As the 1/1 business draws to a close, I cannot help but recognize the differences in the advisor market. Some appear to sail through the season with confidence, success and plenty of time to enjoy the fall season. Others look, talk and behave as if they are preparing to defend a capital murder trial. Why the difference? From my perspective, it comes down to preparation.
The advisors we see delivering clear value have been communicating with their customers throughout the year. Not one time, 60 days before the renewal effective date. These year-round communications with customers are focused on the data available, what the data is indicating and what the customers’ expectations should be well before the effective date. Strategies to address negative trends and highlights of positive outcomes are discussed with plenty of time to take action. Questions from the customer are received early and addressed in detail, long before the stress and time constraints of an impending renewal effective date.
Advisors delivering value provide proposal and presentation documents that are prepared and refined throughout the year with details that match up with their customers’ expectations. Clear, concise and consistent are hallmarks of their presentation materials. They make sure there are no surprises. Their customers never leave the presentation without a complete understanding of their costs and why the funding actions are taking place.
For the unprepared advisor, their customers, as well as the advisor, leave the presentation with more questions than answers. This should never happen; and it never does for the well-prepared advisor.
Preparation is the key differentiator, and it should not come as a surprise in today’s market. “Consultative sales” and “valuable team member” are the buzzwords of insurance sales consultants. Consultative sales obviously requires repeated and consistent interaction with the customer. Consulting doesn’t work with a once a year visit. Consulting occurs over and over throughout the year. An advisor delivering value will lead the customer towards their objectives with discussions focused on solutions and ideas.
Why don’t all advisors manage their businesses with preparation throughout the year? Seems like a good idea when you consider the lapse rate of the unprepared advisors, compared to those that consult all year. This question is one we at Roundstone ask ourselves frequently. While we cannot always understand why some advisors continue to work under a fire drill strategy when attempting to grow or renew business, we do know for sure that we are blessed to work with many well-prepared advisors. It certainly has been exciting to see the prepared advisors grow their business this year. We at Roundstone are glad to be a part of it.