The Internet is creating a new sales environment that demands you, as a financial professional, have an online presence. In the past, selling financial and insurance products relied on making a great first impression with potential clients and building relationships. You focused on meeting new clients through referrals and cultivating a strong reputation within your community and industry.
The need for a strong reputation remains, but the beginning of the client-advisor relationship has moved from the office to the Internet. Technology, the Internet and even social media are now major players in your potential clients’ financial planning processes, and you can leverage this shift.
It’s time to shake up the sales landscape
Mark Hug, executive vice president of products and marketing for Prudential Individual Life Insurance, spoke at LIMRA’s annual distribution conference last year and said professionals need to “disrupt” the life insurance industry. Hug pointed to the importance of technology, including the Internet, smart devices and big data, as signs that it was time to adapt to new ways of marketing and selling life insurance products, according to Hearsay Social.
Be visible online
Continuing his discussion of the importance of the Internet for the future of life insurance, Hug encouraged insurance professionals to be “findable” online. It’s probably been years since one of your potential clients looked for an advisor in the phone book. Whether it’s through a website or social media, clients need to be able to connect with you over the Internet.
Allow for online transactions
While meeting face to face with your client can help build a solid and lasting working relationship, it isn’t always the surest way to promote life insurance these days, agreed Doug French, a managing principal of the Insurance and Actuarial Advisory Services of Ernst & Young LLP, who LifeHealthPro interviewed. The Internet has become a place for potential clients to not only find a financial professional, but to also gain knowledge regarding financial and insurance products. Therefore, it’s crucial you have the information they need available online.
The next step is to not only make information available over the Internet, but also your services. The modern consumer wants to be able to conduct an entire transaction, such as purchasing life insurance, online. This means you need to invest in the technology that allows you to automate your underwriting process, issue policies and provide customer support throughout the transaction, according to French.
The benefits of online transactions
As a financial professional, you may be wary of taking a step back from building personal connections with your clients. However, one of the main benefits of Internet-based transactions is that you’re able to reach a broader range of clients. Previously, geography may have barred you from connecting with potential clients, but the Internet is boundless. It’s also more efficient. Busy potential clients will appreciate not having to schedule in-person meetings to receive the products and services they want.
It’s not only your job to encourage your clients to consider their futures and the need for life insurance, but it’s also your responsibility to put the products and services they need within their reach. Updating your sales process to include online transactions is a strong way to reach more clients and ensure they invest in the products that best protect their futures.