How to sell life insurance despite our struggling economy, Pt. 2
By Lew Nason
Insurance Pro Shop
Last year I wrote an article called "How to sell life insurance despite our struggling economy" And I'm happy to say that it has become one of the most read and commented on article of all time for ProducersWeb.
Today, contrary to what our elected government officials would like us to believe, the overall U.S. economy is not seeing much, if any, significant improvement. And because we're getting more and more calls from struggling agents, advisors and planners asking for help selling cash-value life insurance, we believe the ideas and tips in that previous article are worth revisiting.
While there is still a lot of bad news about the U.S. economy, the good news is that 90 percent of the U.S. population is still employed. Many of those people are now searching for real help with their finances. They now see the reality of their situation, and are ready to listen to an advisor who can help them to reduce and eliminate their debt. They now recognize the importance of putting money away for their future, and they are looking for safety and guarantees.
This consumer mindset change has created an exceptional opportunity for those few agents, advisors and planners who are ready and willing to learn how to really help people, instead of pushing products, price and investment returns.
Unfortunately, most of the agents, advisors and planners who call us are still searching for a magical cure. They want a quick and simple idea that will put them in front of hundreds of prospects that already want, can afford and can medically qualify for cash-value life insurance. They are unwilling to take the time to read and study any system. They want overnight results.
These are the same people that have spent or will spend thousands of dollars each year on Internet leads, or on a sales system that makes outrageous claims, like promising overnight success while "selling life insurance from home in your underwear!" Are you one of those people, or are you ready to learn the real insider secrets to selling cash-value life insurance?
Discover what's not working and why
If you want to learn how to be successful selling cash-value life insurance, then you first need to understand what most agents are doing, and why it isn't working.
The vast majority of agents out there are buying Internet leads, mortgage leads, sending out sales letters, term flyers, cold calling, etc. to identify and attract those people who need life insurance. Once these agents find a prospect that needs the protection for their family, business, etc., they'll jump right in and try to convince the prospect why they should buy cash value life insurance.
They'll tell the prospect about how much money they'll save by purchasing cash value life insurance while they are young and the premiums are low. They'll talk about the merits of owning instead of renting their life insurance. They'll explain to the prospect how they'll get all of their premiums back, with interest, so they'll be able to use that money to fund a college education for their children, pay off their home five to 10 years early, or have more money in retirement; how their money will grow tax deferred and how they can access their money tax free, without any IRS penalties. They'll also try to convince the prospect that they'll need life insurance in their retirement years, and that term insurance won't be there when they need it most.
All of the things they are telling their prospects are very true and logical reasons to own cash value life insurance; however, in the majority of the cases, the agent, advisor or planner is indeed very lucky if they are able to walk out with a term insurance sale, let alone a sale for cash value life insurance. Why?
Then there are those agents that will spend $5,000 or more on an advanced cash value life insurance selling system or one of the various college funding or equity management systems. Their objective is to find and attract people who want to hear more about these exciting new sales concepts in order to set an appointment.
They'll run adds in the newspaper offering a free dinner seminar. They'll send out their books, booklets and free reports. Once they set an appointment with someone who wants to know more, they'll explain how great the concept is, and how much better off the prospect would be financially.
The concepts they are presenting are terrific, and they work. And, yet most agents are lucky if they are closing 10 percent to 20 percent of the people they are meeting with. Why?
The reason both these groups of agents are struggling with selling life insurance is they are telling the prospect how great the product is and why they should buy it.
What the top produces know that you don't is:
No. 1 -- Telling is not selling
If you tell your prospect they need life insurance, they may or may not believe you. Remember, like it or not, in their eyes you are just another salesperson trying to make a sale. If you want to sell more of the people you meet with, you have to get your prospects to "tell themselves" why it's important and why they should take action immediately. And, that's about asking questions. Questions like:
- How much life insurance do you currently have?
- How did you come up with that amount?
- If something happened to you how long would that money last?
- Then what would you family do?
- How long do you want to have your life insurance?
- If you purchase term insurance now, how old will you be when it ends?
- How much will you have spent for the life insurance during those years?
If you want people to buy from you, you must get them emotionally involved.
People buy for many reasons, but they all boil down to avoiding pain or gaining pleasure. To get people emotionally involved, you must ask questions to get them to talk about their problems. The more they talk about their problems, the more they'll feel the pain and consequences of doing nothing. The more they feel the pain, the more they'll want to solve their problems. You must ask questions like:
- If you or your wife weren't here tomorrow, what would happen?
- How much income would your family lose?
- Could your family keep your home?
- How do you feel about that?
- Are you planning to pay for your children's college education?
- What college would you like them to attend?
- How much do you think it will cost each year?
- How much have you saved so far?
- How do you feel about that?
- How much income would you like to have at retirement?
- What would you like to do?
- Where would you like to go?
- How many years do you think you'll be retired?
- Do you think Social Security will be there when you retire?
- How much have you been able to save so far?
- How do you feel about that?
Would you agree that none of us has any extra money? We all are spending everything we earn. So, no matter how good your product, program or idea is, if your prospect has to sacrifice something in their life, then they are probably not going to do it. However, there are very few people who are not spending money unnecessarily, or in the wrong places, in some areas of their lives. If you want to make a sale, your job is to help the prospect find that money and then help them to establish their financial priorities.
Is what you are spending that money on more important than:
- Protecting your family?
- Saving for your child's education?
- Saving for your retirement?
Remember, people buy based on emotions, and then they justify their decision based on logic. If you confuse the prospect at all -- give them too much technical information; ask them to make too many decisions; or try to solve all of their problems at once -- you'll have trouble closing the sale. If you use a 25- to 50-page report, you'll generally lose more sales than you'll close. It makes the decision to take action too complicated and too confusing. People want to know what the bottom line is. If you want to sell more cash value life insurance, then use a simple two-page summary to highlight the end results of the program you are recommending, compared to what they've been currently doing.
Every top producer knows that selling life insurance -- especially cash-value life insurance -- isn't about you, your credentials, your products, or even the amount of money the client will ultimately have. It's about helping people to see and truly understand their financial problems. It's helping them to avoid pain or gain pleasure. It's getting them emotionally involved in the sales process and answering their biggest question: "What's in it for me and my family?"
It's why the top producers are able to consistently attract more people, set more appointments, get more referrals, and close nine out of 10 sales calls. It's why they are consistently earning $250,000, $500,000 or more per year selling cash-value life insurance, in spite of this struggling economy.
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