Get in the groove: poised to become president and chief executive officer of John Hancock Life Insurance Co., James M. Benson has co-written a book aimed at helping financial-services sales representatives succeed.Key Points
* About 90% of financial services The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. salespeople will leave the industry in their first five years.
* Many who fail do so because they are looking in the wrong place for sales.
* The average face amount for Manulife in 2003 was $1.395 million, whereas the average face amount for the industry in 1970 was under $20,000.
Learn to sing opera. Take a candlelit can·dle·lit
Illuminated by candles: a candlelit ceremony. bath. Spend a day with critically ill people. Go for a run.
Any of those activities can help lift an insurance agent out of a sales slump, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. James M. Benson.
Slated to become president and chief executive officer of John Hancock Life Insurance Co. on Nov. 30, Benson said a slump is "primarily a problem of self image. It's got nothing to do with sales." That's especially true with insurance agents who have the difficult task of selling intangible, nondemand products.
"Essentially, what we are selling is ourselves. We can't do anything unless we sell ourselves. For people to trust you, you need to be in the right frame of mind. You get there by feeling good about yourself. When you do any number of things--go for a long run, for instance--it's a positive jolt to your system. It allows you to come back relaxed and nonstressed. The less you think about sales, the easier it is to get out of a sales slump," he said. "This pertains to slumps in anything. When a baseball player is in a slump, he should do something to try to remember how it was to be in that groove. The only difference between a groove and a rut is your attitude about it."
Benson and Paul Karasik, president of the Business Institute, a sales and management training and consulting company Noun 1. consulting company - a firm of experts providing professional advice to an organization for a fee
business firm, firm, house - the members of a business organization that owns or operates one or more establishments; "he worked for a , have co-written a book, 22 Keys to Sales Success: How to Make it Big in Financial Services. In addition to the 22 keys to sales success, the book includes 65 creative ways to end a sales slump--something all salespeople face at some point in their career, Benson said.
Benson may have a corner office today, but he knows first-hand how difficult it can be to sell life insurance to strangers. Early in his career, Benson worked as an agent and in his second year was the second leading producer in the Pacific Mutual agency system. He has served in senior positions at GenAmerica Financial, New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. Financial, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., and the Equitable Life Equitable Life may refer to:
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. . Benson recently sat down with Best's Review to talk about the joys, the woes and the art of selling life insurance.
What do you think of the National Association of Securities Dealers' proposed rules for the sales of variable annuities Variable annuities
Investment contracts whose issuer pays a periodic amount linked to the investment performance of an underlying portfolio. ?
I don't think a lot of additional regulation is necessary for the sale of variable annuities. The biggest area of concern with this issue has to do with the lack of suitability of investment choices in a variable annuity Variable Annuity
An insurance contract in which, at the end of the accumulation stage, the insurance company guarantees a minimum payment. The remaining income payments can vary depending on the performance of the managed portfolio. or whether a variable annuity is needed at all. The NASD NASD
See: National Association of Securities Dealers
See National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD). could require documentation on suitability at the time of purchase, perhaps a single page outlining why the product is appropriate at the time it is sold. That would prevent revisionist history Revisionist history carries both positive and negative connotations. Each has its own entry.
The people who are going to do things wrong will do so regardless of the NASD. People who are going to do things right should not be stressed by overbearing regulations. I'm totally in favor of prudent, appropriate and documented sales practices, but not necessarily overwhelmingly rigorous requirements for salespeople in this line of business.
The NASD rules that were developed for securities people are almost punitive for insurance people. The sales cycle for insurers is weeks or months, not hours or minutes. If anything, there needs to be a bifurcated bi·fur·cate
v. bi·fur·cat·ed, bi·fur·cat·ing, bi·fur·cates
To divide into two parts or branches.
To separate into two parts or branches; fork.
adj. set of rules: strong regulation for both, but different.
What separates a successful insurance salesperson from one of the 90% doomed to leave the industry in their first five years?
