The sales and marketing landscape has changed. Have you?
While many agents and advisors have been “selling remotely” for some years, COVID-19 has driven the importance of being effective in “selling remotely” up a notch.
Now, we have to learn to create better, more meaningful relationships or turn over a portion of our sales and money under management to transactional apps. COVID-19 has forced advisors and clients to participate in, if not to prefer, digital engagement instead of face-to-face meetings.
Tips for success
Video meetings break down walls between work life and family life. This greater level of transparency and personalization will have long-term implications for client perceptions of needed protections, preferred lifestyles, and the role of the agent/advisor.
Some, if not most of your clients, may express an interest in continuing to meet “virtually.” As a result, it is best to perfect your on-line presence now. Consider if a high-resolution web camera mounted on the top of your computer monitor (as opposed to a built-in laptop webcam) is preferable.
We know a large part of the message communicated and perceived by clients comes from body language and tone. That is why call center associates are trained to smile—even your attitude comes across on the phone. It is difficult to appear professional if you look as if you are sitting in a dark hole because of improper background lighting. Consider using apps that allow you to use one of their backdrops, such as a professional library, or you may want to create your own.
The angle of the camera is also very important. You don’t want your audience distracted by an unnatural viewing angle, such as looking underneath your chin or at the top of your head as you read notes. Have you been on a webinar where the screen froze or buffered, or the volume was so low that you could not hear anything?
Personalized, relevant connections will become the differentiator between technology-driven solutions and advisor driven solutions. Advisors and agents who understand and embrace effective electronic client communication, as well as top-level CRM systems, will lead the way.
From the simple to the complex, a CRM tool is your non-verbal personal assistant. This tool speaks directly to you about your most important asset---your client. Chose a system that makes you both responsive and proactive.
COVID-19 highlighted the fact that a serious illness can now come as a part of life. It is not just as an aging or a longevity issue (although there is that too!). Historically, it has been challenging for our clients to recognize the extended or long-term-care “need” and to seek a compelling “solution.” Due to the pandemic and ensuing publicity surrounding nursing home, hospital, and facility-care issues, all generations have been painfully educated. Now is the time for action!
Grow your business by addressing a top-of-mind client concern--access and affordability to good extended or long-term-care insurance and services. Everyone wants to avoid being in a facility when care is needed, and they want to be able to stay at home or age in place. Without dedicated funding, remaining at home is often not possible. Moreover, the caregiving chores may fall on family members. This puts your client, as a caregiver, in a role that they may not want, or they may not be able to handle. Since this is an issue that spans generations, you may have to include family members in the planning. Don’t let your client be the one to question why this topic never came up. After all, you are your client’s agent/advisor.
NAIFA’s LECP Center
What if you are not comfortable in discussing extended or long-term care? Now is an ideal time get to know a specialist.
NAIFA’s CEO, Kevin Mayeux, CAE, envisions an extended and LTC Center of Excellence, which would provide a resource, available to both NAIFA members and non-members, highlighting current trends, information, education, products, services, and planning tools.
The NAIFA Limited and Extended Care Planning Center (LECP) will grow into a “community” of trusted advisor and agent relationships. Using a variety of communication methods, non-specialists will be able to call upon a knowledgeable extended or LTC specialist. Together, they will better serve the client’s planning needs.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made several one-time allowances to make care more affordable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rules for Medicare, Medicaid billing, and payments were relaxed. What happens when the immediate crisis passes? Will you have discussed extended or LTC funding needs with your clients?
Since many generations have been touched by the issue, will you grow your business while truly offering good generational advice to your clients and their families? The word “planning” is in the name Limited and Extended Care Planning for good reason.
What about the right resources? At NAIFA, we have created the right “community” of resources to provide answers and ideas for individual and worksite clients as they tackle the issues they see highlighted in the news.
Open to all agents, the NAIFA Limited and Extended Care Planning Center is ready to help you step up your game. Visit https://lecp.naifa.org/ and learn how to become an effective generational advisor/agent by working with specialists who complete--not compete with--your book of business.
Carroll S. Golden, CLU, ChFC, LTCP, CASL, FLMI, CLTC, LACP, is the Executive Director of the NAIFA Limited and Extended Care Planning Center (LECP). Working with the LECP Founding Sponsors, Golden and NAIFA have put together the LECP Center to rethink extended and long-term care. Contact Golden at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.