September 8, 2015 by Travis Redfern
As a modern-day professional, you’ve probably grown dependent on mobile devices and online resources to run your business.
From responding to client inquiries to managing your company social media accounts, your daily business activities have become more and more dependent on technology. In fact, 25 percent of surveyed independent insurance agents nationwide expect to begin using tablets during sales presentations with their clients.1
As consumers become accustomed to technology touching every aspect of their lives, they will begin to expect it when working with their financial professionals. It is important you embrace technology to work more efficiently and increase client satisfaction.
A key way to leverage technology in your practice is to move away from traditional paper applications, and begin submitting annuity business online.
Online annuity applications provide you with the most-up-to-date forms, accuracy checkpoints and saved information from past applications. Because of accuracy checkpoints, online applications issue an average of three days faster than traditional paper appilcations.2 Plus, certain systems allow you to complete applications with e-signatures on mobile devices, giving you the flexibility to take a sale from start to finish in a client’s home.
If you’re interested in using e-applications with your clients, Brokers International’s WriteNow portal allows you to submit annuity business online. The new tool is designed to help you simplify and speed up the process of writing annuity business with multiple carriers.
For more information on WriteNow, click here.
1 “Independent Agents Drawn to Tablet Applications.” Insurance Journal News. 21 July 2014. Web. 20 Aug. 2015. <http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/features/2014/07/21/334704.htm>.
2 Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America internal sales statistic.
September 1, 2015 by Mike Jorgensen
To kick off Life Insurance Awareness Month, here are some tips on how to move your clients and prospects from simply being aware of life insurance to owning it.
Most Americans are already aware of the need for life insurance, in fact, almost nine in ten Americans view life insurance as a necessity. Yet, out of those surveyed, only six out of ten said they owned some sort of life insurance.1
So why aren’t people buying the life insurance they feel they need?
Competing financial priorities and overestimating the cost are two factors. But according to LIMRA the primary reason people do not buy life insurance is simple—indecision.1 People don’t know how much life insurance they need or what kind to buy—so they procrastinate.
To start optimizing your sales potential, click here to download our new guide, Five steps to support the life insurance sale. Using this guide, you’ll find a straight-forward sales path that can help you raise the life insurance question with your clients, ease their indecision over how and when to purchase and advance them to purchase.
1 “Insure Your Love.” LIMRA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan 2015. <http://www.limra.com/uploadedFiles/limracom/About/Insure-Your-Love -2013.pdf>.
August 20, 2015 by Mike Jorgensen
Although it was created in the 1980s as a means to provide estate liquidity and to help pay federal estate taxes, a survivorship life insurance policy still remains a valuable tool for clients and their spouses to utilize in their financial strategy.
Because a survivorship policy insures two lives, it can provide advantages in the areas of cost, qualifying and estate protection that a single-insured life insurance policy cannot.
Here’s a breakdown of these advantages:
Cost: Survivorship life premium is based on the joint life expectancy of two insured lives, which typically makes it less expensive. This is because the insurance company owes nothing until both of the insured die, thus the period to payout a benefit is longer and the premium less.
Qualifying: Since both policyholders must pass before the death benefit can be paid, a survivorship policy is easier to secure because insurance companies are less concerned about the individual health of each applicant. Often, companies are even willing to write a policy if one of the insured is deemed “uninsurable” by industry standards.
Estate transfer: Estate tax planning is still one of the biggest reasons for clients to consider a survivorship policy. In addition to ensuring that beneficiaries receive a minimum amount of money, a survivorship policy can help transfer larger estates to heirs. Since the unlimited marital deduction allows assets to pass tax-free to a widow or widower, a survivorship policy postpones the benefit payout until the second spouse dies, providing needed cash to settle the now due estate taxes.
Estate equalization: A survivorship policy can also benefit clients who have a family business that they wish to pass to select beneficiaries without disinheriting those outside of the business. To see this concept in action, click here to download our case study on using a survivorship policy to create an equal inheritance for beneficiaries.
For more ways to meet your clients’ individual needs with life solutions, be sure to check out our upcoming Life Lessons webinars and archived recorded programs here.
August 18, 2015 by John Brickhouse
Adding advisory services to your practice can enable you to provide a holistic approach to help meet the needs of your clients.
In order to become an IAR, you generally must have at least a Series 65 license. Once approved as an IAR, you are able to provide services available through the Registered Investment Adviser to your clients which may include financial planning, hourly consulting, and/or portfolio management services; and be compensated for the services you offer.
