Hi folks. I've been working my tail off. It's still there (kinda still large too) so I need to keep working.
I'm not knocking the cover off the ball, so to speak, and part of my problem is that I'm part of an industry that doesn't always encourage honesty, or the benefit of the client. I'm really, really trying to do my business in an honest fashion, where I put the needs of the client first. But I'm fighting that less-than-stellar reputation on a daily basis.
When did American Business become all about exploitation? I think that paying people less than their efforts are worth encourages short-cuts, dishonesty and outright deception. The SubPrime mess speaks volumes in that area. Anything that makes the Company money is ok. No matter what.
I just keep wondering, is it possible for one to market products and services honestly, with the best interest of the client at heart, and be successful? For me, at this point, just winning people's trust feels like a major victory. I've met with people who've been scammed and lied to, so why should they trust me?
I've been told to remind my clients that the recommended amount of life insurance is 8 to 10 times their current income. See, I have a hard time with that because the recommendation comes from the Insurance Industry. To me it's like McDonalds telling people that the recommended amount of hamburgers is 2 a day.
Part of my training included what not to say to people. The "Not To Says" were things that I would just consider being honest.
My approach to my service business is identifying need and offering to fill that need in a means to the client's benefit. I do believe that people should carry life insurance. People need to pay for funerals, medical expenses, and provide income to help the survivors get through the difficult times after someone passes early and unexpectedly. The way I approach the situation is to go over what the financial needs would be, and design an insurance program to meet those needs, and nothing more. A young father with a wife, 3 kids, a mortgage and some extra debt needs more coverage than a woman in her 40's with a husband and an apartment and an 18 year old child. I want to match them to the right amount.
Same goes for retirement savings. People can't save more than they're comfortable putting aside. And not every financial instrument is a suitable investment for every client. Mutual funds are great. Individual stock investments can bear an enormous amount of risk (Enron, Lehman Bros. anyone?) and annuities are good for people who are looking for supplements to their retirement savings.
I believe I have the means to sit down with clients, analyze their needs and design programs and services to meet those needs in a way that benefits them, while also benefitting me by compensating me for my time and efforts. I think this can be a mutually beneficial situation and try to act accordingly.
But I get a lot of flack. If I meet clients who have adequate insurance coverage, I tell them so, and leave it alone. If they're saving enough for retirement, I back off.
I refuse to engage in subterfuge, and I refuse to pull out the smoke and mirrors. I try to deal honestly and fairly. If I can't improve one's situation, I don't do business. If I can, I show how I can and let the clients make up their minds. I refuse to be a door-to-door snake oil salesman.
I have a lot to learn I guess.
But wouldn't it be easier to offer products and services at a price people can afford and without trying to "sell" them? I have those means at my disposal. I just don't get a lot of encouragement to use them.