Have you ever failed to return a customer call because you were busy with a sales proposal? Do you spend more time planning a new sales seminar than on holding client appreciation events? Does bringing on a new client excite you more than hearing from a long-term client? If so, you’ve fallen prey to the fallacy that an advisor’s most important job is selling.
The financial-services trade press is full of stories about life and health insurance agents and investment advisors who failed to say no. Case in point: John Paul Slawinski, who in 2014 went to jail for nine years and was ordered to pay $3.4 million in restitution. According to the California Department of Insurance, his crime was stealing from senior citizens by convincing them to swap their existing annuities for “better deals.”
Providing investment advice for a fee is a highly regulated enterprise. Many regulations address what information advisors must provide to prospects and clients, what specific claims can and can’t be made, and what terminology is allowed or not. Despite these stringent prohibitions, advisors by the thousands say and write things they shouldn’t, and many pay the price when they get caught and face sanctions and other penalties.
The property-casualty insurance business is sales-driven. You know that, of course. But the challenge is to keep the sales machine humming, react effectively to unforeseen events, and work well with prospects and clients, who may not always be the nicest of people. To this end, PropertyCasualty360.com earlier this year published an article entitled, Better Selling: 10 Tips from Prospecting to Closing. Here are some of the key takeaways for your consideration, along with a bonus ethics pointer from EOforLess.com.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA have been raising the bar on senior investor safety, conducting several initiatives since 2007. Now comes a report entitled National Senior Investor Initiative: A Coordinated of Examinations. If you are involved in serving the senior marketplace, you may want to review it.
If an advisor defrauds a client, and the advisor’s managing general agent (MGA) had been tipped off that the advisor had a criminal record and serious allegations of fraud levied against him yet did not act on those allegations, can that MGA be held liable for damages resulting from the advisor’s actions?
It’s a familiar refrain, but always doing the right thing by the client is not only the ethical thing to do—it can also end up paying some surprisingly big dividends down the road.
Don’t get us wrong . . . we love great sales ideas and techniques. But they may encourage financial professionals to view sales as something you do TO prospects, not WITH them, in order to spark fear, unblock objections, or fire up a buying impulse. However, launching sales techniques or salvos at prospects leaves them feeling . . . well, sold. And today’s consumers, especially Millenials, hate that feeling.
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