By becoming an IAR, you can also:
1) Reduce your risk. The Arkansas and Iowa insurance divisions have already ruled that insurance professionals who talk to their clients about securities products could be in violation of state securities rules and therefore subject to fines. This includes the recommendation to sell securities to fund insurance products. Industry experts expect other states to adopt the same rules in the future.
2) Become a more well-rounded resource for your clients. Clients are becoming more informed and want to work with financial professionals that are able to look at their entire financial picture. Becoming an IAR can assist you with providing these services and the ability to offer solutions that incorporate all of your client’s assets.
3) Generate a recurring revenue stream. Assets under management are a continuous revenue compared to other products that pay you a onetime upfront commission. Having a continuous revenue stream can help normalize your income.
4) Build a retirement strategy. Take a look inward and ask yourself if you’ve properly prepared for your own retirement. Will you be able to sell your business when it’s time to retire? Having a fee-based practice may make it more attractive to buyers when you’re ready to sell compared to a commission-only practice.
For more information about becoming an IAR, please contact Brokers Financial at 877.886.1939.
August 11, 2015 by Ryan Kennedy
In a previous post, we covered a step-by-step timeline for planning and marketing a successful seminar. In this post, we’ll dig deeper into how you should follow up with your seminar attendees after your event has ended.
Your seminar follow up begins at the conclusion of your seminar presentation. Here you’ll need to provide attendees with a clear action to take. First, have your attendees complete an information request form, questionnaire or seminar evaluation. No matter which format you choose, be sure to list your available services so they can indicate topics of interest. In addition, provide your attendees with a take-away. For example, you could provide a supplemental financial worksheet. Let your attendees know they can contact you to review the results and that you’ll help address any financial gaps.
If you have your attendees fill out an information request form or questionnaire, be sure to personally call these leads within one to five days of your seminar. Speak with attendees about their topics of interest. This is also a great opportunity to discuss the results of the financial worksheet you provided as a take-away.
During the same one to five day timeframe, you can also email attendees and seminar no-shows. If your prospect attended the meeting, send them a quick thank you email and ask them to set up an appointment to review the financial worksheet. If your prospect did not attend, send them an email with dates for your next workshop or let them know you’d love to meet one-on-one to review the workshop content. In the follow-up emails, attach a summary of your notes, presentation slides or supporting documents that were used during your seminar. At the end of your message include a call-to-action for recipients to schedule an appointment.
For a more personal touch, consider mailing handwritten “thank you” notes to attendees in addition to the follow-up email.
Seven to ten days after your seminar continue to drip on attendees with another follow-up email campaign that includes additional resources or handouts related to your seminar’s topic.
In this second follow-up email, tell attendees you have discovered related materials you’d like to share with them. You can then invite your recipients to call and discuss the material or to schedule time with you at your office.
For additional resources that can help with seminar follow up, click here. You’ll find ready-to-use seminar packages that include all the necessary engagement and follow-up campaign pieces to turn prospects into clients.
August 4, 2015 by Ryan Kennedy
Over the course of our video marketing series, you’ve received content ideas, production tips and resources you can use to commit your message to video. In the final installment of our series, you’ll learn about inexpensive video distribution tools and marketing tactics you can use to share your video message.
If you take the time to craft a video, you don’t want to relegate it to just one distribution channel. Since many viewers watch videos at different times and places, your best strategy is to use multiple outlets to reach your intended audience. Before choosing the most effective channel, you’ll need to decide where your intended audience falls within your sales funnel.
For example, if your video is meant to introduce your business, then your video might be best suited for your website’s homepage. In fact, along with making an engaging first impression, it’s been reported that 90 percent of web users find video on a business’ web page helpful in the decision-making process.1
For more tips like these, we’ve compiled some of our best video distribution techniques into a video marketing guide. Using this guide, you can begin to identify the video distribution channels your prospects are watching and find out how to integrate video into your existing marketing channels.
Tap into the sales potential of video marketing by downloading our guide here.
1 “50 Must Know Stats About Video & Animation Marketing.” Insivia. Web. 6 January 2015 http://www.insivia.com/50-must-know-stats-about-video-animation-marketing-2013/
July 21, 2015 by Tim Cooper
If you have been following along with the Maintenance Stage blog series, you have learned about the profile, concerns, wants and ongoing needs of clients and prospects who are living in retirement. Rather than keeping this information to yourself, you should use what you’ve learned to reach out to clients in an informed manner.
But before you start marketing your services to clients in the Maintenance Stage, make sure you review the information and resources in the previous three Maintenance Stage blogs:
- Introducing the Retirement Stages consumer engagement suite
- Profiling clients in the Maintenance Stage of retirement
- Key concerns during the final stage of retirement
- Talking points during the Maintenance Stage
Once you understand the client profile, steps and resources available in the Maintenance Stage of retirement, it’s time to use this information with your clients. With effective communication and marketing, you will be able to show clients what you have to offer and ideally grow your business.
