Being in the industry for years across various capacities, I’ve met more than my fair share of Life Insurance agents and Financial Planners. A few of them are completely oblivious to the fact that some habits and behaviors are costing them in terms of business and professionalism.
It could be instructive (and kinda fun) to actually pinpoint some of my pet peeves when sitting down with various agents that seemingly only have one thing on their mind.
And in case you might currently be an agent or planner as well, please don’t take this the wrong way. I’ve met plenty of professional, trustworthy and classy agents, who are the polar opposites of those that inspired this list.
If you’ve actually said either one of these 5 things to any agent who wasted your time, you are indeed a special kind of brave.
1. Your pushiness turns me off
Yes I do understand the importance of being properly covered, in event of emergencies.
Yes I do understand why I need it now. But please do not push me to make the decision to commit right there and then. It is an intensely personal decision and I would like to be absolutely sure – about the product, and about you as well.
Sometimes trust takes a certain amount of time to build, especially given that you have a vested interested in all of this. (Relevant or otherwise, it will always remain at the back of my mind)
2. I know you favor a certain company over others, I just wish it wasn’t because you stood to gain the most from it
Once again it is about vested interest, and thinly veiled at times. Which makes me want to run for the hills.
You may represent only one or a few insurance companies, that is absolutely fine. But when I have done my homework to do market research, I would still like to hear some objective comparison from you.
If the other plans that you DO NOT sell are better, it would mean the world if you actually admitted it and asked me to go ahead with them. It just makes me trust you all the more.
But ever so often, errant planners insist on a particular plan or a particular company – either because they have extra incentives to gain (free incentive trips, additional production bonus etc). Once I smell that, the sale is over.
I much rather buy from someone else who is objective. At least in terms of his views, if not his product offerings.
3. That’s a nice watch you’re wearing. I wish your knowledge could be just as polished
You know the type – smooth talking, dressed to kill, and as presentable as a Japanese plastic mock dish. Not a hair out of place, and with a complexion that puts Fann Wong to shame. Until he opens his mouth.
Me: “Would it be possible for me to pre-pay my premiums at one go? I hate the hassle of having to pay yearly”
Him: “Hang on, let me confirm with my director. In the meantime, you can sign here”
What a bummer. I would be blind not to notice your Rolex watch, your LV tie, your Hermes belt, and your BMW keys. Which indicates that you are obviously doing well or just a reckless spendthrift. Assuming you belong to the first category, I would at least think that you knew your products inside out, forwards and back.
I shudder to think what if you belonged to the second category.
But anyway, no sale from me. For sure.
4. You have a pitch, I can respect that. It would really be nice if I could get a word in every now and then.
Him: “So yeah, this plan is really one of the best out there. You get fantastic returns, the flexibility to choose your regular income options, this sure beats you leaving your money in a bank. Just don’t surrender before year 3, or you will incur a heavy penalty. Look on the bright side, you will get a loyalty bonus in year 5, 10, and 15, which you will get 5, 10, and 15% extra units. The plan will deduct a yearly 2.5%, but that is meant to make you commit till the plan matures. All in all, you will get a return of 12% if you stay the course and don’t make any premature deductions. Also you will get a $500 NTUC voucher if you sign up before 31st Dec. Like what I said, this plan is really one of the best out there. So how, wanna buy?”
Me: “Come again?”
Maybe agents experience rejection on a regular basis, so every appointment they make is precious and have to make it count. Perfectly understandable.
What perplexes me is someone who rattles off what seems like a suspiciously generic script. Without once checking if the person across the table has any real comprehension. Or pulse, for that matter.
I could have questions. I might have objections to clarify first. But it might actually be easier to jump off a moving train than to interrupt your soliloquy.
And as they say, people don’t buy what they can’t understand. So thanks, but no thanks.
5. Their numbers just appear out of thin air. Just. Like. That.
Him: “So how long have you been working?”
Me: “About 8 years now.”
Him: “I see. How many children do you have?”
Me: “Just one. My daughter was born last September.”
Him: “Ok. This means that you NEED at least 1.5 million in death cover. No choice one”.
Wow. Just. Like. That. Your internal financial calculator was clicking and whirling even before I told you anything. Without asking me what my current coverage situation was, without knowing if I am the beneficiary of a trust fund, you already mentally pegged me down as a person who needs 1.5 million in cover.
Sorry but I find that hard to swallow. That number may be accurate, but it is akin to a doctor saying that I need surgery right after he took my temperature.
Hearing this sort of off the cuff type of analysis really turns off my buying switch, and made me regret taking the appointment. And it speaks volumes about his true intentions.
Bonus Point 6: Please don’t expect me to entertain you if you have not kept in touch for years
I put this down as a bonus point because it is not exactly a time waster, but I probably won’t bother entertaining this type of agent in the first place.
We could have been friends or acquaintances in the past. Or you could have sold me a plan years ago but vanished off the face of the earth.
Then out of the blue, you reach out to me again and suggest a meet up over coffee “with no obligations”. I know what that means, and that means I have to delete your contact asap.
So really, what gives?
We are not being necessarily harsh or critical here. It is just that we are mostly millennials, or exhibit millennial-like characteristics.
We research, we review.
We compare, we verify.
It means that before every purchase, we want to know if we are making the right decision and we would have (usually) done our homework first.
At the first sign of desperation, pushiness, thinly veiled self interest from the agent, we tend to pack our mental bags and head to nopeville. And we will be more than likely to tell all our friends to avoid you like the plague. We will also be too polite to tell you about it.
Are there any more things that you might want to tell an agent who wasted your time? Let us know in the comments below!
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