Northwestern Mutual Interview

67 replies [Last post]
Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

I have an interview with Northwestern Mutual (Financial Network) on Tuesday. Does anyone have any experiences, suggestions (or warnings) for me?Thanks!(hmmm....maybe I should get a new username)

svm21's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-05-07

Your a shoe in. 

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

For the most part, anyone half decent can get hired.   Just don't accept a position without looking at the competition also.

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

They will probably at some point ask you for a list of people you can go see on a favorable basis.  They will not call those people or share the list with other agents no matter what the idiots on here claim.A guy working for a wirehouse puts together a list of people he knows and it's considered building a list and good business sense to hit the ground runningA guy working for an insurance company does it and people scream that it's multi-level-marketing or some sortof scam to rip your family and friends off.

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

I'll really laugh if I get that pitch...

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

Still@jones wrote:I'll really laugh if I get that pitch...The purpose of it is so they can gauge your natural market.  They're probably not going to hire someone with no friends and no business connections.  It's an advantage to you being that you have a list if you need it to fill your calendar.   You can set your own marketing plan.  The most successful people I know in this business work mostly with people they network with or are referred to but if you don't want to do that you're not obligated to.

svm21's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-05-07

Berkshire you HAVE to work for Northwestern. Come on man. Why are you so private about your company? Everyone else here is wide open. Let it out. It feels good. You can do it. Trust me.

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

Yeah Berkshire! I'll see you on Tuesday at 10:00.Remember, I take cream & sugar

Baba Booey's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-01-05

If you got fired from Jones, you might get hired by NMFN, but have very little chance of surviving.  Selling whole life is more difficult than selling investments, and you don't get a salary.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

There is a 0% chance that Berkshire Bull is a Northwestern Agent.  Those guys are all about  Northwestern Mutual whole life insurance.  Berkshire Bull is a universal life guy.

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

anonymous wrote:For the most part, anyone half decent can get hired.   Just don't accept a position without looking at the competition also.There sure is alot of competition. Anyone you would recommend?

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

Their major competitors are New York Life, Mass Mutual, and Guardian.

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

Still@jones wrote:Yeah Berkshire! I'll see you on Tuesday at 10:00.Remember, I take cream & sugar

 
 
My boss just told me to pick something up from the bakery on my way to work next Tuesday.  I'm assuming it's for his meeting with you.  Do you prefer doughnuts or coffee cake?

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

anonymous wrote:There is a 0% chance that Berkshire Bull is a Northwestern Agent.  Those guys are all about  Northwestern Mutual whole life insurance.  Berkshire Bull is a universal life guy.

 
I'm not a universal life guy, I'm a whatever's right for the client guy
 
I sell WL on occasion for final expense policies if they want a face lower than $50k

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

BerkshireBull wrote:My boss just told me to pick something up from the bakery on my way to work next Tuesday.  I'm assuming it's for his meeting with you.  Do you prefer doughnuts or coffee cake?I'll take 2 jelly donuts and a $100k whole life policy...thanks!

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

As long as you are a, "whatever's right for the client guy", you'll ultimately stop being a universal life guy.
 
All companies are in business for one primary reason.  They want to make as much money as possible.  For whom do they want to make this money?  They want to make it for the owners of the company.  Stock companies are owned by stock holders.  Mutual companies are owned by policy holders.  Therefore, the purpose of a stock company is to make money for the stock holders and the purpose of a mutual company is to make money for the policy holders.
 
It's not coincidental that stock companies sell primarily universal life while the mutual companies sell participating whole life policies.   Stock companies sell universal life because there responsibility is to the stock holders and not to the policy holders.  Mutuals are the exact opposite. 
 
Universal life is best for the stock holders.  Participating whole life is what is best for the policy holders. 
 
Look at it another way.  There must be profit.  With a participating WL policy, the policy holder gets the profit.  With UL, stock holders get the profit.
 
(All of this is generally speaking and UL is sometimes the best solution.)

