When I got into the Life Insurance business in 1999, I was lucky to get connected to a phenomenal Life Insurance Advisor who soon became my mentor.
Maurice Serrao, at that point, had already been in the industry for 20 years and had settled hundreds of claims.
I was fortunate enough to be taken under his wing just when I was getting started. He taught me the ropes of the business and taught me the importance of being a good advisor – someone who puts their clients needs first, and their own after.
He pointed out my mistakes and spent a lot of time helping me see them and learn from them. At the time he was, and still is, the Regional Sales Manager of a firm called Alliance Insurance – a 34-year run for him to date.
He had about four branches and over 75 advisors reporting into him and yet, he always made the time for a sit-down or a chat on the phone with me to ask me how work was coming along, talk about my challenges and my achievements.
I was just a 21-year-old starting out in the business back then. My motivations were financial – freedom of time and money, really, rather than being in the business to really, genuinely be of service to my clients.
But the years I spent under Maurice’s mentorship taught me the need to be not just a good Life Insurance advisor but a great one.
He taught me why I had to put my clients first, taught me how to deliver impeccable service and be that person that shows up with a check when my clients and their families needed it most.
A few years later, I met another mentor, who gave me a whole new perspective. He was an Advisor who did some really, really big numbers. He probably dealt with policies that were seven or eight times larger than my dealings.
With him, I learned to scale up and start working with a whole different clientele. Quite different from Maurice, this mentor was more of a financial mentor to me.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve had a lot more mentors that I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow under. They’ve all been invaluable to me in different ways. Since Maurice though, I’ve hardly gone through a phase in my career where I haven’t had a mentor.
Some of these mentors are virtual mentors, some I get to see in person. Some are in the Life Insurance industry and some completely removed – they do very different things but have still taught me an immense amount. All of them have shaped me, with their knowledge, expertise, and wisdom, to be the person and the professional that I am today.
Today, with the new breed of young Advisors that are entering the market, it’s easy for me (or us, rather) to sit back and point fingers at what they’re doing wrong, and how things have ‘changed.’
It’s easy to forget that all of us started somewhere, and made mistakes and overlooked things and lacked perspective in some way or the other. It’s easy to point fingers without really taking any action, or changing what I know, or an experienced advisor would know, is the wrong way to do something.
So when, a couple of years ago, I came across a few competent junior Advisors, I decided it was my turn to give back. All of the Advisors that I mentor have one common quality: they put their clients’ interests first, and their own after. They’re all guided by strong moral and ethical compasses.
Today I continue to work a lot of these young Advisors and help them to break their existing barriers and scale up.
What do I get out of it?
Working with my mentees helps me to reflect
It takes me back to why I became an advisor in the first place and reminds me of all the shifts, influences and strategic changes that have brought me where I am today. It helps me reconnect with my reasons for being a great advisor rather than settling with just ‘good.’
It’s like a revision session
Taking my mentees through all the Life Insurance basics, the tools and tactics that I’ve learned and gathered over the years is a great refresher.
It allows me to do a better job with my clients because I’m able to bring back some of those powerful basics that I’ve forgotten, or have gotten buried under all the new information over the years.
Mentoring up and coming talents in your field is a great way to pay forward all the support you had on your way up. It’s rewarding, and allows you to reflect and grow as a professional as you nurture others.
To all my mentors: thank you for guiding me. To all my mentees: I hope I can be for you what my mentors have been for me.