Selling life insurance isn't rocket science (despite what the home office tells you)
By Jason Hornung
Jason Hornung Agency, Inc
Here is a simple, four-step method you can use immediately to design a presentation that gets to the bottom line benefits your prospect wants and backs them up with solid proof so you can close more (and bigger) whole life insurance cases today.
A fundamental flaw exposed
Home office life insurance sales training is so antiquated that it is no longer effective. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise to any tenured life insurance sales professional, as evidenced by how many pay for additional training to get certifications like the CFP, LUTCF, and others.
While getting these types of designations is certainly helpful in your career and will get you more sales, there is a fundamental flaw common in all of them. They don’t train you on how to present life insurance as a unique solution to a major problem your prospect faces in a cool, sexy and relevant manner tied into current events.
Let’s face it, today’s consumer is so much more sophisticated than ever before. The days of doing a simple needs analysis and closing the sale on the spot are long gone.
How many appointments have you been on in the last year in which you got an emphatic, “I’ll think it over” after trying all the closing techniques in the book? And then you follow up and follow up without any response.
As soon as you leave the prospect's home or they leave your office, they are hopping on their computer and comparing the rates you quoted with other companies. If you did your job showing them that they should have coverage, they will buy — from whoever has the lowest rate! That’s the most sickening thing in this business — working your tail off to make somebody else a sale. You spent hours preparing quotes, educating the prospect, meeting with them and answering their questions (both smart and dumb), only to make a commission for some fool working in a cubicle.
It’s no wonder most people who get into this business don’t make it to the five-year mark. This is a major problem that every insurance professional faces and if you don’t get it solved, it will cost you dearly.
Contrary to what the home office and designation programs would have you think, selling life insurance is not rocket science. They tell you that you need to explain in intricate detail how the policy is designed to all of your prospects. While there will be a few people who want to know that information, the vast majority only want to know the bottom line benefits that they will receive and see proof of your claims that the product can provide those benefits before they make a purchase decision. Here is a simple, four-step method you can use immediately to design a presentation that gets to the bottom line benefits your prospect wants and backs them up with solid proof so you can close more (and bigger) whole life insurance cases today.
Step one – Know your prospects' hot button issues
This isn’t hard to figure out right now because of all the attention placed on the economy, banks and Wall Street. It’s very obvious that people are sick and tired of all the shenanigans brokerage houses and banks pull. They are also fed up with taxes. People want safe, secure places to put their hard earned money.
One thing you should know is that these hot button issues go through cycles, so you’ll need to keep up to date and adjust your presentation accordingly. However, right now, there’s a perfect storm brewing that makes whole life insurance the very best option for many people, and you can cash in on it.
Step two – Know how your product can solve these issues
Whole life insurance isn’t a difficult thing to understand. Come up with ways to describe the features of whole life that solve your prospects’ problems. For example, you know that whole life has a guaranteed interest rate and that people are tired of the stock market's ups and downs. So, instead of just telling your prospect that whole life has a guaranteed interest rate, you would tell them, “One of the best parts of whole life insurance is that the interest rate is guaranteed. You won’t have to sit up late at night worrying about whether or not you lost money.”
Step three – Create a presentation about how whole life solves your prospects' problems
Traditional life insurance sales training will teach you to talk about the prospects' goals and dreams. The people who came up with this stuff will then tell you to try and assign some numerical value to these items during your presentation.
If you have studied psychology and persuasion, you’ll find that there are several emotional triggers that will move someone to take action. The traditional selling approach uses the lure of benefits to cause the prospect to take action and buy a life insurance policy. This method is simply not the most effective manner of evoking the desired response you want out of from your prospect.
Numerous studies by renowned psychologists have shown that people take action to avoid or solve some sort of pain in their lives much more quickly than they will to gain some benefit or pleasure. The most effective sales presentations focus on the pain that your prospect is feeling due to their current course of action. But be careful not to project blame directly onto your prospect while you are developing their pain. Direct that blame to an outside source. For example if you are talking about the pains of the stock market, blame it on the banks and Wall Street. Once you have really dug into the pain, it’s time to position your product as the solution. Describe the features of whole life that specifically relate to the prospects problems.
It also makes sense at this point to establish yourself as an expert by discussing your knowledge and understanding of the concepts that you are discussing with your prospect. Do this right and you will eliminate the price shopping once you actually give a quote.
Step four – Show proof of your claims
At this point all you need to do is bring out your pitch book and provide proof from the media that what you are telling your prospect is true. Nothing is more credible than having sources; otherwise your prospect is forced to take your word for it, and believe me, people today are extremely skeptical of sales people — especially those who sell financial products.
Follow these four simple steps and you will have a pre-sold prospect who won’t shop around on you. From here, you just need to use your sales skills to figure out coverage amounts, riders and premiums, and then close the deal.
11 tools you can use right now
Below are links to 10 proof tools from the most credible national media sources that you can print out and put into your pitch book right now:
1. Time Magazine – “Why it’s Time to Retire the 401(k) http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1929119,00.html
2. Yahoo Finance – “9 Reasons Your Taxes Are Going Up” http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/104716/10-Reasons-Your-Taxes-Are-Going-Up
3. Fox Business – “Taxes Are Going Up…A Lot!” http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2010/04/12/cavuto-taxes-going-lot/
4. Wall Street Journal – “Ten Stock Market Myths That Just Won’t Die” http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB128000197220920621.html
5. Daily Finance – “ Yes, Life Insurance Can Be a Smart Investment” http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/investing/life-insurance-can-be-a-smart-investment/19587668/
6. Wall Street Journal – “Fusty Insurance Lures Buyers Seeking Safety” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123794067860932551.html#CX
7. Wall Street Journal – “ Whole-Life Insurance, Long Derided, Gets New Lease” http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748703510204575086003103509406.html
8. USA Today – “Mutual Funds in the News” http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/funds/2010-07-06-fundline06_st_N.htm?csp=34&POE=click-refer
9. CNN Money – “It’s Time to Fix the 401(k)” http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/13/retirement/Wang_fix401k.moneymag/index.htm
10. Business Insider – “Why Taxes Are Definitely Going Up” http://www.businessinsider.com/why-taxes-are-definitely-going-up-2010-3
Editor's note: Do you have a library of articles you reference when talking with clients? Share your favorites in the comment section below.