How to Treat an Insurance Agent

I am sure that at least once in your adult life, you already experienced opening your Facebook or Viber account to find a surprise message from a friend whom you haven’t seen or spoken to for quite a while.

phone-apps

After the customary exchange of pleasantries, your friend suddenly launches into “Oh, by the way… I’m a Financial Advisor of _____.  Would you like to meet up over coffee so I can offer you a free financial planning session?”

Quite common nowadays, am I right?

What do you usually do after reading a similar message? Do you continue on with the conversation or do you suddenly feel the urge to attend to something else?

Or do you just drop out of the conversation, like you suddenly lost your internet connection? Or like your battery got discharged again?  Ooops, wrong timing!

Let me give you some tips on how to handle insurance agents, particularly those you know personally.

Agents Can Take NO for an Answer

Please know that Financial Advisors or Insurance Agents respect free will. We know that when we invite you to meet over a cup of coffee or tea, you can either accept or decline our invitation.

Either way, we are ready for your answer.

But some agents cannot understand it when we I say No. They keep on nagging me to hear them out first!

Yes, that’s true. Most agents, particularly the seasoned ones, will not easily quit even after a rejection.

That’s because we are trained to handle objections. That’s part of our job. We don’t and should not give up easily, especially because our product is something valuable to one’s financial plan. People will never know how important it is unless agents and Advisors are given air-time to explain why.

But if the prospect consistently says NO even after several attempts, then  we will respect the decision. No hard feelings.

(Uhm, maybe at first, we will feel dejected. We’re humans, after all. But all those feelings will come to pass, I assure you.)

A NO is better than getting SEENZONED

Technology is so advanced now that it’s quite rare that a message sent over the internet (via email or social media sites) will not be received by the other party. (An SMS that wasn’t received is still quite common in our country, so I will exclude that here). There’s even a facility now to track if your e-mail has been opened by the recipient. In Facebook Messenger and Viber, depending on your privacy settings, a “SEEN” status can appear to inform you that your message was read by the recipient.

I have to tell you this: It is okay to say No to our offer. Being rejected is a big part of our job. Most of us are good sports, we can take rejections well. Walang personalan, trabaho lang.

But you know what is not okay? It’s when our message is completely ignored. More hurtful if that message was sent to a family member or a close friend. Ang sakit, Bes!

If the message sent to you was disrespectful or too aggressive for your taste, then I cannot blame you for not responding.

There’s a better way to respond to it, though. Why not be frank and call the attention of that agent? If you’re really good friends, that agent won’t mind the constructive criticism. Just try it.

However, if the message sent was polite, professional, and pretty much harmless, I don’t see why it should be ignored completely.

I understand that there are times when we’re just not ready to respond at that moment because of more pressing matters at hand. It can also be that the recipient forgot to send his reply even if he was really planning on making one. That happens to me, too.

But what I do is to go back and respond to that message, even if my answer was days or weeks delayed already.

What’s important is not to let a message go unnoticed. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in the product being offered or not. Acknowledge the message and you’ll be fine. You don’t have to decide outright if you’re going to accept the invitation or not. But at least say something to the sender. A simple “Noted” won’t hurt.

Because when you acknowledge the message, you also acknowledge the sender. That’s a simple way of showing respect to that person.

If you are good friends with the agent, all the more that you should respond to the message. It’s like saying “I value our friendship.” If you behave this way even though you are a non-believer of life insurance, trust me, your agent friend will think and speak nothing less of you after a rejection.

Cold Calls

How about those strangers who call you to offer life insurance while you’re in the middle of an important meeting? Or those who send a private message through Facebook, or even thru email?

I’m not a fan of cold calling, but I’ve tried it a few times. I wasn’t good at it and I didn’t like it either. But I know of good agents who do this and they are quite effective. They have my respect.

I know how annoying it could be to get anonymous phone calls out of the blue.

I used to resent agents who do this, but now that I’m also an agent, I have a better understanding of why this is being done.

Agents do cold calls most likely because they have ran out of prospective clients to talk to and they can’t think of other creative ways to approach people. But they have a family to feed and some bills to pay.

My simple advice in handling those “annoying” agents is to just keep your cool and decline the offer politely. That would only take a few minutes of your time.

If you were approached nicely, respond in the same manner. That’s the rule of thumb.

If you didn’t like the manner, you can take note of the caller’s name and insurance company where he’s from and file a complaint, if you must.

For agents who will approach you through e-mail, please check first the e-mail address being used. If you find a familiar name of a reputable insurance company in the e-mail address (for example, the address has @sunlife.com.ph in it), then you can assume it’s not spam and you may respond to it accordingly. If you’re unsure, then better to ignore it.

Be extra careful also to those mails coming from supposed agents using common email accounts like Yahoo or Gmail because it will be hard to check if they’re legitimately connected to the insurance company.

For private messages in Facebook or Viber from unknown agents, I suggest you check first the profile of the agent. If you can’t find any trustworthy information in the profile, it would be wise not to accept the message invite.

Just Doing Our Job

In summary, Financial Advisors and insurance agents like me are also human beings who deserve to be treated with respect like any working individual out there.

Our way of approaching people may not always be right and acceptable to our prospects’ standards (maybe due to lack of proper training or some other factors), but generally speaking, we don’t do this to annoy people or to intrude into their lives.

We’re here to perform our job and offer our product to those who may benefit from it.

It won’t hurt if you will treat insurance agents nicely. We, the legit agents, mean no harm.

No need to burn bridges just because you don’t like what is being offered to you. A firm NO will do.

Let’s stay friends, shall we?

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