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  • Writer's pictureDaywey Chen

Trading competitive advantage to reach a win-win outcome

Economics 101, trading makes everyone better off. Apply the same principle to your sales strategy to create a win-win outcome

Building trust is the fundamental for every sales transaction. Some products may need a high level of trust, some products may need less, but no matter what, there needs to be some level of trust between the parties. For example, I trust that once I hand over the cash to you, you will give me the product. I trust the e-commerce platform with my credit card transaction and I trust the product would be delivered to me. I trust the car dealer will continue to service my car under warranty...The same goes for the insurance plan that I was trying to sell as an insurance broker.

Insurance is a product that requires a high level of trust. Before a purchase could happen, the consumer needs to trust the agent. To trust the agent will provide after sales services for insurance claims. To trust the agent will sell what is best for him and not the product with the highest commission. As insurance is considered a long-term product, since you usually continue to pay for the product per annum over 30~50 years... its not a onetime purchase product.

So how did I build up trust with the people that I have just met, or even better, with people that didn't even know? The answer is "I don't "

As an insurance broker my competitive advantage is that I am able to sell insurance product from many different insurance companies. During that time I have products from more than 15 companies in my portfolio. If the client doesn't like a product from company A, I could easily provide another product from company B to him. I could pick out the best products that best meet the clients need from the vast portfolio. However, the disadvantage of an insurance broker is that I do not have leads provided to me. I have to go out and find my own leads and somehow turn them into customers. On the other hand, wealth managers at the banks has these leads given to them. People go to the banks to run chores, make deposit, withdraw money, make fund transfer, pay bills and purchase financial products. There is a steady source of customers at the bank, in turn becoming a steady lead source for the wealth managers. However, the disadvantage of the wealth managers is that they do not carry many insurance products. Usually banks that own their own insurance company will only sell insurance product from their insurance company. As result, they lack the diversified portfolio that I possess.

Now given both parties advantage and disadvantage, I reached out to the wealth managers at the bank, to make my pitch on potential collaboration. Knowing that it is the banks' policy that wealth mangers are not allowed to pass on the banks clients' information to other channels, my pitch went something like this...

Please only refer clients to me when you are absolutely sure that you are not going to close a deal. With all the efforts that you have put in, either the client walks out of the door or you could collaborate with me to close this client together.

Furthermore, how do you define "bank's client". If the wealth manager has known a person before this person becomes a bank's client, could the wealth manager refer this person to me as his friend and not as a bank's client? How about this wealth manager's family and relative that has an account with the bank? Could the wealth manager refer his dad, mom, brother, cousin... to me as a family member instead of as a bank's client?

At the end of the day, the definition of "bank's client" is a grey area. I just need to come up with an excuse for the wealth managers to help them justify their action in doing business with me.

With the level of information transparency today, clients could easily conduct research online to find information about the insurance product available on the market. Each insurance company has its competitive products and its less competitive products, I found that no insurance company has all the best product across all of its product line. As result, the wealth managers are often being challenged by their customers.

By identifying the pain point of the wealth managers, I was able to get these wealth managers to work with me. Handing over leads that I sometimes didn't even met. I provide the product, and the wealth manager does the losing. This is a win-win situation.

I do not have to build up trust with these leads, because these leads trust the wealth managers. I could take advantage of the connection that they have built up among themselves.

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