In the past, before I got to the point of discussing a client’s specific life insurance needs, I would have to sit down with him for an hour to an hour-and-a-half to do a financial MRI. But I was able to eliminate this extra step over a year ago, after I heard NAIFA CEO David Woods speak at a conference that NAIFA-Pennsylvania held. He mentioned a financial calculator on LIFE’s website that clients could use well before meeting with an advisor to determine their financial needs themselves.
I went to the website, saw the calculator and thought it was phenomenal. The fact that it’s on a nonprofit’s website makes it a perfect tool because it’s so noninvasive. People aren’t looking at a product, company or specific agent—they’re looking at numbers that are valid because they’ve been generated by an impartial third party. If the same calculator were on my website, people would think that I’m selling something.
Now, before I ever meet with prospects, I ask them to visit www.life-line.org, plug in the numbers, print out the report and fax it to my office. I also send a follow-up letter restating my instructions. About 70 percent of people, including a lot of seniors, actually follow through.
From a compliance standpoint, when someone gives you a printout like that, it simplifies the process because by the time you meet, you’re really an order taker at that point. That’s good for you and the client.
There’s an old saying: If you’re known for the products you sell, and not for the problems you solve, you’ve got an issue with your clients. Having clients use the calculator takes the sales aspect out of a meeting. Now, when you talk about various products, you won’t be perceived as selling something, but rather as a problem solver intent on fulfilling your client’s stated needs.
Joel Goodhart, LUTCF, CLU, is a partner at BIRE Financial Services in Willow Grove, Penn. He is a Leadership in Life Institute graduate and chair of NAIFA’s National Membership Committee.