Can I Google My Planning?
Google has become an indispensable part of modern life. Any question that comes up during your day you can simply take out your phone and have the answer in seconds. It is truly a remarkable achievement that has fundamentally altered modern life.
Which raises a question - with this sort of power available at our fingertips for free, why would anyone need to work with a life insurance advisor? The vast amount of information on the internet plus Google's algorithm should be able to solve all my life insurance needs, right?
While I understand the thought, it is not quite that simple. Technology is great at filling the technical part, but it misses out on the practical element that only another human can provide. This is especially true when it comes to the provision of services. One way to think about it is when you need a plumber. Sure, you can go online to see who is nearby and has good reviews. However, is that the same as talking to your neighbor and hearing about their actual in-real-life experience when they had a similar issue?
Here is another analogy that I feel helps to illuminate my point - the hotel concierge.
What does a concierge do?
Concierges have long been a part of a hotel experience and traditionally have been used by guests as a way to help secure reservations and recommend activities. With the advent of Google, you would think that their job would be obsolete. All you need to do is type on "restaurants near me" in the search bar and off you go!
This would be too narrow a view of the value that a modern concierge can offer. Google can't talk to you to get to know your likes and dislikes and whatever mood you might be in that moment. And taking the idea a step further, a concierge can go beyond your initial question to make additional suggestions based off your conversation.
In essence, the concierge is there to act as the point person who can learn what you hope to achieve from a vacation, work with other professionals to make that a reality, and then make changes on the fly to deal with any changes that arise.
What does that have to do with life insurance sales?
A successful insurance broker is a lot like the modern hotel concierge – someone who is truly multi-disciplined and can act as the point person at the center of a planning process. First, they need to learn about the client, their family, their business, their goals and their objectives. With that information, they can now use their industry-specific expertise and professional experience to begin the planning process.
However, simply knowing the latest life insurance products from the various carriers is not enough. In addition to life insurance knowledge, they need to understand tax law and estate planning while also having the ability to deal with family dynamics (and grasp how those dynamics can affect planning).
This does not mean the insurance person has to be an expert in all these fields. Rather, they need to have a working knowledge of each, and then have relationships with other professionals who are focused in that area. They can then weave their knowledge of life insurance products into this process, ensuring that the product and planning are both elastic enough to fit into situations that can be rather dynamic.
In the end, much like the hotel concierge, a successful broker will have learned about the client, worked with other professionals to create a plan, and then ensure that the plan is flexible enough to deal with any issues that might arise. Google cannot do that!
Since entering this business as an associate at my father’s insurance practice, my approach to client service has been different than what many clients experience with other advisors. Rather than meeting arbitrary sales quotas, I focus on how I can serve clients – whether that includes a life insurance sale or not. I would not feel comfortable going about it any other way.
I form alliances with my clients’ financial and legal advisors who take the same approach – one of high professionalism, analytical decision making, and humble questioning. I also collaborate with trust companies and family offices. Together we align our clients’ insurance programs with their estate and business planning which often includes pre-nuptial and divorce settlements, business agreements and philanthropic objectives. As an independent insurance professional, I am free to choose the best insurance solution for my client and am not bound to any one particular company. This gives me the flexibility to find the right product to fit a client’s unique situation. If you would like to talk about your planning, please reach out to me.