Tapping the rich resources that a wholesaler can offer.
The technology revolution affecting how we work and communicate has been nothing short of a whirlwind over the past few years. The adoption of new digital business practices, such as virtual client meetings, webinars, electronic forms and e-signatures, along with regulatory and tax changes, product pricing and the increasing demand for more marketing means the job of an advisor is more complicated than ever.
If technology is going to continually shape how we work and communicate, the partnership between wholesaler and advisor will also evolve into a collaborative and consultative relationship that goes beyond product expertise and market insights. What can a Manulife wholesaler do for you? Let’s meet some who are making an impact.
External Wholesaler, Wealth Sales, Calgary
While every advisor has a designated wholesaler, I think some still don’t realize they have access to this service. Working with a Manulife wholesaler gives advisors access to an amazing team of experts that includes portfolio managers, economists, capital markets strategists and tax & estate planning experts. We also work closely with our partners in insurance, group benefits, group retirement and banking to offer every need within one provider.
Unique solutions are possible
Life isn’t cookie cutter, and sometimes estate planning can be quite complicated. That’s where Manulife’s extensive network of expertise is an important advantage.
In a recent case, an advisor came to me for assistance with a client who was ready to retire but didn’t have an exit strategy. Her practice has a niche focus on agriculture, and farmers who are large landowners. Her client, a farmer, was ready to step back, but had no one to take over the family business, and there were no interested buyers for the farm.
I connected my advisor and her client with the head of Farmland Services at Manulife. The farm was appraised and Manulife drafted a purchase offer. If everything goes well, the farmer will be able to retire and the advisor will have a larger retirement portfolio to manage.
While this isn’t a typical situation, it shows the depth of Manulife’s capabilities. Farmland Services at Manulife is responsible for investing in physical farmland for our general accounts portfolio.
External wholesaler, Insurance Sales, Toronto
Helping advisors to find the right opportunities during the pandemic has been a key value driver in a global pivot to digital. Wholesalers have been able to give advisors the support they’ve needed; coaching them on how to set up online webinars and video calls, navigating e-application processes, helping them get comfortable using some of the marketing tools, such as the Solutions Online email campaign tool, and offering advice on shareable relevant information for posting to social media and their websites.
Impressively, more than 85 per cent of our insurance applications are now e-applications, with many advisors saying the ease of use of the Manulife e-app, along with the support of the team, is a solid reason to do business with us. After using the electronic version, many advisors say they would never go back to the paper application process.
As a wholesaler, my goal is to be a reliable source of information – a concierge – helping advisors to stay on top of tax changes, regulation changes, new products and technology, product pricing and more. Technology advancements are now also making it easier to connect advisors with the resources they need. Rather than face to face meetings, I can now arrange virtual meetings that include clients, advisors and Manulife tax and estate experts in the same call. This ability to connect with greater ease is a huge value-add for everyone involved.
A recent advisor experience stands out as a major digital success, proving that big sales are still happening in our new pandemic virtual world.
A client in their 50’s was ready for life insurance and wanted $3 million in coverage. From the start of the application process to completion, it only took five days! The advisor and I partnered to ensure the application was completed properly, and then underwriting was able to quickly make a decision. This is a great example of Manulife teamwork, our electronic application process, and the agility of our underwriting team.
Sometimes we just assume that it’s only the small cases that are processed so quickly, and that larger cases will take longer. This case was for a large estate planning need, on a whole life policy for a premium of over $100,000 a year. I think some advisors may feel that in this virtual environment they can’t make these large sales through a virtual meeting, but it absolutely is possible – and happening!
In fact, we’re seeing more and more cases like this now. The switch to digital has been very impressive – a change many advisors are embracing.
External wholesaler, Wealth Sales, Montreal
A good wholesaler isn’t afraid to challenge the advisor and ask tough questions.
As I’ve grown into my role as a Manulife wholesaler over the past eight years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed developing strong relationships with the advisors that I support. As their sounding board, I help them realize a wider range of business opportunities. While an advisor may be looking at what’s directly in front of them, I offer a broader perspective based on industry trends, best practices from other advisors, and advice from Manulife’s in-house team of experts.
It’s very satisfying knowing that I’m helping advisors who, in turn, are helping their clients save, invest, and plan for retirement.
Successful advisors are those who are willing to learn, always have an ear to the ground and want to hear about how others are running their businesses. A wholesaler can help advisors identify new opportunities, learn about new products and stay attuned to changes in the markets and consumers’ desires.
In the early days of the pandemic, when meeting with clients went exclusively online, I had an advisor who wanted to find new ways of engaging with his clients, and so we worked together to create a quarterly webinar.
I helped the advisor learn how to use the video platform, and then brainstormed with the advisor on content that would interest his clients. The advisor was able to develop a good framework and felt confident in using this new way to connect.
Client feedback was very positive, and the quarterly webinars are now a regular feature of his business. It has also been a good business builder, with the advisor receiving some new client referrals, as a result.
Patrick’s tips for success
- Commit to regular check-ins with your clients.
- Commit to using your video camera during these check-ins, because you are creating a stronger emotional connection.
- Think “less is more.” Since we’re all online all day long, and many of us are on video chat all day, consider the length of your meetings. If you used to have an hour-long client meeting face to face, consider cutting that time in half for virtual meetings. Being on camera for longer than 30 minutes can feel quite exhausting for a client.
- Be mindful of email communication to your clients – is your message concise and easy to understand? Is there an opportunity to send a short personal video message as part of your email to make an emotional connection?
Internal wholesaler, Insurance sales, Vancouver
A big part of my job is helping advisors to have that ‘ah-ha’ moment, where they can broaden their scope of thinking and see beyond simply setting a client up with a life insurance policy. That’s a great start, but what else can the advisor do for that client?
I might have an advisor working on a life insurance case, and I’ll ask if living benefits has been discussed with this client. We can dig deeper and find out why it hasn’t, or if there’s been an objection from the client. The advisor is there to help meet the client’s needs, and if they meet any resistance from their clients, I can help by giving them talking points to encourage that conversation.
I help advisors understand what they need to do to grow their business. It could be an investments-focused advisor who is starting to see opportunities with their clients for insurance, or it could be an advisor with clients who are small business owners who are setting up group benefits for their company and starting to realize that they need help with life insurance and a retirement plan.
For new advisors, I make sure they know about Manulife’s needs analysis tool called InsureRight, and how it can help to win over reluctant clients who might think they don’t need insurance coverage. Solutions Online is another tool that I review with advisors, so they understand the value of this free marketing opportunity, and how these articles, videos and worksheets compliment their conversations with clients.
I assist in creating illustrations that compare similar products in an easy-to-understand format, as well as estate and retirement concepts to help illustrate certain scenarios for clients.
Breaking down barriers
Relationship building is one of the most satisfying parts of being a wholesaler. In a recent interaction with an advisor who reached out for some assistance with a service inquiry, I noticed that this advisor hadn’t done any recent business with Manulife. The advisor agreed to having a follow-up meeting, where I gave a tour of Manulife’s extensive product shelf. From there, a stronger relationship began to develop, and I was invited to help him with a couple of cases.
Taking the time to build this relationship has resulted in more business for this advisor who now sees the value in working with a Manulife wholesaler.