By Scott Rich
The recent recession and unemployment crisis have led to Americans struggling to find work in addition to an increased uncertainty about their financial futures.
For the life-insurance industry, however, the recession has created opportunity. With millions of people being unsure of how to plan for retirement and how they are going to be able to financially achieve their life goals, Financial Representatives are needed now more than ever before. To fill this gap, mutual insurers like Guardian Life are putting significant efforts into recruiting.
Sometimes an overlooked field, the role of a Financial Representative is especially suited for entrepreneurial business owners and those who feel unfulfilled with their current jobs looking for a career change. With intensive, on-the-job training and mentoring programs, the position requires little-to-no prior financial-planning experience.
Starting a new career can be extremely difficult, especially in the midst of continued high unemployment throughout the country. At the same time, Guardian has led its industry for over a decade in giving Financial Representatives the best chance to start a new career and survive for the long-term.
Below are a few traits that we look for in potential Financial Representatives.
A Commitment to Lifelong Learning
Top Financial Representatives are constantly evolving to help meet their clients most challenging, and specific, financial-planning needs. Therefore, being coachable and the commitment to career development are essential to thrive in this industry.
A Desire to Help People
Our industry revolves around assisting clients in realizing their most important life goals. The most successful Financial Representatives are ones who build their businesses around helping others. The ability to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve provides a tremendous sense of meaning to Financial Representatives – for they truly experience the value of their work.
Well Developed Business and Social Networks
Having well-developed networks of contacts give Representatives an advantage, as meeting new prospects and getting referrals from existing contacts are the main drivers of success in a financial service career.
Since Financial Representatives essentially work for themselves, having an entrepreneurial spirit is a vital aspect of successful Financial Representatives. Although mutual companies like Guardian Life give you the support and the training needed to start and build your business, you have the autonomy to make it as successful as your passion will take it. Candidates who are able to see the big picture, and are comfortable with building a practice over three to four years into a thriving business typically end up as the most successful Financial Representatives.
The ability to be self-motivated when it comes to managing time and clients is directly related to one’s ability to reach personal and professional goals. Although this is generally the case for most jobs; the role of a Financial Representative is multifaceted and results-oriented. Applicants who have established track records of success and a well-developed ability to prioritize are the more likely to build top performing planning practices.
What’s perhaps the most interesting fact is that those entering Guardian’s sales-force come from hundreds of different backgrounds and occupations. It is these personality traits, coupled with hard work and one’s desire to succeed that really determine results. While experience and potential markets help, who you are is truly the most important factor of success in this industry.
Scott Rich, Field Vice President of FR Recruiting of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, works to implement strategies and processes to drive recruiting, selection and retention efforts across the organization. Mr. Rich graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fairfield University, where he holds a B.A. degree. In addition to his CLU and ChFC degrees from the American College, Mr. Rich holds Series 6, 7 and 24 licenses, has completed AMTC’s management program, and is Integrity Selling and Covey Seven Habits facilitator-trained. He received Guardian’s CEO Achievement Award in 2011, and has spoken at both LAMP and LIMRA's Distribution Conference.