As a Life Insurance advisor, my mission is to show up with a cheque when my clients, their families, and their businesses need it most. But sadly, when I have come to accomplish that mission, it’s at an unfortunate time: when death or illness have struck.
Because of the deep client relationships that I foster, however, it became blatantly obvious and extremely important for me that I wanted to do much more for my clients.
Yes, showing up with the cheque is my promise, and it’s the ultimate service that I can provide in my professional capacity. But on a day-to-day basis, what I try and do for my clients goes way above and beyond the confines of a Life Insurance policy and its payouts.
I only work with a select few clients every year, and so I’m able to nurture each relationship with time and care. Here are a few key ways that I ensure I’ve got their backs:
- 360 degrees of help: I extend my network and expertise to help them beyond Life Insurance
My clients fall under one of two categories: business owners or high-income executives. They’re both very busy people, either managing their businesses, careers or carving out quality time for their families when they’re not tied up.
Both of these clients have a lot of financial and insurance-related aspects that they just don’t have the time to look into like for a business owner, say a liability insurance policy, or a group medical insurance plan.
My focus is life insurance and these aren’t things I do, but I do know my clients need help with them. I also know that my advice and recommendations here make my clients feel a little more at ease – I would always have taken the time to establish that trust.
So, what I constantly do is invite other professionals that I trust and that I’ve dealt with in the past into a meeting with clients where I’ve identified a need. It’s really important to me that these professionals have great values, and are great at what they do.
Also, when I say 360 degrees, I really mean it. In addition to all the financial advice-related support, I even encourage my clients to lead healthier lives, hit the gym with me, and go on runs with me – it helps me feel a sense of accomplishment because I’m helping my clients lead healthier, happier lives. Which in turn brings their Life Insurance premiums down, so win-win, really!
- I always sit on the client’s side of the table
No matter who I’m bringing into the equation, I’m always sitting on the client’s side of the table.
If my client has forgotten to ask a couple of questions or has doubts which he’s not going to bring up to the surface, I ensure that I ask those questions and clear those doubts. The idea is to ensure that the clients’ interests are protected.
My loyalty lies with my client and protecting his or her interest, family, and/or business and I’m ensuring that I do that constantly.
- I’m honest, even if it means I have to play the whistleblower
Finances are always a touchy subject – whether business or personal. Clients put a lot of trust in their advisors when they open (their financial books) up to them.
I cannot begin to stress how important it is for a Financial Advisor of any kind to be open, honest and integral, in return. Sometimes, this means explaining to your clients that their finances are in a pickle. Sometimes, it means whistleblowing to call out wrongdoing or mishandling of their money.
On that note, here’s a rather memorable case I worked on a few years ago:
A client needed life insurance to secure financing from the banks. The products that were sold to him were basically products that roughly cost him about 2.5 to 3% per annum, as the cost of insurance.
The client was able to secure funding at 6% per annum, but if you add the 2.5% on top of that, it would take his cost of borrowing up to 8.5%. My client had left the decision of how that money would be managed and how to secure the financing to his CFO.
After reviewing all the documentation that was laid out in front of me, I came to the conclusion that there were only two reasons why the CFO would have agreed to that proposition:
Either he was a really bad CFO because he took the borrowing cost from 6% to 8.5%, or he had a hidden motive, like a commission on the side.
What We Worked Out
We quickly crunched some numbers, and it was very apparent to us that it was the second of the two things. We worked out that it would cost my client less than .26% to have that insurance policy in place, to be able to secure financing.
I needed to have a difficult conversation with my client then. I needed to play whistleblower, tell the client exactly what I thought about the CFO and what was going on.
And regardless of whether he decided to transact with me or not, I could not leave the room without telling him exactly what I thought of the work that was possibly going on.
What resulted from the whole exercise was that my client fired his CFO after confronting him. He went on to bring some new talent on board, which really worked out well for the business.
The new CFO managed the entire proposition (which was 60 million dollars of life insurance cover) at a cost that was insignificant compared to what was being shelled out earlier. It brought down the borrowing cost of the business tremendously.
What I’m trying to say here is that client servicing in the Life Insurance business is much more than the niceties, the way I see it at least. It goes beyond just making sure that your product or service is working smoothly. It goes beyond ensuring investments are performing. It takes a deeper level of care and attention to provide outstanding service.
As a client, you should expect nothing less from your Advisor, and as an Advisor, you should really be striving to go above and beyond. Take it from someone that picks valuable lessons year on year from the industry’s best at the MDRT conferences.
I have to say though, that providing this kind of from-the-heart service gets a lot easier when your clients are the right fit for you and you genuinely like them.