Selling insurance across cultures

Cultural diversity is a major component of life in big cities. For example, according to Business Insider, as many as 800 languages are spoken in New York City. There are a few helpful things  to be aware of, however, if you have the opportunity to do business with people from a culture different from yours, such as the following:

1.  Be inclusive, not exclusive. Niches are a fine marketing strategy, but carefully consider turning business away. You are in the business of helping people. Lots of people need insurance.

2.  Cultural inclusion. One of the most logical ways to establish a presence within a culture is to add qualified people to your staff who speak the language and share the same roots.

3.  Be respectful.  Anyone who chooses to work with you is giving the opportunity to develop a long-term relationship with referral potential. 

4.  Core values.  To an outsider, people from other cultures may seem different. Language, clothing or hairstyles might be different. Look past apparent differences on the surface. Everyone wants to give the next generation the opportunity for a better life. Parents will sacrifice for their children. Education is considered a universal path for advancement. They want the best for their family. Many cultures have a tradition of caring for their elders. Meanwhile, the elders don’t want to be a financial burden to their children. These issues can be addressed through insurance.

5.  Your culture isn’t better than theirs. While it’s easy to be critical of another’s background, choose respect instead. Many people honor a rich heritage and traditions. Enjoy learning more about it.  

6.  Death can be a touchy subject. When talking about life insurance, death often comes up in the conversation. Some cultures, however, consider it unlucky to talk about death. It implies they might be next. Learn the cultural norms and the acceptable expressions.

7.  Referrals. Family is important in all cultures; yet in some, the importance is amplified. If you do a good job for a client, they could be a key person for referrals, especially with their families. Be alert to developing this opportunity.

In your practice, you will likely come across prospects from different cultural backgrounds. Consider this an opportunity.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.

Read more about selling insurance across cultures in “A familia affair.” (Available in nine languages)


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