The first step is to go through your existing client database and categorize clients who fit the Maintenance Stage profile. Once you have your database segmented, you can specifically target your emails, social media, calls or direct mail to fit clients in the Maintenance Stage.
Here are a few ideas you can use to effectively reach existing and potential clients in this stage:
- Send a letter to clients inviting them to set up an annual review meeting. During a review meeting you can meet face-to-face to see if your clients’ retirement needs are being met and address any concerns.
- Use social media to provide information on long-term care. Consider sharing the average cost of nursing home care in your area, statistics on increasing lifespans or the “Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey.” Click here for more ideas.
- Call clients in the Maintenance Stage to see if they are happy with their retirement lifestyle. If not, offer to go through the Needs Assessment Worksheet with them to see how their budget might be impacting their lifestyle.
These are just suggested concepts to consider, as always, you can dig deeper or be more specific in what you communicate to your clients.
Ready to start using Retirement Stages engagement materials to generate new leads and re-engage existing clients? Visit our virtual storefront, The Compass, to find the complete marketing suite.
To get the most out of the Retirement Stages suite, be sure to go back and review our blog series on the Preparation Stage and Transition Stage. The information included in this series will help you better relate and reach out to clients, ideally helping you improve your client relationships.
July 16, 2015 by Ryan Kennedy
If you’ve been following along with our series about creating online videos you may have some ideas for content and presentation, but might be at a loss for how to translate those ideas to video.
With today’s consumer technology and intuitive online resources, creating your own video is entirely possible. For those with a do-it-yourself attitude and the time to research and get familiar with different video options, we’ve put together a list of production tools that are easy to access, affordable and user-friendly.
Despite the proliferation of smartphone cameras, a dedicated 1080p HD camcorder can still offer better image quality (in both normal and low lighting), smoother zoom options and image stabilization while moving. Depending on your budget and commitment to producing your own videos, you can find a range of consumer-grade and professional HD camcorders starting around $200.
Don’t shy away from using your smartphone or tablet camera either. Most new smartphones and tablets have the ability to shoot HD in 1080p. You can also purchase a host of tri-pod attachments and external microphones for better image stabilization and audio.
You can utilize an external or built-in webcam on your computer, tablet or smartphone for recording webinars, online interviews and video emails for distribution. GoToWebinar, Instant Teleseminar and Camtasia can get you started on creating webinar recordings. You can record a webcam interview through sites such as Oovoo and applications available for Skype and Google Hangouts as well. Sites like iWowWe and MailVu also allow you to use your webcam to record a video message directly into an email.
Rather than relying on your camera or computer’s internal microphone to capture your video’s audio, consider investing in a lavalier microphone that attaches to your clothing for speaking on-camera. There are also a variety of microphones available that plug directly into a smartphone for enhanced audio recording. For recording webinars and presentation slide voiceovers you can purchase an external USB microphone that plugs directly into your desktop computer.
Take One: On-demand agent video service
If you would like to start implementing video practices into your own marketing, but still feel overwhelmed by the technical challenges involved with shooting a video, Brokers International can offer additional support through Take One, our new on-demand agent video service.
Take One is a comprehensive video production service that can provide you with a professional agent commercial at no cost to you. For more details on how this program can help you give today’s prospect the type of media content they crave, please click here or call Brokers International at 800.362.1097.
July 9, 2015 by Mike Jorgensen
When it comes to retirement planning, individuals today face many obstacles.
The future availability of Social Security, market volatility, fewer employer pension plans and uncertainty over future income tax rates are among the challenges your clients face.
Savings accounts, CDs, annuities and IRAs can offer a host of financial strategies to overcome some of these challenges, but to add additional diversification to your clients’ strategy you can also consider a life insurance policy to help fund their retirement.
A life insurance policy can help protect your clients during their working years, provide tax-free income during retirement and also potentially provide additional living benefits for illness, disability and long-term care.
To supplement retirement income, your client should select the life insurance policy that suits their objective(s). If funded appropriately, your client can take tax-free income when needed through loans from the policy’s cash value. Additionally, named beneficiaries receive a tax-free death benefit upon the passing of the policyholder.
To better understand how supplementing retirement income with life insurance can benefit a specific client profile, click here to download our case study.
For more ways to meet your clients’ individual needs with life solutions, be sure to also check out our upcoming Life Lessons webinars and archived recorded programs here.