Are long-term care advisors in the education business?

By Matt McCann


Leave education to those in the education field; what we need to do is motivate, and to motivate today. Many times, it is the agent, not the consumer, who needs to be motivated to help the prospect start the process today.

Many agents who market long-term care insurance think they need to “educate” the consumer. Many people love to learn and study things; however, consumers do not usually like is to be sold. This is why we often talk in terms of education during our communication with prospects . The question becomes, however, are we really in the education business? The answer, of course, is no.

Education themes are a non-threatening way to help a prospect agree to meet with you, either in person or remotely by screen sharing. But will education alone get someone to apply for long-term care insurance? Usually the answer is no.

So what is our job? Our job, once we make the appointment, is to meet with the prospect. Once with the prospect, a successful agent should make sure the following actions are taken.

Help prospects own the fact they have a problem

Your prospect's problem is that he or she needs to be insured against the biggest involuntary risk we face, the risk of needing long-term care. This includes the physical, emotional and financial burdens that come with a long-term care event.

Help them discover that there is an affordable solution

Most of our prospects know that long-term care costs a lot of money. They also assume that any insurance is very expensive. Helping them discover that long-term care insurance is affordable allows you to better show value for the other services a policy can provide to address the burdens that long-term care places on family and friends.

Motivate them to execute the affordable solution to the problem

Remember, we create both need and urgency. Unless your prospects execute the affordable solution, they really have not addressed the problem, much less owned the fact they have a problem.

Education is not motivation

We can teach a person everything we know about long-term care, but the response will often be: “That was a great presentation. You gave me a lot to think about, so let me digest everything, and I'll get back to you.”

Sometimes, we give our prospects so much to think about that thinking about it is the only thing they can do. This is why you should not think of your appointment as a presentation, but as an interview. We ask questions that require prospects to explain why they need a plan. We listen. We ask follow-up questions. We summarize what they have told us (people love to be heard). We make them a little vulnerable. We do not assume anything.

Leave education to those in the education field; what we need to do is motivate, and to motivate today. “Today” is now. Not at the next appointment, not sometime down the road. Start the process now. Consumers must understand that it's their health today that allows them to plan. We must motivate the consumer to take action and start the process of underwriting today. However, many times it is the agent, not the consumer, who needs to be motivated to help the prospect start the process.