COVID-19 is transforming the life insurance and financial planning industries in astounding ways. Ours is a business where new clients are almost entirely gained through in-person meetings, and shelter in place orders are creating waves of change that seemed impossible just weeks ago.
Brokers International provides solutions and support for 5,000 independent agents nationwide. Three weeks ago, most carriers required agents to work face to face. They would not allow a policy to be sold or signed online. Today they all are.
Business Is Changing, We Need to As Well
This change has opened a new way to do business. More customers and brokers are using video conferencing technology to conduct annual reviews and hold meetings than at any point in the past. From grandmothers using Facebook Live for the first time to moms and dads meeting with their insurance agent over a video call, people are using technology that they never have before.
The longer this crisis continues, the more ingrained these new technology habits will be to all of us. One of the aftereffects will likely be less travel.
Instead of spending $3,000 on a business trip to meet with clients, a video call may be arranged. As augmented and virtual reality technologies become more advanced and widespread, virtual meetings will feel more and more like the real thing.
These changes feel scary. Yet, we don’t have to be afraid. As these changes engulf us, we can instill confidence in our employees, customers and ourselves by making three critical decisions.
Three Things We Can Do Right Now To Help Customers and Preserve Business
These survival tips apply to business owners as well as brokers and agents. We’re applying them at our company and as a result are seeing new business continue to come in every day.
- Take care of your employees. If you are a business owner or a manager, put your employees first. Happy employees make happy customers. I believe we have to take care of our people and that as we sacrifice to do so now, that care will boomerang back to us. Keep your people healthy, safe and on the payroll. If you can’t, furlough them and bring them back. If the worst happens and you have to let people go for good, do all you can to help them land softly in new opportunities. Now is the time to live your mission statement.
- Talk to your customers. Whatever business you are in, make it your business to contact your customers regularly. They want to hear from you. Let them know you are open for business and that you understand what they’re going through. Be vulnerable, honest, open and authentic. Now more than ever, people appreciate genuine care and authenticity. Constant, transparent communication is a necessity. Now is an incredibly scary time for people, especially when it comes to their finances and their future. People are nervous and hearing from you will help them find calm. Let them know you’re uncertain too, but you aren’t letting fear freeze you. Provide guidance and solutions that make them feel safe and sound.
- Watch your expenses like a hawk. The future is uncertain. We are looking into the unknown and our spending decisions need to reflect that. At Brokers International, we aren’t spending money on the “nice to haves.” We’re spending our resources on the “must haves,” like payroll, benefits and whatever our employees need to work from home as effectively and comfortably as possible.
The Sun Will Come up Tomorrow
We’re living in uncertain times, but we will survive them. If you told my father 50 years ago that he would be able to order his groceries online and have them delivered to his doorstep, he would have said you were crazy.
My father told me something else that brokers, business leaders and all of us, frankly, need to hear right now — this too shall pass. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt, but at some point in time, the sun will come up again.
We will get through this and by doing the three steps outlined above, we can emerge victorious on the other side.
If you want help figuring out how to help your business survive this crisis, message me directly. Helping brokers and businesses is what I do best.