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Top 10 list: what to look for in an IMO: "as an independent financial advisor or insurance professional, one of your most critical relationships is with your Independent Marketing Organization (IMO).".


Anyone who has established a viable financial advisory practice knows there's nothing more important in our business than relationships. And I'm not talking just about client relationships. As an independent financial advisor or insurance professional, one of your most critical relationships is with your Independent Marketing Organization (IMO "In my opinion." See IMHO and digispeak.

). IMOs come in all sizes and have various strengths and weaknesses, like any business. There are 10 simple criteria you can apply to help you find the right one for you.

1. Connectivity

Embracing technology is essential to success. Your IMO should have a cutting-edge Web site. At a bare minimum, your IMO should provide 24-hour access to product training, rates, client application, and agent contracting materials.

What if you need app materials or product information after hours Adv. 1. after hours - not during regular hours; "he often worked after hours" ? A Web site that is a functional resource, not just window dressing Window Dressing

A strategy used by mutual fund and portfolio managers near the year or quarter end to improve the appearance of the portfolio/fund performance before presenting it to clients or shareholders.
, should meet your needs around the clock.

Some IMO Web sites offer blogs and podcasts for download To receive a file transmitted over a network. In any communications session, "download" means receive, and "upload" means send. The download/upload often implies a big/little scenario, in which data is being downloaded from the "big" server into the "little" user's computer. , enabling you to consume information on the company's site or download it "Download It" is Clea's debut single. It was released in the UK on September 22, 2003 and missed the top 20 charting at #21. The single had average promotion, being performed in shows like Top of the Pops.  to your iPod and get valuable info "to go."

2. Profiling

Any prospective IMO you consider should spend time learning about you and your practice, and not just 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"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 you about themselves.

In this vital relationship, you are the customer. Take the time to find an IMO that will, for its own part, invest the time necessary to learn what your needs are and try to meet them.

3. Recruiting Style

IMOs vary widely in the way they recruit producers. Unfortunately, some agents have been enticed to contract with an IMO based on empty promises. Look for an IMO that "underpromises but overdelivers." Honesty is the best policy, in all relationships, and it's an absolute necessity for an IMO seeking to meet your needs.

4. IMO Ownership

If independence is important to you, you should look for it in a prospective IMO as well. Some firms are more "independent" than others. A surprising number of IMOs are owned by insurance companies, and may have strong incentives to recommend the products issued by their owner (the parent insurance company).

Perform due diligence Research; analysis; your homework. This term has caught on in all industries, because it sounds so "wired." Who would want to do analysis or research when they can do due diligence. See wired. . Public Web sites are available where you can learn which IMOs are owned by insurance companies.

5. A Well-Run Back Office

The manufacturing services of an IMO are just as important as the marketing services. Find an IMO that will work hard to turn your applications into policies and commission checks. Will the IMO perform all the manufacturing work for you? A good IMO partner frees you from policy manufacturing, so you spend more time doing what you do best: selling!

6. The Latest and Best Products

Remember eight-track tapes and floppy disks? They were great at one time, but are woefully woe·ful also wo·ful  
1. Affected by or full of woe; mournful.

2. Causing or involving woe.

3. Deplorably bad or wretched:
 obsolete today. The only thing constant in our industry is change. New insurance and financial products hit the market every month. Look for an IMO that sorts through them to bring you the latest leading-edge plans.

7. Inventory

Some marketing companies have hot multi-year guarantee annuities, others offer top indexed annuities. Only a few offer the best of the best of both worlds.

Successful advisors want to do business with a one-stop shop One-Stop Shop

A company or a location that offers a multitude of services to a client or a customer. The idea is to provide convenient and efficient service and also to create the opportunity for the company to sell more products to clients and customers.
. Your time is money; spend it wisely. Consolidate business with one IMO that has the breadth of products you need to succeed.

8. Good Commissions

The independent distribution model is great. It's designed to pay 100% of the commissions to you, plus an override An arrangement whereby commissions are made by sales managers based upon the sales made by their subordinate sales representatives. A term found in an agreement between a real estate agent and a property owner whereby the agent keeps the right to receive a commission for the sale of  to the IMO for supporting your sales. Find an IMO that follows that "win-win" arrangement, so you receive the full commission intended by the carrier that designed the product.

9. Leverage

Sooner or later, you will have an important case that requires a special dispensation DISPENSATION. A relaxation of law for the benefit or advantage of an individual. In the United States, no power exists, except in the legislature, to dispense with law, and then it is not so much a dispensation as a change of the law.  from the insurance carrier. That's when you'll want your IMO to go to bat for you--and it's better if they carry a big stick. Your IMO should have enough influence with the insurance company to call in a favor when you really need it. When your IMO has earned respect and carries influence, by extension you do, too.

10. Incentives

Everyone wants to be rewarded for a job well done. Forget about fanny packs and key rings; most advisors agree the favorite form of reward and recognition is cold hard cash. Some IMOs offer production and signing bonuses A signing bonus or sign-on bonus is a sum of money paid to a new employee by a company as an incentive to join that company. These are often given as a way of making a compensation package more attractive to the employee e.g. if the annual salary is lower than they desire. . Let your prospective IMO know what motivates you!

The Bottom Line

Relationships require effort. Once you've settled in with your IMO of choice, take time to maximize the opportunities they make available to you. Don't assume professional relationships will stay healthy or productive if you don't work on them. Successful relationships are a process, not an event.

If you're already with an IMO and the relationship is not what you hoped for, talk to them about it. If it's not working for you, it's probably not working for them either. Problem areas can be identified, addressed, and resolved. If you ultimately decide you need to move on, however, your IMO should be willing to give you a release, although if necessary, you can usually transfer without asking for their consent.

We each want to live and work at the level of our maximum potential, and relationships help make that happen. Carefully consider your options and "do your homework" before you decide which firm is the best choice for you. It could well be one of the best time investments of your professional career.

By Ron W. Rawlings

Dallas Financial Wholesalers * Dallas, Texas “Dallas” redirects here. For other uses, see Dallas (disambiguation).
The City of Dallas (pronounced [ˈdæl.əs] or [ˈdæl.

Ron W. Rawlings is principal and founder of Dallas Financial Wholesalers, a national marketing organization distributing annuities, life insurance, and long-term care long-term care (LTC),
n the provision of medical, social, and personal care services on a recurring or continuing basis to persons with chronic physical or mental disorders.
 insurance to personal producing general agents, financial planners Financial Planner

A qualified investment professional who assists individuals and corporations meet their long-term financial objectives by analyzing the client's status and setting a program to achieve these goals.
, broker-dealers, banks, and credit unions.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Summit Business Media
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Rawlings, Ron W.
Publication:Life Insurance Selling
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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