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

Still@jones wrote: BerkshireBull wrote:
My boss just told me to pick something up from the bakery on my way to work next Tuesday.  I'm assuming it's for his meeting with you.  Do you prefer doughnuts or coffee cake?I'll take 2 jelly donuts and a $100k whole life policy...thanks!

 
My boss said the guy coming in Tuesday Morning has a bit of a weight problem and told me to pickup some fruit and whole wheat bagels.  Sorry still@

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

It's just a beer belly...

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

I just had my first interview with them on Thursday. My second interview is on Tuesday. I am coming from a Commodities background and this stuff is Greek to me. If anyone has any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.

Royalewitcheese's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-02-19

Lionheart wrote:I just had my first interview with them on Thursday. My second interview is on Tuesday. I am coming from a Commodities background and this stuff is Greek to me. If anyone has any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.
 
It's 100% commission, 70% payout on first year life insurance premiums. When I went in the manager told me the average person makes $35k a year, 24k on the low end, 50k on the high end. But, it really just depends on how hard you work, your natural market, etc. If you don't have a natural market then I wouldn't even try unless you have a lot of money saved up for those dry weeks/months.

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

I was told that I would be paid a salary plus commissions but the girl from my 1st interview said that salary and such will be explained in my next interview (interview 2 is about marketing). Is the salary thing only through training? I'm 100% commission now and it doesn't bother me, but learning something new and starting from scratch will be a challenge at straight commission.

svm21's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-05-07

Royalewitcheese wrote:Lionheart wrote:I just had my first interview with them on Thursday. My second interview is on Tuesday. I am coming from a Commodities background and this stuff is Greek to me. If anyone has any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.
 
It's 100% commission, 70% payout on first year life insurance premiums. When I went in the manager told me the average person makes $35k a year, 24k on the low end, 50k on the high end. But, it really just depends on how hard you work, your natural market, etc. If you don't have a natural market then I wouldn't even try unless you have a lot of money saved up for those dry weeks/months. Nope.Its 85% payout and $8,000 grand up front. Alot of reps take/took out loans their first year. You will only be selling insurance your first three years. In fact they won't sponser you for your 7 unless your Four years+. Good luck.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

Lionheart, there won't be any real salary, unless the GA feels like it.  If there is a salary, it will come at the expense of commissions.  What happens with most of the career agency systems is that they have to follow the laws of NY state.  These laws limit the commissions that can be paid.  I don't remember what the limits are, but companies are allowed to pay enhanced commissions for a few years.  There is a cap on this, and it is probably between $25,000-$30,000.
 
This means that first year reps can get a commission bump.  This is usually a % of first year's commission.  If the typical sale of a NW product has a 55% commission, a first year rep, might get a 50% bump on this for a payout of 82.5%.  (I don't know if these numbers are correct.)  Once the limit has been hit, there won't be any additional payment.
 
Getting sponsored or not sponsored for the 7 has nothing to do with the company and everything to do with the GA.   If a rookie is doing very well, there's no doubt in my mind that almost any GA will allow them to take the 7.  Lot's of time, agents need to play, "Let's Make a Deal."  "Hey, GA, I'd rather take the 7 than the 6.  Will you allow me to take it if I produce 10 lives a month for the next 3 months."

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

anonymous wrote: Lionheart, there won't be any real salary, unless the GA feels like it.  If there is a salary, it will come at the expense of commissions.  What happens with most of the career agency systems is that they have to follow the laws of NY state.  These laws limit the commissions that can be paid.  I don't remember what the limits are, but companies are allowed to pay enhanced commissions for a few years.  There is a cap on this, and it is probably between $25,000-$30,000.
 
This means that first year reps can get a commission bump.  This is usually a % of first year's commission.  If the typical sale of a NW product has a 55% commission, a first year rep, might get a 50% bump on this for a payout of 82.5%.  (I don't know if these numbers are correct.)  Once the limit has been hit, there won't be any additional payment.
Thanks for the info. The woman that I interviewed with told me that 1st year Reps make about $55,000 which isn't a heck of a lot more than the salary that she had mentioned. Also, I was told that I would have to get my Series 6 and 63 in addition to the life insurance license, so I guess that I am being groomed for investments as well.

