Is what you don't know killing your life insurance sales?
By Lew Nason
Insurance Pro Shop
If 35 million U.S. households today have no life insurance coverage whatsoever, and more than 40 percent of American households report they need more life insurance, then why are 90 percent of the agents saying they need more people to talk to?
Almost every agent who calls us explains that their main problem is they don't have enough people to talk to. My question to you is why are so many agents struggling to find enough people to talk to?
According to LIMRA International, 35 million U.S. households today have no life insurance coverage whatsoever, a dramatic increase from 24 million in 2004. More than 40 percent of American households report they need more life insurance — the highest level ever reported.
When my sons or I ask agents, "Where have you been getting your prospects? What are you doing to attract people to you?" we typically hear that they have purchased Internet leads and/or pre-set appointments. Or, they've used fax blasting, direct mail, phone dialers, free reports, seminars, workshops or postcards. They've asked for referrals. They have called all of their friends and family, and they aren't getting enough people to sit down and talk to them about life insurance.
So, we'll ask them, "What are you saying to people to get them to want to set an appointment with you?"
They'll give us a vague response about how great their company and products are and that they have a great idea to help people to save money on their life insurance, reap the upside of the market or set up their own private bank, etc.
If 35 million U.S. households today have no life insurance coverage whatsoever, and more than 40 percent of American households report they need more life insurance, then why are 90 percent of the agents saying they need more people to talk to? What don't they know? What are they missing? What are they doing wrong?
When I was a branch manager for a major life insurance company in Port St. Lucie, Florida, most of the people I brought into the insurance business were transplants from up north; Ohio, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Because they were transplants, they didn't know anyone in the area. And yet, 10 years later, 80 percent of the agents I brought into this business were still in the business and making over $100,000 per year.
Considering that 90 percent of the new agents don't make it past five years, and those that do have an average income of only $45,000, what do the agents I hired know that most agents don't know? Most agents don't know how to set an appointment with the right prospects
The first part of the problem is that most agents are lucky if they can set appointments with 10 percent to 20 percent of their leads. Then they'll complain that the leads weren't any good, when in fact the main problem is they don't know what to ask and say to get the appointment.
Contrary to what you are being told or want to believe, setting sales appointments is not about you, your knowledge, your credentials, investment returns, your hot new products or sales idea. It’s all about your prospects and how they’ll uniquely benefit by meeting with you.
If your prospect doesn't see they have a problem and understand how you can help them, is there any reason for them to sit down and talk to you? Isn't setting the appointment your first sale to a prospect? If you could learn how to set an appointment with the majority of your leads, would you need more leads?
Most agents don't know how to close the majority of their sales appointments
The second part of the problem is that most agents are only closing one or two prospects out of 10 appointments for a smaller life insurance sale. If you want to close more and larger sales from your current appointments, then learn how to do a thorough, emotion-based, fact-finding interview that will get your prospects to tell themselves what they really need and want.
Ask questions to get them to talk about their problems. The more they talk about their problems, the bigger those problems become in their mind and the more important it will be to solve those problems.
Remember, if you tell them they have a problem, then you are just a salesperson trying to make a sale. However, if you ask questions and get them to identify their problems for themselves, then aren't you now their advisor?
Only after you have helped them to truly see and understand their problems for themselves do you close for the sale. If you could learn how to close the majority of your appointments, would you need more leads?
What most agents don't know
Learning to ask the right questions is the critical key to consistently setting high quality appointments with the right prospects. We have seen hundreds of agents quickly go from being the typical $40,000 to $50,000 producer to earning over $150,000 per year, just by improving in these two areas.
And think about how much time and money you would save each year if you actually needed less leads.