Your next LTCI sales idea: "Video Killed the Radio Star"
By Stephen D. Forman (LTCA)
Long Term Care Associates, Inc.
Your clients have already begun searching for information on the Internet, and it will be free. The underlying content — be it LTC statistics, plan features, illustrations — has no inherent value other than to promote your service. In the digital age, information has no currency. So how do you sell you?
Everybody loves a bargain, right? So naturally the holy grail of coupons would be one that nets us something for free. But I think something curious happens once we reach that peculiar threshold. We cease to ascribe any value whatsoever to the underlying product.
Don't believe me? Consider movies, books and music. Content we once believed inherently valuable was capable of financially supporting entire industries — top to bottom — and it all vanished virtually overnight once so-called pirates gave away the store for free.
Let it sink in that an astonishing 95 percent of all music downloads are illegitimate, while as much as 89 percent of all Internet traffic consists of file-sharing of pirated content.
The upshot is that acts from U2 to Coldplay who used to rely on album sales have had to adapt to survive, such that their new business model is to go on tour, selling the live experience. Even as these bands recognize the inevitability of the free price tag on the democratized Internet, they are savvy enough to know that it can still be wielded to promote an altogether unique and valuable experience.
In other words — as any schoolgirl will tell you — while you could have downloaded Justin Bieber's hit single "Baby" off a BitTorrent website, would it really have been the same as attending the concert first-hand, with 30,000 other crazed fans, lasers shooting, fog billowing, fireworks crackling, a cadre of backup dancers twirling in perfect synchronization, and you singing the chorus at the top of your lungs?
The analogy holds true not only for long term care insurance producers, but for any business which wants to adapt and thrive in the digital age:
Your clients have already begun searching for information on the Internet, and it will be free. How much value will they ascribe to it? Very little. They will flitter and flip from site to site, and many long term care shoppers will probably think they've done a pretty good job educating themselves, but you know what?
Even if you are the one giving away this free information, the world has advanced to the point where you have to sell the live concert experience — the unique value you bring. As we witnessed above, the underlying content — be it LTC statistics, plan features, illustrations — has no inherent value other than to promote your service. In the digital age, information has no currency.
So how do you sell you? There are a lot of you reading this, and you each want to know how to distinguish yourselves from one another, to be able to reach through the webpage and tell that nameless prospect what your live concert experience consists of.
There are a few ways to do this. First, let's recognize that in the search for knowledge, people can drown in a sea of information. So you've got to present yourself as the arbiter of that information: the expert filter that sorts and simplifies. In other words, emphasize how you are capable of adding value to otherwise unorganized and thereby useless information.
Second, use your credibility materials to establish how the experience of working with you will enrich their lives, just as you've helped others. For instance, at my company we've trained our agents to identify how some of their top-selling competitors have still only serviced a dozen claims in their meteoric careers. Meanwhile, our agency has been servicing policies longer than most carriers have been selling LTCI.
In addition, we add credibility by touting ourselves as the company quoted in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, and the company who helped the Congressional Research Service prepare their report to Congress on CLASS. This is not information which can be downloaded for free off the Internet — this is the live concert you have to come to us for.
Think about your own practice in this way. What testimonials, third-party endorsements, national awards, or innovative tools can you point to that would encourage prospects to attend your concert experience? I'm sure you will discover how to position yourself more effectively as we transition into the digital age.