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Know Your Product

So what does “knowing your product” actually mean? You probably think it means being knowledgeable about the various policies you sell. To some degree, that is correct. We all need to know details on the policies we market to our clients as well as the various riders that are associated with them … at least for compliance’s sake. However, surrender charges are a big part of annuities today. So, we need to know exactly how they work in relation to each of the products we sell. In a perfect world, surrender charges would all be the same. There might be special loan privileges with some life insurance policies worth investigating. Most clients have no idea that they can borrow from their life insurance policies without tax consequences. So, learning how that can play out might be something worth studying.  The point is there are many different angles we need to cover in regard to selling any type of policy.

I find that live-on-location seminars offered by many of the carriers out there help me quite a bit. They usually only last a half day or so, and even though I would like to see a little more client psychology talked about, the product knowledge you can walk away with from one of those events is, as they say, priceless. You can speak directly to carrier representatives, pick their brains, and see if they are comfortable with their product line. You’d be surprised how many are not. Over the years, I’ve had a few carrier reps tell me that one or more of their products could improve. And while I admire their honesty, I can’t help but think their tenure with the company may be compromised down the road. So, with regard to seminar style carrier information sessions, the more you attend, the more you learn the positives and the negatives of their respective product lines.

The next level of learning is the live conference call. We all get invited to those, and we should probably try to be on at least one a month just to stay in the game. The questions that get asked at the end are always a treat. If you can answer most of them, you’re probably on your way. If you don’t know many of the answers, you should probably consider attending more conference calls or ask one of your carriers for some one-on-one help. Again, conference calls can be a great time-saving device and can help you gain access to some great information if utilized correctly. You can even get on calls that aren’t necessarily insurance-related. For example, you might consider a call on improving your office technology or maybe something on social media.

Reading industry magazines or taking courses can also enrich you with knowledge to keep up with the times. Some courses even go over how a policy is structured. You can call around to some local CE schools and see if they offer material of that nature. The material might be overly general, but a review of something you already know is never a bad thing. Being able to repeat it to a prospect is all that matters.

I confess that I’m stating the obvious here, but did any of you consider catching a flight out of town to meet with your favorite carrier. I’ve flown all over the country to meet with some of the carriers I use just to kick the tires, as they say. Some have even paid me back for making the trip. But, I wouldn’t hold your breath for an instant re-imbursement considering the economy’s present state.

You need to invest in yourselves to be successful in this business of selling insurance. That means spending money. In fact, nothing is free as our time should always have some value.

So, go educate yourselves on your products, consumer behavior and current events that affect the industry. It’s one thing to admit that you don’t have an immediate answer for someone. It’s quite another to think you know something that you actually don’t. Knowledge truly is power!

About Harris Simkovitz

Harris Simkovitz
Harris has been in financial services for almost 20 years. After holding his series 7 & 63 for 12 years, he now specializes in Life and Disability. His method of selling produces near perfect persistency and client experience. He's a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, has taught CE classes and received the CES designation from the Institute of Business and Finance in 2008. Spending time studying economics has given him the edge to help keep his client base secure, and attending as many industry meetings as possible has kept him informed on industry regulations and product rollouts. He was first profiled in Selling Magazine back in 1996 and has since been written about in various college text books. He currently lives with his family in New Jersey where he continues to grow his Insurance practice.

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