I really have no clue what I am getting myself into and/or how all of this works. It's all very mysterious. I am told that I will interview 4-5 times. This first interview was short and sweet, and I didn't get to ask very many questions. She asked me a lot about me and my current job like what I like and dislike, but products, services, and pay were not really discussed. The next interview is my marketing interview. I guess that is to see who I know and where I can potentially sell to.

ChrisVarick's picture
Offline
Joined: 2008-09-04

Anonymouse is correct, universally NWM pays enhanced commissions, but some GAs throw extra "compensation" just to get your feet wet. For example, when I interviewed with them, it was around an extra $4000 for the first couple months. NOT $4000 per month, but $4000 disbursed over the course of the next few months (even if you don't produce and just sit on your behind). However, that GA also charged for office fees which pretty much offsets the "beginner's salary."
The simplest way to understand the offer is a ZERO base salary job. In the end, career agencies are all the same in that they pay bonuses IF and ONLY if you produce. Otherwise any money they're throwing at you is paying for the fees they have yet to mentioned in the interview process.

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

Zero base doesn't bother me as long as the payout is good. There is no base salary where I am now either, but we do pay a salary while you train, get licensed, and such.

I was told that I would get a $4000 stipend, but I guess that is only through the training program. I assumed that the $4000 would be paid monthly. If it's $4000 over a few months I think that I will stay where I am. I can't wait to find out exactly how they payout.

IMO, I can sell anything. My main concern is that my circle of friends and family are not "big money". Judging by these interview materials it seems as if they really want you to focus on friends and family contacts. I have no problem cold calling or even pounding the pavement, so I might have to rely on that.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

It does not matter if your family and friends have big money.   They do want you to focus on them, but the key with these people is referrals and not sales.   
There are a couple of reasons for this.
1) You probably won't be a good insurance salesman in the beginning.  When you get referred to somebody, they will typically meet with you or not meet with you based upon the respect that they have for the person who gave you the referral.  If there is a lot of respect, they are going into the first meeting looking to think highly of you.
 
2) It's often a much longer sales cycle when one makes cold calls. 
 
I'm experienced and I make cold calls.  If I would have made cold calls in the beginning of my career instead of working on referrals, I would have failed.

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

Good luck today still@ go get em!Keep us informed!

NML Rep 2003's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-12

You should be very careful before signing anything.
 
NML targets an upscale market, but I have seen many Financial Reps who lived anything but upscale lives.
 
You might want to see if your prospective agency has an orphans program.
 
Chances are that the agency has a block of business which has not been called upon in years.  See if you can get some names of orphan policyowers.
 
That will give you some folks upon whom to call.  The downside is you will be forced to share some of your commission with the General Agent.
 
If your cash flow is precarious, you might want to get a part time job evenings and weekends.  One producer in our agency drove charter buses and limos while building his business.  Another worked receptions at Ridgewell's Caterers back in the 1990's.
 
What ever you do, learn by heart the Granum language.  You can use it in any business.

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

Interview went very well and I am already scheduled for a second interview. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of their training program and how things were organized. I'm not sure I am the right person for their initial prospecting/business building strategy (I don't want to make dual sales calls to my family); but I would guess that since I am already licensed, they may be flexible with this. I have an interview with Guardian tomorrow, so it will be interesting to compare.

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

Had my 2nd interview yesterday. So far so good.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

NML Rep 2003 wrote:You should be very careful before signing anything.
 
NML targets an upscale market, but I have seen many Financial Reps who lived anything but upscale lives.
 
You might want to see if your prospective agency has an orphans program.
 
Chances are that the agency has a block of business which has not been called upon in years.  See if you can get some names of orphan policyowers.
 
That will give you some folks upon whom to call.  The downside is you will be forced to share some of your commission with the General Agent.
 
If your cash flow is precarious, you might want to get a part time job evenings and weekends.  One producer in our agency drove charter buses and limos while building his business.  Another worked receptions at Ridgewell's Caterers back in the 1990's.
 
What ever you do, learn by heart the Granum language.  You can use it in any business.

