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Encouraging interruptions

Matt Pais

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If a client's phone rings during a meeting, should you prompt them to answer?
Perhaps you frown on clients answering their phones during a meeting — you hope they’re engaged in your conversation and would think twice about an interruption.

In fact, you should make sure they answer a call they receive, said Brian Nicholas Byars, a one-year MDRT member from Covington, Georgia.

To Byars, this is a great way to gauge how the client sees you and what else they should know about what you do. For example, if the client answers the phone and says, “I’m sitting here with my life insurance agent,” it represents an opportunity to tell the client about, say, what you could do to help with estate planning.

“It pays off weekly,” he said. “I want them to understand what we offer, and that instead of having five to six people helping you throughout town, you could have all that under one roof from people who work together constantly.”

This is a great way to gauge how the client sees you and what else they should know.

Byars recently met with a client who’d come in for an annual review, having worked with him on an annuity years before. “She answered her phone and said, ‘Hey, I’m with my insurance guy,’ so we had a conversation about wills, trusts and tax services,” he said.

The client wound up setting up another meeting and communicating concerns about one of her daughters — that her husband would divorce her and take her inheritance — and being able to leave money behind for her grandkids.

It began the process of Byars helping the client establish a trust for her daughters to protect their money, and both daughters have since contacted Byars’ office to discuss their own financial circumstances. The client also has referred another client to Byars.

“It was all simply from listening to her phone conversation and knowing she looked at me as an insurance guy because we sold her an annuity 10 years before, and we never explained to her everything we offer," Byars said.


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