard a few of these agents try to justify it.  To me it comes across like a little kid telling a lie to protect another lie.

I’m the best because I have no line to approach.  I just do the right thing every time.  It is just easier that way and it is the right thing to do for my client.  

Now given all this information above, I must tell you that I still have to call clients and prospects in order to get in front of them and find out what they need and then sell it to them.  If I didn’t, I would be out of business and could no longer be the best there is.  I always strive to do what I say I’m going to do.  This is important to me.  I do not overpromise on what I can accomplish because this helps no one.  

From time to time, I have prospects and clients who do not do what I ask of them.  I am not just talking about buying something from me either.  I am talking about taking smart steps to improve their financial picture.  If I am given the right information, we can usually work it out.  Other times we cannot.  I realize that people do not always make the proper decisions for themselves and their loved ones.  I like to help everyone, not just the good decision makers.  So this does bother me a little.
I am not the only person in the world who operates my business in this way.  I happen to know a few more who are also “The best there is.”  When you meet with one of these people, you will know.  The interaction will have a whole different feel.  You will not feel pressured, you will feel liberated or educated.  If you are asked to buy something, it will seem like you wished you had done it sooner.  You will leave the meeting happier than when you got there.  You might even feel compelled to take the guy or gal out for a beer.  And if it’s me you’re working with, I’ll accept your invitation.