2011 Technology Selling Guide: A Brave New World

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Though there may be a certain amount of kicking and screaming involved, the world of life insurance is quickly moving into the new century. And in a world where even seniors are toting smartphones and people under the age of 30 have virtually given up on telephone conversations, favoring texts and emails instead, the traditional life agent toting a pad and battered briefcase to client meetings may be just a little too old-school for his own good.

Admittedly, the new wave of “apps,” useful tools created as small programs to run on the now-ubiquitous iPhone and iPad (and their Android and other off-brand competitors) does have a game-like quality which might lead many old-time advisors to question their value. But major carriers have recognized the value and the impact these sometimes playful plug-ins can have, especially in attracting younger consumers to engage with a staid and stuffy business.

And they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to integrating technology into your daily practice. From new systems which guarantee customers will never get a busy signal or voicemail when they call you during the day, to technological aids which allow your clients’ files and information to reside in that elusive “cloud” of data (and remain secure, as well), the new-fangled tech tools mostly exist to make your life easier. And allow you to concentrate on prospecting and selling, rather than being burdened by acres of paper, like the old days.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the days of AOL, you’ll also need to get up to speed on making sure you have a business presence in the world of social media. Facebook is not just for your 15-year-old daughter, it’s a legitimate (and expected) business tool, as are Web-based communications systems such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Figuring out how to position yourself so as to differentiate yourself from the millions of online distractions – not to mention how to do so with compliance in mind – is part of the challenge, but a social media component is critical if you want to remain connected in the modern business world. It might also be a new source of leads among consumers who spend way too much time online, but are in need of your services nonetheless.

So fear not. The brave new world of technology can seem daunting, but most of the basics are easily learned and integrated into your business style. And they can only help, especially in a tough economy.

By Andy Stonehouse

From the December 2011 issue of Agent’s Sales Journal

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