When you are in a position of authority and hold significant amounts of knowledge and experience, it’s not a big step to start taking advantage of your power and playing God. In previous articles in this series, we discussed the importance of not playing God with your clients and your employees. In both cases, you can avoid this temptation and tendency by knowing how to deal with others so that a win-win relationship can be developed.
Recognize And Respect
People are not pawns in a game. Whether you are selling them life insurance or employing them as administrators, it is incredibly important to treat people as the individuals they are. Create opportunities for them to be the best version of themselves and respect them and their efforts.
This is easier said than done. As anyone who has ever attempted to change their ingrained mindsets or behaviors knows, a shift of perspective requires a tremendous amount of work towards personal growth. But, if you are not the best you can be, how can you expect others to be that way? If you aren’t committed to getting the job done right, how can you expect a client to spend their hard-earned money on a substantial policy? If you want your employees to give you their highest level of effort day-in and day-out, you need to model the same behavior you desire of them. I’m not going to lie; it takes a big man or woman to step out in this approach.
Strive For Humility And Wisdom
Nowhere is this concept more true than in the area of professional performance. Professional life can lure you into thinking you're “The Man,” the person around whom the entire business world is supposed to revolve. This is especially relevant in the world of sales.
My father was a life insurance salesman for decades and now I have been a life insurance salesman for decades. I personally know how sales achievements can cause a swollen ego. In the financial services industry with its lofty sales and sizable commissions, resisting the temptation to think you’re the be all and end all is not for the faint of heart.
Thankfully, traps like this can be avoided with discipline, self-awareness, and humility. If you have the proper perspective on your achievements and realize the limits of your own capabilities, you can avoid playing God in your profession.
It’s Not What You Know...
If you sincerely want to find success in your profession without succumbing to playing God, here’s a Golden Rule to follow: It's not what you know - it's who you know. This age-old business principle is true in our profession, but with a twist.
We have a tendency to become an expert in a particular product line, and then automatically think we are an expert in other product lines. If we know life insurance, then how hard can disability insurance be? The fact of the matter is that the two products are very different in all ways: how they are designed, how they are underwritten, and how claims are paid. Not only that, but each type of life insurance itself requires specialized knowledge. Can you really fully explain the ins and outs of a whole life insurance illustration? How about universal life? Isn’t guaranteed universal life a completely different creature from indexed universal life? What about all the riders that are now added to these products? Now we even have hybrid products with both a survivor and a long-term-care benefit.
From my point of view, the products in our industry are becoming more and more complex and require increasingly specialized knowledge, along with specialist brokers to sell them. If you want to provide the absolute best service possible to your client, then you need to collaborate with other brokers or a brokerage firm that can provide you with the product specialists necessary for every product your client requires. This applies to all forms of life insurance, and most certainly to the various other forms of insurance and annuities your clients demand.
Back in the old days, when insurance products were simpler and fewer, it was easier to become “The Insurance Man” for your client. But those days are long gone. Now, we need to realize that our clients are best served by a team of specialists and that they trust us to bring in the right specialist at the right time. More than ever, who you know in this business, in terms of who specializes in different products, is key to selling a wide array of insurance policies.
It’s Worth It
Overcoming our personal weaknesses or wrong ideas can seem overwhelming. But if you are truly dedicated to being the best at whatever you do - the best boss, the best salesman, the best business owner - you will see the value in respecting those around you and understand the wisdom in partnering with others and not trying to place yourself on a pedestal. Have you struggled with this? Would you like some more thoughts on playing God and how to avoid it? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call online to discuss this topic with me further!
Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.
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