The dropout (1) On magnetic media, a bit that has lost its strength due to a surface defect or recording malfunction. If the bit is in an audio or video file, it might be detected by the error correction circuitry and either corrected or not, but if not, it is often not noticed by the human rate is relatively high in all sales business. If you went to IBM (International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY, www.ibm.com) The world's largest computer company. IBM's product lines include the S/390 mainframes (zSeries), AS/400 midrange business systems (iSeries), RS/6000 workstations and servers (pSeries), Intel-based servers (xSeries) and looked at 100 new sales representatives and five years later counted up how many are still with IBM selling its products and services, I'm guessing the survival rate wouldn't be much over 20% or 25%. The same holds true for other tangible products. I don't think that 90% of sales reps leave the insurance business and 90% stay in other businesses.
What separates people who stay from those who don't is primarily their ability to get in front of qualified people on a regular basis. One of the real problems I see is relying on cold calling.
The industry has changed a lot. [Insurers] today bring people into the business with a specific product line and link them to a mentor. Instead of making 100 cold calls, people new to the business make calls with more experienced professionals and in that way learn about the business of insurance-based financial planning Financial planning
Evaluating the investing and financing options available to a firm. Planning includes attempting to make optimal decisions, projecting the consequences of these decisions for the firm in the form of a financial plan, and then comparing future performance against . They are doing real work and are working with people who want the service and advice they are offering, instead of talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to people they don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. and who don't necessarily want to know them. We're seeing survival rates among insurance agents actually going up. But the key is getting new agents in front of qualified people who have at least a glimmer of interest in what the financial adviser is prepared to discuss.
Has the industry dropped the ball in selling traditional life insurance in favor of stock-related products?
When I first started in the industry in 1968, there were two types of insurance: whole life and term life. Customers either bought a little whole life, a lot of whole life, or term. Over the last several years, the Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time insurance industry has expanded the number of offerings from traditional whole life and term life to include universal life, and variable universal life, plus annuities. There's a wide range of products that people can buy based on their needs. The industry has done a good job of having much broader offerings. And if you look at the environment in 2004 compared to what it was in 1970, there are far better buying opportunities and the costs of life insurance have come down.
While the number of policies sold per year is down substantially from 30 years ago, the face amount of individual life insurance is up substantially. We've become an industry that targets the upper income, upper age, sophisticated buyer. For example, the average face amount for Manulife in 2003 was $1.395 million, whereas the average face amount for the industry in 1970 was under $20,000. The business has really changed in terms of the types of needs insurance products satisfy.
Do you need a particular personality type to be a successful financial-services adviser/salesperson?
I actually think anyone can succeed at insurance sales. I don't think it's personality, driven. A lot of people in the industry were trained as lawyers, accountants--professionals that have very little to do with selling--and are quite successful. If you line up 100 successful representatives, 75 would be extroverted ex·tro·vert·ed also ex·tra·vert·ed
Marked by interest in and behavior directed toward others or the environment as opposed to or to the exclusion of self; gregarious or outgoing: and 25 would be introverted in·tro·vert·ed
Marked by interest in or preoccupation with oneself or one's own thoughts as opposed to others or the environment. . It has more to do with persistence and willingness to make a long-term commitment, than what your personality might be. Whoever you are, if you are persistent and resilient, if you are willing to work hard and learn, this business can be and financially intellectually rewarding.
Successful financial advisers define themselves by who their top clients are and how they solve their problems. There are no professional buyers of insurance, so there has to be a fair amount of stick-to-itiveness.
When one of your competitors asked its clients what considerations
lead them to buy specific financial products, the top response was the advice of the producer, followed by the producer's trustworthiness. Would you agree with those findings? And, if so, how can a salesperson earn someone's trust?
I do agree with the findings. Life insurance sales are not solely price sensitive. The average insurance buyer considers a mix of factors. The financial strength of an insurer, its service reputation, the quality of a producer's advice all come into play--as long as people decide they're getting a good arrangement. And they decide they're getting a good arrangement if they trust the seller.
This sounds simple, but the way to earn someone's trust is to be trustworthy. You start by understanding their needs, that is, their liabilities--hard liabilities, soft liabilities, contingent liabilities. You know everything there is to fund those liabilities: taxable mutual funds, annuities, tax deferred, tax-free assets, insurance. You earn people's trust by talking to them about what they want to talk about. The selling cycle takes a lot of time, often six weeks to six months, sometimes even a year. No one can establish trust overnight on a one, stop-shop insurance transaction. It requires multiple meetings. Finally, you've dedicated the book to World T.E.A.M. Sports. Who are they, and why have you decided to give all the book's proceeds to them?
