The first is the declining ranks in our business. Agents/advisors are getting older and there aren't enough "new babies" coming into the business. So, the insurance companies are wondering where they will get the production. Will the independent/IMO channel give them the desired premium, or do they focus on alternative distribution through banks, broker-dealers and direct response? I think you will see a little of each. I don't think, at this time, that they will forsake the independent channels.
What about IMOs like the Ohlson Group? We are in the same boat. We have to always have a plan to garner the appropriate amount of premium to have enough profit to fulfil the promises made to our advisors. So, fortunately for us, we have a strong life insurance background and have been increasing life sales to complement our annuity sales.
What about the most important asset… the advisor in the field? How will they continue to get in front of good qualified prospects, keep their expenses reasonable and grow as planned? Will the DOL/Fiduciary rule get in the way? Will commissions be reduced or spread out? Who knows… but we must keep moving forward. So, what are some of the answers being produced.
Collaboration. Loosely defined, cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal. This is what we’re doing at The Ohlson Group. We have many mid-sized IMOs and agencies that are now working with The Ohlson Group to take advantage of our digital marketing prowess and are in the Safe Money Places Agent Network. This is where we feel the greatest growth and prosperity will occur. We also do the reverse,and collaborate with other IMOs that have resources that we can access as well. A very real time example is the fact that over 50 IMOs are using AssessBEST as the vehicle to protect and enhance the careers of our advisors.
Consolidate: “To bring together into a single or united whole to become, or cause something to become, stronger and more certain.” I have witnessed several IMOs that are doing this. Many are being purchased. I also think you will see the same happening with the insurance companies that don't feel as though they have enough muscle or capital to stay in the game. But, that is not going to happen at The Ohlson Group as my sons and partners, Nick and Joe, already have the succession plan in place.
Consternation: “A sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion and dismay.” I believe that the DOL/Fiduciary rule has taken consternation to a level not seen in recent years. So, regarding this regulation, the advisor needs to make sure that the IMO is providing everything needed in the areas of marketing, research and education. Plus, the tools to make sure everyone is compliant in this brave new world.
In closing, the opportunities have never been greater for us in the field. Think about it: a shrinking supply of agents and advisors, a growing population that needs and wants our guaranteed products, and an industry that will not go away. Simply put, we think we have some answers. But, we need to speak with you, to find out what you want to accomplish, to analyze your speed bumps and put together a plan. I guess you would say that we want to "collaborate." Want to give it a try? Give us a call or simply click below to set up an appointment with one of our Marketing Consultants. I think the time is right.
Until next time... good selling!