PEOPLE buy life insurance to ensure that they and their loved ones are protected financially if something unforeseen happens.

Those who work in the insurance industry need to educate their clients on the importance of financial planning. They must also provide them with peace of mind.

So while a job in insurance may be financially rewarding, caring about the well-being of others makes it a meaningful career. The most successful financial consultants are those who genuinely want to help others.

Financial consultants who approach their profession with a sense of responsibility and do their best to help clients make informed choices derive the most satisfaction from what they do for a living. This business is based on sound principles. If you help people get what they want, you will get what you want.

Prescription after diagnosis

In the medical world, “prescription without diagnosis is tantamount to malpractice”. Just as a doctor needs to diagnose the symptoms before prescribing medication to cure the patient, a good financial consultant determines the client’s risk profile, understands each person’s unique needs and objectives, and recommends the most suitable financial products.

There is no one-size-fits-all financial plan in this industry. As each person’s DNA is unique, so too are his needs — depending on age, life stage, income level, risk appetite, time horizon, job and aspirations in life, just to name a few variables.

The role of a financial consultant has changed. As regulatory requirements become more stringent and as the industry continues to mature, financial consultants find themselves wearing a different “suit” from their predecessors.

Today’s financial consultant has evolved from an insurance agent selling insurance products to a trusted partner. He or she must not only be knowledgeable and technically competent, they also need to be on their toes and up to date on local, regional and international news and changes that might impact the industry and the financial world as a whole.

IQ, EQ and SQ

A good financial consultant exemplifies the “IQ, EQ and SQ” formula. While IQ or intelligence and technical skills are important for understanding the financial industry, having high EQ (emotional intelligence) is just as crucial. A successful financial consultant is a good listener, relates well with people, empathises with his clients and is sensitive to their needs and aspirations.

A dedicated financial consultant must learn to walk in the shoes of his customer and persevere with the mindset that as long as one more person takes up an insurance policy, whether to cover his hospitalisation needs or a critical illness, or to invest for his future and that of his loved ones, that person is certainly better protected than the one who does not.

A critical component that a good financial consultant needs is SQ — the spiritual quotient or the determination to win and bounce back each time there is a setback. It is said that success is 1 per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration. This certainly applies to financial consultants!

To succeed, one needs to persist, persevere and most importantly, find the purpose behind the mission to stay motivated and focused. For those who really believe that what they are doing on a daily basis can be life-altering for others, success will come.

Education is key

In selling insurance, it is imperative that customers clearly understand the “whys” for the purchase and that requires some education in the sales process. The core of this job is to educate prospective clients on the importance of preparing for the “ifs” in life.

Converting non-believers into investors in insurance is not about persuasion. It is an educational process that financial consultants have been entrusted with.

The essence of being a financial consultant is in the “heart-ship”: always feel with your heart, sell with understanding of your clients’ needs and never lose sight of the overall mission to help people achieve financial security.

Every one wants to live a long and healthy life, but if unforeseen circumstances come knocking on your door — the question is, “are you prepared?”

Helping clients to be prepared is the essential service financial consultants offer. My perspective is that it is good to buy life insurance not because someone must die, but because someone must live.