T.E.A.M. stands for The Exceptional Athlete Matters, which is an organization that brings together disabled and able-bodied athletes in rigorously exciting motivational challenges. We began as an outgrowth from California Special Olympics Special Olympics
International sports program for people with intellectual disability. It provides year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type summer and winter sports for participants. in 1987 and became a full-fledged organization in 1991. For example, in 1998, we took a group of 45 disabled U.S. Vietnam veterans This article is about the French band. For veterans of the Vietnam War, see Vietnam veteran.
The Vietnam Veterans were a six-person French psychedelic group that released six records in the 1980s. The band was praised by many alternative music publications. and 45 North Vietnamese North Vietnam
A former country of southeast Asia. It existed from 1954, after the fall of the French at Dien Bien Phu, to 1975, when the South Vietnamese government collapsed at the end of the Vietnam War. It is now part of the country of Vietnam. veterans and bicycled the entire length of Vietnam, 1,250 miles in 16 days over intermittently paved roads. It was an exhilarating, emotionally compelling and in the end, reconciling experience for everyone. It's easy to be self-absorbed and consumed in our careers. This organization offers a way to experience a much bigger life in the this world.
James M. Benson
James M. Benson, 57, was scheduled to become president and chief executive officer of John Hancock Life Insurance Co. on Nov. 30, about seven months after the close of the merger between John Hancock Financial Services Inc. and Toronto-based Manulife Financial Manulife Financial (NYSE: MFC, TSX: MFC, SEHK: 945, PSE: MFC), also known as The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, is a major Canadian insurance company and financial services provider. Corp.
At the same time, John D. DesPrez III, 47, was to become president and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of John Hancock Financial Services. The appointments were made after David E D'Alessandro, 53, said in July that he would retire from John Hancock to become chairman of John Hancock's advisory board and direct the company's charitable and philanthropic activities. He will continue as a member of Manulife's board of directors. Both Benson and DesPrez will report to Dominic D'Alessandro, president and CEO of Manulife Financial Corp. The D'Alessandros are not related.
Snap Out of It
Every salesperson--insurance and otherwise--hits a sales slump once in a while. Because sales slumps often are tied to burnout Burnout
Depletion of a tax shelter's benefits. In the context of mortgage backed securities it refers to the percentage of the pool that has prepaid their mortgage. , the key to ending slumps and getting back on track with sales is to re-energize yourself, said James M. Benson, who is slated to become chief executive officer and president of John Hancock Life Insurance Co. on Nov. 30. Benson, and Paul Karasik, president of the Business Institute, a sales management Sales Management Role and Goal
Importance of sales management is critical for any commercial organization. Expanding business in not possible without increasing sales volumes, and effective sales management goal is to organize sales team work in such a manner that ensures a training and consulting company, have cooked up a list of creative ways to snap out of a sales slump in their new book, 22 Keys to Sales Success.
* Take a vacation.
* Meditate med·i·tate
v. med·i·tat·ed, med·i·tat·ing, med·i·tates
1. To reflect on; contemplate.
2. To plan in the mind; intend: meditated a visit to her daughter. .
* Enroll in an art class.
* Spend time with horses.
* Learn a new sport.
* Take a yoga class.
* Take a fire-walking seminar.
* Join a theater group.
* Take singing lessons.
* Watch the sunset.
* Watch the sunrise.
* Take dancing lessons.
* Ride in a hot-air balloon.
* Keep a journal.
* Learn to sky-dive.
* Go fishing.
* Soak in a hot bath with candles and incense burning.
* Instead of walking, skip everywhere you go.
* Renew your marriage vows Marriage vows are promises a couple makes to each other during a wedding ceremony.
Civil ceremonies often allow couple's to choose their own vows, although many civil marriage vows are adapted from the traditional Catholic wedding vow "To have and to hold, from this day .
* Make contact with old friends.
* Rent your favorite funny movies and watch one every night for a month.
* Have dinner with your best friend.
* Take some risks.
John Hancock Life Insurance Co. (Member of Manulife Financial Group)
A.M. Best Company # 06601 Distribution: Career agents, independent producers and brokers
For ratings and other financial strength information about these companies, visit www.ambest.com.