Opportunities for financial advisors

This year’s Canada Sales Congress was a great day spent engaging with partners, carriers, distributors and advisors. The crowds were large, as always, and the day was packed with presentations that offered a wide variety of insights into the issues most important to today’s advisors.

Topics ranged from emerging technology to how to become a recognized expert in your niche—but the overall theme was “Brilliant Because of the Basics!”

Financial Needs Analysis is about more than just compliance

The presentations throughout the day explored different takes on becoming a brilliant producer by being prepared, having the right tools and perfecting the basics of the advisor business.

There was a lot of talk about improving efficiency, especially when it comes to an advisor’s sales strategy and process. The focus was on how advisors can continually grow their practices—with a special emphasis on how to actually increase insurance sales.

The concept that stood out for me was the importance of doing a comprehensive financial needs analysis (FNA) for each new client, and reviewing it annually. In some regions this is mandated by regulation, in many companies it’s a policy advisors must follow—but, even when completing an FNA is not a hard requirement it’s still a great idea.

That’s because it’s the best way to understand what your client wants and needs—and in that information lies the opportunities for future sales. And, as one advisor pointed out, the FNA will likely increase the premium on a policy, which creates higher commissions.

A simple, compliant and mobile-ready tool like Equisoft/plan is a perfect way to quickly and efficiently gather the data an advisor needs to easily uncover those sales opportunities. And its professional reports and presentations make it simple to consistently demonstrate the strength of your recommendations.

An opportunity for MGAs to forge strong advisor relationships

Another theme that emerged in my discussions is that distributors have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen their advisor relationships, and attract new advisors by leveraging the power of technology to add real value to advisor practices.

Most conversations we had with advisors touched on their desire to find tools that would help them identify the right clients, consistently connect with prospects, communicate their value-proposition, and master client-relationship management.

CRM and FNA tools that are specifically designed for advisors do exactly that—solutions like Equisoft/connect and Equisoft/plan are good opportunities for MGAs to provide the value that their advisors are looking for, and help their advisors serve their clients and increase sales.

Changes in distribution models affect advisors—and provide a new opportunity

Outside of the session we had a lot of conversations with partners, like carriers and MGAs, who echoed the desire to find more ways to bring value to the advisor—by providing more data and tools and by supporting them as they work through the big changes in our industry.

One of the biggest changes people were talking about was the trend towards increasing direct-to-consumer distribution in Canada. More and more carriers are looking to deal directly with potential clients, new digital-born companies are entering the market with tools that enable consumers to serve themselves. All of this adds up to less opportunity for advisors—or does it?

As the industry moves to more streamlined ways to sell direct-to-consumers, everyone’s evaluating new solutions for speeding up all stages of the policy life-cycle—from underwriting to claims. These automated workflows reduce the need for advisors to part of the sales process. For many advisors, who are finding their prospect pool shrinking, the challenge is to try to move up market where their advice is needed.

Humania and Equisoft’s Automated Marketing Solution

That advisor migration is real and can be difficult for some advisors. But there is also a new hybrid model that has great potential for advisors, to become engaged in the direct-to-consumer process—and, yes, it leverages technology and automation.

Recently, Equisoft and Humania announced a collaboration that includes a new, turnkey marketing automation solution in Equisoft/connect. This new feature makes it easy for advisors to promote Humania’s 5575 product to those in their CRM contact base who would benefit—at no additional cost to the advisor.

The state-of-the-art marketing solution includes pre-built messaging, and is automatically populated with customer data—making it possible to launch, with just a few clicks, an email campaign to the entire target client profile.

This new feature is an innovation in Canada—a hybrid model that is the first direct-to-consumer campaign feature available in a CRM tool that puts the financial advisor at the center of the purchase transaction.

It’s a great alternative to expensive automated marketing solutions—all the research is already done, the messaging has been created and it’s very easy to use. And, it doesn’t eliminate the advisor from the process.

The entire Equisoft team is excited to be able to help all our clients—carriers, distributors and advisors—explore effective solutions to challenges facing advisors. Innovations like the Humania turn-key marketing solution in Equisoft/connect help us align stakeholder intention to enable clients to achieve their goals.

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