Sorry, but I have reading garbage like this.  NML reps, like most reps, start by targeting qualified prospects.  In the beginning, they do the "mirror test".  If they can fog a mirror, they are a qualified prospect.   Going upscale happens over time.  Some of the best reps realize that they can make tons of money without going very upscale.
 
A good GA won't force you to share commissions.  Is the GA even allowed to earn commissions?  I don't know about NML in this regard.  The GA has a vested interest in your success.  Taking commission dollars away leads to failure and not success. 

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

Still@jones wrote:Interview went very well and I am already scheduled for a second interview. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of their training program and how things were organized. I'm not sure I am the right person for their initial prospecting/business building strategy (I don't want to make dual sales calls to my family); but I would guess that since I am already licensed, they may be flexible with this. I have an interview with Guardian tomorrow, so it will be interesting to compare.
What were your thoughts on Guardian?

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

NML was saying your first few sales calls are dual calls. I would just need to be there and watch another Rep do the talking. They said it would be a 50/50 split on commission. If I was right out of college, I might go along with something like that for the experience...but I have enough experience to know I'm qualified to pitch a insurance policy by myself. They gave me the "survey" forms (interestingly similar to EJ). I'm beginning to wonder if they even looked at my resume.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

Still@jones wrote:NML was saying your first few sales calls are dual calls. I would just need to be there and watch another Rep do the talking. They said it would be a 50/50 split on commission. If I was right out of college, I might go along with something like that for the experience...but I have enough experience to know I'm qualified to pitch a insurance policy by myself. They gave me the "survey" forms (interestingly similar to EJ). I'm beginning to wonder if they even looked at my resume.

Your resume doesn't matter.  They're willing to throw you agains the wall to see if you stick. 
 
You have a serious attitude problem and don't even know it.  Are you so qualified with "pitching" insurance that you can't learn from seeing others in action?   Here's some great advice.  At least one time, you should do joint work with every experienced rep in the office.  You'll learn something everytime.  Sometimes, you will learn what not to do.
 
By the way, if you do the first few sales on your own, you are guaranteed to screw something up even though the prospect agrees to buy. 

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

I was very impressed with Guardian. I think their "living balance
sheet" shows that they've made a solid investment in technology (which
I believe is important). There's also no satellite dish and I didn't
see anyone looking up bonds on green screens!!!
ps: Of course I know I have an attitude problem...I know everything!

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

I've been to three interviews so far. The 4th is Tuesday. With this next step, I am interviewing/surveying friends, family, and a couple of strangers as part of a "Market Information Survey". Of course this will help me to identify, recognize, and build my target markets which seems to be a very large part of the interview process, and of the business itself.

The strangers part of the survey I guess eludes to the door knocking aspect of the business. I figured that I would mostly be setting appointments over the phone via referrals and such. Am I mistaken? How much door-knocking should I expect to do at NWM should I get the job?

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

I'm in the same process and have a week to do my surveys. I was told these "stranger" surveys are just people I don't know, but get referred to. I never was told door-knocking. Just referrals.

svm21's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-05-07

make them up. I did. 

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

Still@jones wrote: I'm in the same process and have a week to do my surveys. I was told these "stranger" surveys are just people I don't know, but get referred to. I never was told door-knocking. Just referrals.
Okay, but I am just wondering what to expect. Once I set up my marketing plans, after I solicit those 100-200 people in my target market(s), where do I go from there besides the obvious referrals? It seems that everyone I meet makes the job sound easy, but taking this job will change my life. I imagine it will be positive for the long term, but extremely negative (second/side job, possibly losing friends) in the short term. I'm trying to find out all I can so that I can make a smart decision.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

Don't make them up.  The reality is that the market surveys are very close to what you will be doing on the job.  You'll be calling people for the purpose of having a conversation with them.  After having a conversation, you will want to get the names of other people with whom you can have a conversation.  If you can do this, and actually spend your time doing this every day, you will make a very nice living. 
 
