Note: This blog is written by Michael Spears. * Spears bookkeeping and Financial consulting INC. does not compensate Michael for his blog, but is happy to refer to Michael for further financial solutions. This blog is the personal story of Michael Spears, and it is based on his personal observations.
My top 3 Life Lesson for business based on my personal experience
Over the past 10 years I have worked for an international Life Insurance company and an independent local Agency I have experienced some basic differences between the two opportunities which relate to principles in business that I want to promote to you. The life lessons are principles that you can relate to your business.
Years ago I spend my time as an independent contractor licensed by the Alberta Insurance Council and representing Primerica Life Insurance. Now I am an independent contractor representing the National Best Financial solutions agency, a Calgary based independent agency and sponsored by Foresters Life Insurance company. The experience that I have now with the agency is something that I want to share with you.
Disclaimer: this is not a blog designed to put down a particular company. The statements made will actually apply to many companies of the same category. However this is my personal observation from my personal experience, so please consider the principles discussed and consider how this applies to you. The statements that I make in this blog are my personal observations of the company, the product and the presentations.
Respect the Customer
by providing choices
Customers like to have the opportunity to choose from various options for their particular purchase. To allow the customer to choose gives the person power of making the choice and it gives the person respect as you expect them to make the right choice for themselves. If your business has only one option, they you need to be able to present that option as the only right solution verses the other bad options from other companies, this puts the salesman in a position of total control over the client, as the client must be taught that the salesman is right and all others are wrong. While we can all have a personal opinion of being right for ourselves, it is not a good business position to be claiming only one option. I have been taught in a previous retail sales job that the company always offers three similar products, so that a customer can choose between the Good, Better and Best options. This allows the customer the comfort level to choose what is appropriate for them based on quality, price and personal choice.
When I was a representative of Primerica Life, I only had the Primerica Life Term insurance to offer to the client. The choice was a Term policy for 10 years, for 20 years or for 30 years. So I could not offer my client a legitimate choice of product, and I simply had to tell the customer that Term was the only right choice for them. The only choice was the length of the policy, which related to the age of the children for the income replacement protection or the length of the mortgage to protect against debt. It was simply a “One size fits all” perspective.
Now that I am a representative with National Best Financial Solutions, I am an independent agent and I am able to offer the customer complete choice of types of products and a choice of companies to offer the product from. This is a perspective that everyone is unique, and has their own financial goals that need financial protection customized to their own time frame and values.
It is my responsibility to fully disclose with the client the positive and negative factors of each type of product, and the appropriate target market that it applies too, it is the clients privilege to choose the best option for themselves. This provides the client the respect of making their own educated choice.
Respect the Agent
and compensate responsibly
When a person chooses a career the options of Principles and Payment affect the decision. Some people will base their decision only on personal principles and in the extreme example they will be a missionary serving people in places where there is no compensation possible for them. This is honorable, they will be emotionally and spiritually blessed and yet will need to establish some volunteer financial support in order to prepare for their retirement and independence. There are others who see a career differently and they seek after the highest paying position doing a task that they enjoy regardless of whether it may sacrifice their personal principles. It is always the best when both of these decision making factors are united in choosing the best career. It is ideal when you are working your passion, living in your principles, expressing your personality and getting paid well for it.
When I was representing Primerica Life insurance, I attended the weekly training meetings and I received regular coaching on the principles of Primerica. I do agree that the principles are correct for the target market that was being focused on. The Principle of “Buy Term and invest the Difference” is very good and is it appropriate for the model client and IF the client follows through with all of the “Invest the difference” goals. However based on my experience of speaking with many prospective customers, I learned that some people are directly asking for other options. Also there are other target markets with other needs to consider and a list of other reasons for insurance besides the primary protection needs. While the original plan is ideal, I have also observed that there are many clients who do not follow through with the long term plan to invest and save for the future expenses, so a basic permanent insurance policy is many times a necessary option that is asked for too late.
Regarding personal compensation, I experienced a lack of payment options that I came to learn other companies offered. So I questioned the limits of the Primerica Perspective and payment system to the agents.
When I was introduced to the National Best Financial Solutions agency in Calgary, I was made aware of a better system. It is better for many reasons such as the following:
- An agent with National Best is an independent contractor and is encouraged to contract with many different insurance and investment companies.
- A Primerica Life insurance rep can only represent Primerica.
- Trail fees are paid on the investments that the agent is responsible for
- Primerica paid Trail fees to the Branch Managers (RVP) but not the independent agents. (Not me)
- Trail fees are paid on the Life insurance that the agent is responsible for
- Primerica paid Trail fees to the Branch manager (RVP) but not the independent agents (Not me)
- An agent with National Best owns the Life insurance policy that they sell
- Primerica Life insurance owned the policy.
- The business system and opportunity to advance is similar to the Primerica system.
- Yet a serious limitation with Primerica is that they require that the sales goals are achieved on a monthly basis.
- National best allows the sales goals required for advancement are accumulative without any monthly reset of the goal.
- The National Best Financial Solutions option allows the agent to develop a specialty service which other agents can refer to and then share the commission.
- Primerica Life only paid the agent and their trainer for the insurance sale.
- The National Best Financial Solutions allows the agent a full selection of financial services, such as Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Health Trusts, Travel Health Insurance, Critical Incident Insurance and Long Term care insurance, and allows the agent to choose which product provider to contract with.
- Primerica Life Insurance only offered Life Insurance. (Note this was my experience and observation at the time of when I was a Primerica rep.)
- Both Primerica and National Best focus on educating the customer about options.
- Primerica has strong principle which affects their teaching, such that they teaching is very limited.
- National Best focuses on a full financial assessment and full disclosure on the options so that the client makes an educated choice, and makes the Best choice for themselves.
Therefore based on these different options, I am able to focus on my passion, live in my principles and get paid well for doing the work with National Best financial solutions.
Respect the relationship
and give more Value
Besides all of the free education provided to the client, advertising, promotions and key marketing catch words, one of the most important factors in business success is to recognize that, People will remember how you made them feel.
If you say that you did a good job and yet the person feels that they were not respected and you ripped them off, then you will not have any repeat business and you will not get any referrals.