When it comes to the life settlement industry, we at the Ashar Group are known not only as influencers but as thought leaders. Still, we've found that no matter whether you're just starting out in the industry or are a seasoned professional, there's no harm in picking up a book during your time off.
Top performers in many industries are avid readers, and it's no surprise why: choosing to seek self-improvement communicates a certain level of commitment to the job at hand, and there are so many skills to improve upon. Below, you'll find a list of six books that we recommend for learning how to better communicate with clients, hone your negotiation techniques, and refine your leadership skills.
"Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini
While the title may be alarming, this is a really important read in any sales-based field. Dr. Cialdini is a well-respected social psychologist who studied sales techniques and human behavior in the field for five years. This book details the six universal principles that he determined influence human behavior: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Because not everyone will be as honest as we are at Ashar Group, it's important to arm yourself with knowledge of these principles to avoid being taken advantage of by dishonest people. Being aware of these tactics will truly help you to better advocate for, represent, and warn your client against unscrupulous behavior.
"People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts" by Robert Bolton
While this book was written in 1986, it is still a completely relevant guide to today's best practices in ethical communication. "People Skills" teaches you how to improve your body language, listening skills, and conflict resolution without ever sounding like a textbook. It also explains the 12 most common roadblocks to best communication and how to avoid them while still getting your needs met in business relationships. This is one book for financial planners and their clients alike.
"Questions and Answers on Life Insurance: The Life Insurance Toolbook" by Tony Steuer
This short guidebook works well as an introduction to the life settlement industry for anyone who's recently entered it, particularly as a financial planner or advisor. Its Q&A format may help you most succinctly answer client queries about the secondary life insurance market. This book not only takes a photograph of the big picture, but also develops some of the finer details of the industry without being overwhelming, so it might be a good book to recommend for any very curious client.
"Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds" by Carmine Gallo
TED is short for Technology, Education and Design. These short,themed speeches are famous for their insight on all topics from industry leaders and important thinkers of the day. Here at Ashar Group, we think that ethical communication and transparency are two of the most important assets to have in the life settlement industry, and being able to express yourself that way will get you closer to achieving your dreams and communicating well with your client. However, that doesn't mean it's easy to do! Public speaking is the number one phobia in the United States, but even if you're only speaking one-to-one, knowing how to speak well in front of audiences will translate into confidence and command respect.
"Life Insurance" by Dorlan H. Francis
Francis has a unique perspective on the life insurance industry: he discusses life insurance from social and philosophical points of view, and regardless of whether you agree or disagree on his points, his book will definitely perk up your conversations around the water cooler and with your client. This academic read will make you seem like the most well-read life insurance professional in the room.
"Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow" by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie
While some people in power are managers, the most successful are the ones who are leaders. Rath and Conchie researched over 1 million work teams, 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders across all industries, and 10,000 followers to find the three key principles to make you a better leader. These ideas—investing in individuals' strengths, surrounding yourself with the right people, and understanding your followers' needs— are sure to improve your performance in the life settlement industry when put into place.
Six minutes of reading a book is enough to reduce stress by 68 percent and is said to improve comprehension as well as increase empathy. Have you read any of the books for life insurance industry professionals on this list? Have we missed any great books for financial planners, attorneys, CPAs, or trustees involved in the life insurance settlement business? Reach out to us on social media and let us know your thoughts.