It's very simple.  It's not easy.

wolverine50's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-09

I second that.  When I had to do these surveys about a month ago, I thought it was a real pain.  In hindsight, it was a great way to really size up the job before you sign on.  A red flag should pop up if you feel really uncomfortable with the process (although I think everybody is a little apprehensive approaching their peers).  At any rate, I wish you both the best of luck.

BerkshireBull's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-06-10

Doing the market surveys is a great low-pressure way to get in front of people you know and find out who is open to you coming back when you're hired and who is not interested.  The people you talk to doing the market surveys will be your first clients.

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

Interview 4 down. I feel like I basically have the job. My natural market is only 175 people and they want 250 before sales school. I didn't understand the importance of the surveys and how they set up your business. I also didn't understand that they have sales school entry requirements.

Before sales school I need 250 contacts or leads, and I need to have my licenses. I figure if sales school starts in October, I'd better start studying now which means that I'd better get a second/night job or side hustle if I am going to make this thing work (no real savings). That 90 day ramping up period is no joke I hear.

I guess that I have some thinking to do... and some praying to do.

Any advice? Thoughts? Opinions?

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

Of your 250 contacts, if you are respected, most will agree to meet with you.  The key to your early success is going to hinge on your ability to get referrals from these people.   You must learn to get referrals at a first meeting.  If you don't make a sale and don't get a referral, you worked for free.
 
Let's say that you start with 250 people and 150 of them agree to meet with you.  If you can get 3 referrals on average from them, you will have 450 new people to call plus most of the 100 that didn't meet with you plus most of the 150 who did meet with you.
 
If you don't get referrals from them or don't get enough or think that you have to wait until you make a sale, you will quickly run out of people and have to survive on cold calling. 
 
Why cold call if you don't need to do so.  In the insurance business, unlike the wirehouse model, cold calling is really optional.  It shouldn't be done out of necessity.  Rather, it can be done simply as a supplement or as a way to get into markets where you don't have an in.
 
 

Still@jones's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-03-22

anonymous wrote:Still@jones wrote:...I'm beginning to wonder if they even looked at my resume.

.....Your resume doesn't matter.  They're willing to throw you against the wall to see if you stick. All I'm saying is my resume says I met over #,### door-knocking prospects and they are telling me to fill out a survey "to see if I am comfortable doing this job". I didn't like getting their generic script. Kinda like when my Edward Jones ATL called me and read duplicate questions from her script with no regard for my previous answers. She sounded like a high school freshman reading in class.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

In order to succeed in this business, you have to be willing to do things that you don't like doing.  That's why this job is very difficult and very profitable.
 
Your likes and dislikes of their recruiting process isn't relevant. 

Lionheart's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-08-08

Well I can and did roll with the punches, but I was pretty disappointed that the importance of these questionnaires was not explained to me. I was told that it was simply a survey. Today they are asking me about overcoming objections and such. This HR chick is trying to tell me which sales techniques I should have and could have used and coming from someone who has never closed a window I was like

If I had known that I was laying the groundwork for my eventual book, I would have handled it much differently. However, with little to no product knowledge, no license, and without a clear understanding of the exercise, I half-assed it. Oh well, I need 75 more names before I can go to sales school so I guess I'd better start doing more surveys.

voltmoie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2008-11-05

anonymous wrote:In order to succeed in this business, you have to be willing to do things that you don't like doing.  That's why this job is very difficult and very profitable.
 
Your likes and dislikes of their recruiting process isn't relevant.  I think that is as well put as I've heard it.  I dislike door knocking but know it puts money in my pocket.  Do I like money more than I dislike door knocking? My shoe should answer the question...

svm21's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-05-07

They'll hire you w/o the surveys, don't worry.

anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 2005-09-29

Don't sweat it.  She only gets paid if she hires you.  The chick is clueless if she doesn't have the selling experience and she probably doesn't. 
 
What's laying the groundwork for your book at this point is to simply put together the biggest list that you possibly can of people who might be willing to meet with you if you called them.
 
Your thoughts on their desire or ability to become decent clients is not important.

Please or Register to post comments.

Industry Newsletters
Investment Category Sponsor Links

 

Careers Category Sponsor Links

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×