Rejection may be just a part of prospecting and life insurance sales, but it also can be the very incentive to push you into finding new strategies that work for you – or your cue to go in a completely different direction, advisors have been told.Speaking at the Canada Sales Congress in Toronto, Rohini Kapoor, a B.C.-based financial advisor, said rejection in the insurance business – and in many other ways of life – is inevitable, but it can also be the very motivation required to get you back on track to have the life you always wanted.
“It’s not the rejection of others that cripples us, it’s when we reject what we know to be true inside ourselves, our instinct, our true selves,” said Kapoor.
Kapoor, who opened up and gave a heartfelt look at her own personal struggle with rejection, then provided a presentation on how advisors can overcome rejection and obstacles in their businesses.
First, she said, is to create a step-by-step process that works for you as an advisor and your business to achieve an end goal by creating an image of who you want to be in your life. You may have to adapt as time goes on and if necessary, change the goals you have and create new ones.
Find a coach and a mentor who understand that life is a challenge, said Kapoor, and then learn how to network the correct way. “When you have been rejected so many times you tend to build a wall around you so that you can reject potential clients because you are so afraid of being rejected by them.”
Above all, said Kapoor, never ever use the word “try”. “The minute you say ‘try’ you open yourself to failure. You do not try; you either do or you don’t; either you will or you won’t; if you can’t, you must. This clarifies and makes transparent the steps to your future.”
It’s not the rejection of others that cripples us, it’s when we reject what we know to be true inside ourselves, our instinct, our true selves.
– Rohini Kapoor
Ted Wernham found himself broke 18 years ago and changed his life to become a qualifying and life member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT).
“Every one of us has had to start over again at some time,” he told fellow advisors. “Your life will follow your thoughts. The outcome will depend on the decisions we face.”
After being turned down by prospects, it’s easy to quit or become bitter, he said. But Wernham noted that he personally had to rebrand to achieve his level of success.
He suggested that advisors focus on process, not products, when talking with prospects. “When I meet with an individual, I can tell them within an hour how much they are going to receive every single year of retirement. I can tell them whether or not they will have their money disappear before they do and I can tell them what the value of their estate will be.”
The best way to convince clients that retirement income is more important than retirement assets is to give them a monthly figure of how much income they will receive in retirement rather than one lump sum, he said.
Unique target market
Being able to carve out a unique target market helped Shenglin Xian set himself apart from others.
Emigrating from China to Canada, Xian became a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant, and created as his target market fellow Chinese living in Toronto and Vancouver. Many had no idea of what insurance did or could do for them, so it was up to Xian to educate them about insurance and his prospects’ financial health.
With this prospecting strategy in mind, he took courses and earned his designations and made himself referable, focusing on his own business rather than how well others were doing.
Now a Top of the Table member of the MDRT, Xian credits service and expertise with helping him reach his goals.
“You must believe your knowledge is above your peers,” he said. “Your knowledge is the right solution, the right prescription.”
Robert Crowder, founder and president of the Benefits Trust, a third-party employee benefits administration company, selected corporate insurance group products – and only those – as his target products.
Crowder said there are 50,000 businesses in his group insurance target market and even if he only gets 20% of that number, he starts off with 10,000 prospects.
Getting that all-important first appointment can be the most difficult for some advisors. But Crowder suggested advisors have a number of options, whether it’s through networking, blogging, being active in the community, charity work or having parties. Limit how you describe what you can do for a prospect in one pithy sentence that will immediately grab their attention. Then ask for a quick 10-minute meeting. Once you secure it, know what to say and what to ask by making the discussion all about them and their future.
Herb Braley, founder and president of Braley Winton Financial Group, has grown his business to a team of more than 30 financial advisors and employees with three goals in mind: service excellence for clients, succession plans for staff and meeting obligations to suppliers.
Three key questions
Braley said financial advisors also have an obligation to themselves to deal with three questions before they decide to buy a book of business or before making a major decision.
The first question is whether the company you are thinking of buying is a good deal, not only for yourself but for the seller. Also determine whether there are any problems in the business and whether you have the resources, both human and financial, to bring the transaction to a successful conclusion.
If the answers to those questions are positive, then Braley applies his rule of 2-22: “It will take me twice as long as I thought, cost me twice as much as I thought and I’ll make half as much as I thought. Now, can I do the transaction?”
Like many of her colleagues, Aviva Huberman takes a holistic approach to financial planning. Huberman, a financial advisor with Sun Life, often picks up a paper and pen and begins outlining to clients the two big financial assets of their lives – insurance and investments – and how they will affect their futures. “Pick a starting approach and go from there,” she told the CSC meeting in May. “We hit the ground running, so we don’t just hit the ground.”
But unlike many other advisors, Huberman has the great bulk of her meetings downtown in her office between 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday, although she can stretch appointments to 8pm. “Why wouldn’t they come to see me at my time, at my office? Aren’t we, as insurance and financial advisors, one of the most important people in their lives – if not the most important?” she asked. “If they are willing to come in and see me, they are halfway to signing me up.”
When they do come, she asks them “a whole bunch of uncomfortable questions, really uncomfortable questions” such as whether they have life, disability and critical insurance plans. Often they will tell her that they are part of a group insurance plan and initially believe there are sufficient funds in that plan to look after their family if something untoward should happen to them. When she prods further, most see that they don’t have enough without going into their retirement or savings plans.
Mike Kidney, a certified financial planner from Paradise, Nfld., also has a list of questions to ask but uses a needs-analysis tool that prospects answer themselves. Once they’ve gone through the list they realize for themselves where they are protected and what is lacking.
“It’s hard to say no to yourself,” said Kidney. “[The tool is] a great way to create the need and once you’ve created the need you just have to sign the client.”
Kidney said many other professionals don’t understand what financial advisors do and he must educate them. In turn, advisors should be proud of their profession and the work they do for their clients. However, he said advisors don’t know everything and shouldn’t be too proud to consult with others either in, or outside, the industry.
Above all, said Kidney, always hand deliver the benefits cheque. The first time an advisor delivers a life insurance cheque may be difficult, he noted, but it’s only then that you realize the deeper meaning of life insurance.
“It’s more than financial planning. It’s making sure people continue beyond if something should happen.”