Disability insurance sales lessons from sports heroes
By Kelly Moser
Disability Insurance Services
As children (and sometimes as adults) we idolize our favorite athletes. They personify our dreams of being the best, and we strive to perform better and work harder so that we can become professionals like them. And regardless of the sports we grew up playing, we’re motivated by the timeless sayings used in every sport from baseball to badminton. Practice makes perfect; pain is temporary, pride is forever; go big or go home.
While the majority of us may find our daily routines taking place behind a desk and not on a diamond, there’s no reason why our professional careers can’t be influenced by the heroes we once worshiped.
Heed the advice of the sports idols below and you’ll knock your next DI sale out of the park.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky
If you don’t talk to your clients about disability insurance, you’ll never make a DI sale. It’s as simple as that. You can’t expect to sell a product that you don’t advertise. Don’t be afraid to bring up disability insurance, long-term care insurance or even critical illness insurance when meeting with a client about their life and health insurance needs. Cross-selling even one case is better than none.
“I always tell kids, you have two eyes and one mouth. Keep two open and one closed. You never learn anything if you’re the one talking.” — Gordie Howe
We’ve all been in a meeting where one person dominates the conversation. While you may find yourself wanting to tell your client about all the bells and whistles of the amazing product you have to offer, make sure you take a moment to listen to their concerns and desires. Let your clients talk about their families, their jobs, their financial situations — anything that will give you greater insight into what they not only want, but need.
"Statistics are like bikinis — they show a lot, but not everything." — Lou Piniella
A lot of agents want to rely on statistics to influence their clients. They explain that 90 percent of disabilities are caused by illnesses. They tell their clients that 70 percent of people who reach age 65 will need long-term care. But not every client is a numbers person. Some clients may need to hear a more personal story about someone who went out on a disability claim, or someone who had to pour their life savings into a nursing home for his parents. If you have a personal anecdote, don’t be afraid to use it.
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” — Babe Ruth
You’re going to get shut down. You’ll find that some of your clients aren’t interested in what you’re offering. But every time you strike out, you’ll learn what you can do differently in your next client meeting. Learn from your mistakes, and keep your eye on the ball.
“We talkin' 'bout practice.” — Allen Iverson
Whether you’re a seasoned agent, or you’re fresh out of college, there’s a lot that can be learned in the insurance industry. Practice, or studying up on product knowledge, is essential. Allen Iverson once infamously stated that the game is what’s important, not his missed practices. But, as Iverson’s coach would likely argue, you can’t go into a game (or a meeting with a new client) and truly give 100 percent if you haven’t been working on fundamentals. If you don’t know about product enhancements and updated carrier news, you won’t be able to effectively and correctly answer your clients’ questions. You can’t always rely on your innate persuasion skills to secure a sale.
"In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more [than] that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?” — Jesse Owens
Know your products. Believe in your products. Provide your clients with the best possible coverage. If you specialize in selling life and health products, make sure you’re well versed in the policy provision terms for DI before you meet with your client.
And remember, you might know the ins and outs of various provisions like true own occupation, but is that really what your client needs? Respect your clients by providing them with the coverage they really need, and in turn, they’ll be more likely to trust and respect your advice as well. Taking a dip in commissions is better than losing a sale entirely. And if your clients see you have their best interests in mind, they’ll send more referrals your way.
"What's that? Ah – Playoffs? Don't talk about – playoffs?! You kidding me?! Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game!” — Jim Mora
Sometimes, simply getting your client to meet with you to discuss DI is a bigger battle than actually closing a sale. Don’t focus too strongly on closing the deal, but instead, put time into your first meetings with your clients. Show them all of their options, and properly prepare them to make decisions regarding their financial future. You can’t win the season if you’ve yet to win a game.
"Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." — Wes Westrum
The same can be said about disability insurance. There are thousands upon thousands of insurance agents across the country. Are you doing everything you can to set yourself apart from your competitors? Learn everything you can about your products. Sign up for carrier newsletters so you’re updated on policy enhancements. Try to spend at least a fraction of your week reading industry-related blog posts or news articles. Equip yourself with the tools needed to effectively make a sale.
“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” — Vince Lombardi
Of course, we all want the win. And nobody likes to lose. But if you let your losses bring you down, you’ll lose focus and the motivation to find new clients. Always strive for a win, or you’ll never succeed.
If you know of any other sports quotes that could relate to insurance sales, I'd love to hear them in the comment section below!