Chris Karram is Co-Founder and Financial Advisor with Safebridge Financial Group in Toronto. He focuses on mortgage-centered financial planning. He took a few minutes to answer these questions for Insurance Business Canada.
1. What is your best piece of marketing or prospecting advice?
Karram: Do not be afraid of who you are or what you do. It’s so easy to shy away from a conversation or phone call to discuss insurance planning, but Canadians need the protection and potential investment opportunity we provide. As insurance brokers, it’s our job to ensure they are properly educated. It may not be the most glamorous product, but it’s a life-changer when it’s needed.
2. What works best to close a deal?
Karram: I’ve always believed that if I can truly understand a client’s situation and properly educate them on how an insurance program can help them fulfil and protect their financial goals, making a decision becomes the natural next step. Not a step that has to be “calculated” or a hard close. Truly understanding who the individual or family is and what makes them ‘tick’ is the best place to start a conversation around life insurance. Once a client has opened up with me both personally and financially, it gives me a much more holistic opportunity to create a truly unique and customized insurance program for their needs. Before any solutions are presented however, it’s essential that my clients understand both what their actual life insurance needs are, but also what their various product and strategy options are as well.
3. What product is currently selling best for you?
Karram: With a focus on life insurance, I do a lot of work with both term insurance as well as whole life insurance. I’ve always felt that when it comes to insurance, I don’t want to put my client’s money or policy at risk, which is why I like the whole life vehicle for the right situations, as opposed to those that have market variations to deal with.
4. How do you keep your pipeline of prospects full?
Karram: At this stage in my business, ensuring my existing clients know that they are valued and appreciated is the starting point for keeping my pipeline full. Whether it’s an invitation to a client appreciation event, a conversation over a bite to eat, or a simple call or e-mail to touch base, I make it my priority to ensure my clients know I’m there to help in whatever way I can. As a firm, we also put a significant focus on what we call “Mortgage Centered Financial Planning.” That means we have a team of professionals who specialize in their respective fields whether it be insurance, investment, or mortgage planning. This allows us to work together on behalf of our client’s overall needs, which provides a truly coordinated approach with the three most significant decisions most Canadians make. As a result, we are constantly in communication with our clients for various reasons, further solidifying our relationship as their trusted team of financial professionals. (continued.)
5. Where and when was your last vacation?
Karram: Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It is not only one of my favourite places on earth, but also where I married my incredible wife. As a result, we were very fortunate to celebrate our anniversary there very recently.
6. Plans for another vacation soon? Where and when?
Karram: Ironically, the Bahamas is on the horizon for the end of March to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
7. What is your favourite movie? Favourite book?
Karram: I can’t help but go back to “Remember the Titans” as a movie that showed the power of people coming together and doing life as a team despite their surroundings. I become re-inspired to lead a life that demonstrates that anything is possible if we can find a way to come together for something far greater then ourselves every time I watch the movie.
My favourite book, or at least one of them, is “Winning with Integrity” by Leigh Steinberg. For any football or sports fan, Leigh tells story after story about how he negotiates multiple million-dollar deals with a focus of creating a true win-win for everyone involved. Fascinating read, and proves to me that the good guy does win in the end.
8. Finish this sentence: “If I wasn’t selling insurance, I would be… ”
Karram: Doing exactly what I’m doing today. Helping to empower our team of mortgage and financial professionals to experience growth together in their own environment and with their own goals. Nothing gets me more excited than seeing a light bulb click and having a chance to play even a small role in the growth of one of our team members, both professionally and financially.