During the past three decades, many of the major insurance companies, investment houses, banks, marketing companies, agencies, agents and advisors appear to have forgotten what made the financial services industry ultra-successful throughout the past century. They've gotten away from serving middle-income families, and are now focused on chasing after the more affluent prospects. Just look at the new and hottest sales ideas, sales systems and products. They all revolve around finding people that already have large amounts of money, and then trying to convince those people to invest in cash value insurance, annuities, or in the stock market. The problem is that 90 percent of the financial services industry is chasing after 18 percent of the population, so there's a lot of competition.
An advisor trying to increase their sales would be wise to put him or herself in the middle of the middle-income market. If you talk to the leading life insurance producers, they'll tell you that becoming successful in life insurance sales is about building a "bread and butter" market. It's about serving average people, to bring in consistent sales. They'll tell you that's how they built their business, and it's why they are consistently at the very top of the industry.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you want to be working in the middle-income market:
According to LIMRA International studies, only 41 percent of families own individual life insurance, and only 61 percent have any type of life insurance.
LIMRA, in its report titled, "Purchase Preferences of the Middle Market: Life Insurance," reveals that most middle-market consumers "prefer to purchase life insurance through someone they meet in person." However, the report also says that, "almost two-thirds report they do not have someone they consider to be their personal life insurance agent."
LIMRA also reports that 56 percent of married parents believe their current life insurance coverage is inadequate. To complicate matters, half of the parents surveyed don't know how much insurance to buy, and 39 percent worry about making the wrong decision.
Most financial services companies define the middle-income market as households with an annual income between $25,000 and $99,000. According to 2006 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 56.8 percent of Americans fall in this range. About one quarter of households (25.3 percent) have an annual income of less than $25,000, while 17.9 percent -- the so-called mass affluent -- have an annual income greater than $100,000.
Based on these LIMRA findings, it's clear that the advisors who do go after the middle-income market will likely be received with open arms, and reap the benefits of their efforts.
However, these middle-income families are not looking for just another salesperson who wants them to spend more of their hard-earned money.
If you want to be successful and earn the income you are capable of, then you must find a way to differentiate yourself from all the other agents, advisors and planners out there. Your prospects must see you as more than just another salesperson. You must find a way to start building strong relationships, credibility and trust. You must become the most recognized trusted financial advisor in your local community, and that's all about how you market your services; how you deliver your story.
Help middle-income families to solve their financial problems.
If you want to build strong relationships, credibility and trust, and attract a steady stream of the right prospects, then help middle-income families to solve their problems. Help them to find the money to:
- Reduce or eliminate their consumer debt
- Maximize the amount they can invest from current income
- Reap the upside of the market, while guaranteeing the safety of their investment principal
- Position their assets to increase their eligibility to qualify for college financial aid
- Minimize their income taxes
- Position their money to provide more current liquidity
- Maximize their investment returns
And, help them to do it all without taking additional money out of their budget or changing their current lifestyle.
Unfortunately, most middle-income families have been sold policies with low deductibles and all sorts of unneeded expensive riders so that agents could make more money. They've been sold supplemental policies that aren't really needed, or are a low priority. And, in too many cases, they are being told to put their safe money in the wrong places. They are losing money in the stock market, disqualifying themselves for the free money available for college financial aid and paying more income taxes than necessary. This keeps many families from saving money and building the secure financial foundation they want and deserve.
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