The Need for Training

By: godonovan

If IFAs and Life Assurance Companies are to compete effectively with the direct sales channels that are trading today and with the many more about to appear in the next 24 months then they must first realise exactly what they have to do.

If they want to keep, never mind increase, their market share they must grow, and grow effectively. In fact to stand still is to slowly die because their market share will slowly be eroded. If their aim is to increase their market share they have to come to the realisation that this can only be achieved by recruiting new people. Not chasing the small numbers of industry trained professionals that are already working in the business.

New blood is, and has always been, the way to generate the enhanced levels of business that most of the Life Companies want and will need. There are only so many existing trained people to go around anyway. Companies must also engender and breed loyalty among their people so that they stay because they want to; not simply because they perhaps get paid a bit more.

This is where the benefit of not just professional training but the right training comes in. Most companies are prepared to, and do spend fortunes, on qualification training - that is to get peopled qualified to do the job - however, this is less than half of what is required. If they dont reinforce this with the proper Development, Motivational and Empowerment training they will soon find that all they have done is recruit and train an individual for someone elses team. Many of the senior sales managers I talk to moan about the fact that all they seem to do is act as a recruiting pool for other companies.

The cost of training and empowering someone efficiently and professionally need not amount to more than one thirtieth of their annual salary or earnings. A tiny investment when considered in the long term. And yet, a great majority of senior management still fail to appreciate the concept that to have a chance you must take a chance.

The need for professional training is obvious, not just training the new recruits but, more importantly, training the existing trainers and managers in the skills and techniques needed to build an environment in which new recruits can grow and prosper long term. Unfortunately in most companies ( and that includes IFAs and Insurance Companies ) the training is done by people who seem to vie with each other to see who has the highest attrition rate. In fact on looking at many of the training managers currently in the employ of many companies I can only marvel at the fact that they have achieved so considerable a position on so little talent.


The way that the life insurance industry is going now a lot of companies are down sizing, getting rid of middle management structures, getting rid of branch offices in many cases. More and more life assurance consultants are having to work from home. The life assurance companies are using technology very, very heavily (laptops at home) and therefore the need for self motivation, self-discipline, the skills to do the job are even more necessary than they were before.

Not only do people have to go through FPCs 1,2 & 3 but the new advanced certificates which are reckoned to be very hard for the average person, there is a move in the industry that these will soon become compulsory. Therefore, if people are working from home there is a greater need for self-discipline to study for these.

Because of the great emphasis on technology and technical training, new sales people when they leave their courses, come out with their laptops and lots of technical knowledge but very little basic sales skills.

This is a people business - it is not a technology business, although it may be driven by technology. At the end of the day people must sell.

NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) a skill, a tool, a method, that is incredibly effective and quick in real terms and yet very few training managers have heard of this.

I am not saying that you must have it but it is a time-tested technique. Can they afford to ignore this, well, obviously they feel they can.

A different time - a different industry. They must move along or like the dinosaurs become extinct.

Not being proactive in actively looking for skills, methods and technique that can be helpful.

Many life companies concentrate on what is best for them instead of what is best for the person ( the people)

Zig Ziglers quote You can get anything you want out of life as long as you help enough other people get what they want first

Today more and more financial advisors and especially people in the IFA market are working on their own from home, therefore the life companies must support them as they will promote life time business for them .

They must help people develop a long fulfilling financial-rewarding career in this wonderful industry.

Because so many people are working on their own at home it is even more necessary that they have self-motivation, self-discipline and the business skills needed to develop their own individual business.

Charles Handy, one of the top economists in the world today, has made the point that people must get used to change more than anything else.

Regarding the life assurance companies someone will have to bite the bullet.. Take a chance if you want to stand a chance.

We have a much higher attrition rate in the financial services industry in the United Kingdom, unlike the USA who understand the need for personal development training.

A major and dramatic paradigm shift is required on behalf of the industry.

Specialist troops need specialist training by specialists.


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Gerard is the CEO of Noble Manhattan Coaching. Contact Gerard at [email protected]. Gerard shares his rich coaching expertise freely with you through his blog at Download free coaching books for your development at

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