By BRIAN GREENBERG
Advanced technology constantly at our fingertips makes it easier for consumers to purchase life insurance electronically, meaning more people than ever are connected to the broader financial advising industry. In an era when consumers expect and desire technological help, advisors and brokers must embrace new advancements or risk being left behind.
However, this should not be looked at as a threat to our industry. In fact, eighty percent of Americans prefer working with human advisors to alternatives like robo-advisors, according to a recent MDRT survey. Still, changes to advisor-client relationships mean we all need to find a new balance of digital and human interaction, especially as clients raise their expectations of our technological knowledge. Work with new digital tools and find that balance, and you will better address clients’ needs and maximize your overall efficiency.
Be Easy To Find
I often compare buying life insurance to seeing a doctor. When you get sick, you may search for your symptoms online and try to narrow down the possible diagnoses, and may even begin treating yourself. Still, you probably see a doctor anyway, to receive the most accurate evaluation and ensure your self-diagnosis is correct with a second opinion. Similarly, most potential clients will research life insurance and run quotes online, and then speak with an advisor before they make a purchase.
This is our opportunity to create an easy transition from online research to advisor outreach. One of the best ways is to make your practice easy to find online is search engine optimization, or SEO. Include popular industry keywords on your website, create content that is valuable to potential clients and avoid SEO firms that employ spam tactics because Google penalizes this. You can gain more visibility and credibility by encouraging your clients to review you on Google and Yelp.
Establish an easy user experience and put key information consumers need to make a decision upfront, like services you offer, associated fees, certifications and client testimonials. The fewer questions a potential client has to ask an advisor after visiting their website, the more advisors can focus on relationship building and finding the best solutions for clients. Finally, facilitate the actual online-to-person transition by providing phone numbers and live chat options in addition to the typical email address.
Keep In Contact
Online tools can be used to benefit relationships with your current clients, too. Automated text messages sent with programs like Textedly or EZTexting work well for appointment reminders and follow-ups on unfinished paperwork or applications. Advisors can share announcements about new products or changes to their practice with email newsletters which can be targeted by level of interest. These newsletters can be sent automatically with tools like MailChimp or HubSpot or can be more personalized and non-automated to send clients notes on their birthdays, anniversaries and relevant holidays.
The key to effective communication via emails and text messages is to avoid sending too many, and “too many” is a number that will differ among clients. Keep emails and texts opt-in only so clients who aren’t interested don’t receive them. To avoid over-communication, send newsletters about once per month, so they don’t get marked as spam. Unsubscribing options should be as painless as possible to ensure your clients want the information you’re sharing with them. Add a quick access unsubscribe link at the bottom of each email which directs them to a “thank you” page.
A new way to reach younger clients is serving as a human consultant through a robo-advisor app partnership. These positions can be lucrative, with commission rates well over one percent, and can be a powerful tool to reach young adults who lack the funds to meet human advisors’ minimum requirements.
As the technological options available to advisors continue to grow, so do our clients’ expectations that we will use them. Luckily, these options offer advisors the same convenience and marketing benefits valued by consumers. By integrating technology into your practice, you will be able to better help your clients while boosting your own bottom line.
Brian J. Greenberg is the founder and president of True Blue Life Insurance, and has been an MDRT member for seven years. In addition to his life insurance agency, Brian has also founded businesses in e-commerce and marketing. He has generated over 50 million in revenue from his businesses and collected over 10,000 reviews and testimonials from customers. Brian lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.