QUESTION: What’s the most important ingredient for success in the life insurance and financial business?  

If there were one thing you had to have to be a success, you’d want to have it, wouldn’t you? There are lots of possibilities in terms of talents, skills, attitudes, and character. And of course, they are all important and critical to your outcomes.

But there is one debate that has been concluded. It’s your HQ and not your IQ that determines the success you will have in your business. It’s been proven time and again that the higher your HQ, the higher your production. The same cannot be said for your IQ.

A lot of people believe that IQ, or your Intelligence Quotient, makes the difference for business success. You know, the smarter you are the more you will achieve.

But they’re wrong. Sadly, and perhaps counterintuitively, unproductive, and unprofitable geniuses are far too common. In fact, IQ might even be an impediment to full and total achievement in the business. It takes something else.

 Intelligence can be an impediment because it can induce you to reduce your sales relationship to the facts and figures. It encourages the thinking that essential financial security decisions are logical and not emotional. It can make our client relationships technical and interpersonal. That mistake will hold you back forever.

But, if you have a high HQ or Helping Quotient when you work with your clients, you are bound to excel. And the amount of help you provide your clients and prospects is directly related to your business achievements. When you help more, you sell more. When you help more people want to buy more. The more you help the more valuable you are.

And, helping doesn’t take intelligence. It takes caring. The idea is contained in the old maxim – “They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.”

 Your desire to help is much more important than you level of intelligence. While both are necessary for success, intelligence is not sufficient to be a valued advisor but the sincere desire to help is.

Here’s how can you help your clients more:

  • Speak their language and keep it simple. Know your presentation well enough that you can customize it to use the same sort of words they use to describe what’s important in their lives. For instance, not “premiums” but “deposits”. Forget the industry and technical jargon and speak the way you would over a cup of coffee with a good friend about what matters to them. That’s very helpful.
  • Be easy to work with. Use virtual meetings if that makes it easier for them. Visit them if that’s what they need.
  • Do as much of their homework for them as you can. Don’t get them to list all their assets for you. Get them to give you their documents and you create the list. Same goes for policies. Gather them up and then give them a report rather than asking for the portfolio.
  • Solve their problems first and fast. Be sure they get what they want first. Whatever you intend to do always ask: “Obviously you had a reason for agreeing to meet with me today, would you mind telling me what that is?” Then do what they want right then. That’s helping.
  • Lead your prospects to where they want to go and then where they ought to go if they knew what you know. There is more to advising than answering questions and doing what they want. “Take them by the hand” and help them make important decisions that make wouldn’t make on their own without your help. Lead them to help them.
  • Provide the relevant information they need to make the decisions they have to make to achieve the goals they want to accomplish. Don’t suppose they can figure out what to do on their own. Help them by giving them the information that shows them the way.
  • Check in regularly to be sure that everything is going according to plan. Be sure to respond to their written, digital, or voice queries quickly. Thinking that they are forgotten is not helpful to your success with them.
  • Remember that “value added only comes from doing the unexpected” – “when you do more than you are paid to do, inevitably you will be paid for more than you did”. Find ways of providing unexpected help – maybe for their spouses or their children.
  • Follow up and follow through on every promise. It is the key to being helpful.
  • Leave nothing important to chance. You are responsible for ensuring that their plans move forward. Be pleasantly persistent with reminders of what they want to accomplish, and you help more than you know.

Helping is about building your client’s peace of mind for their essential financial security. When you do that, you help enhance their quality of life. That’s the biggest help of all.

Truly, when you help more, you do sell more. 

This column by renowned advisor coach Jim Ruta was first published in the September 2022 edition of Insurance Journal magazine.

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Jim Ruta’s mission is simple – to preserve, promote and propel the financial advisor business. A former insurance advisor and executive manager of a 250-advisor agency, Jim is a highly regarded coach, author, podcaster and keynote speaker. He has spoken 4 times at the MDRT Annual Meeting including the Main Platform. Jim Ruta is an Executive Coach and Keynote speaker specializing in life insurance advisors and leaders. He works with top advisors around the world and re-energizes audiences with his deep insight and passion. 

If you have a question for Jim, you may send an email to [email protected]