New Agent - Generating Leads, Finding a Niche, Etc

Feb 20, 2016

  1. AfroPope
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    AfroPope Expert

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    Hi all,

    Just got my licenses for both Oregon and Washington L&H a while back and have started selling. Wrote a decent amount of business my first week but am hungry for more.

    A large part of my agency's lead generation, though not all of it, comes from cold calling and door knocking. I personally have better luck with door-knocking, but I find both of these to be unbelievably tedious and feel like there are far better ways to spend my time (DISCLAIMER: If there aren't, let me know. I'm trying to form good habits early) given that I've had days where I've made over 200 calls in six hours - WITH a DNC screener - and generated maybe three leads and one tiny sale. Part of this, no doubt, is my inexperience with cold calling, but even so I just don't like those numbers.

    Could someone link me, tell me, or generally direct me to lead generation tactics that'll work for me? Most of what I've found through searching through the forums is directed at independent agents, which I am not. One thought that I have is that I am the youngest agent in my office - I think everyone else is over thirty, most are over forty, and I'm in my mid-twenties - and people my age need Life Insurance and Health Insurance just as much as anyone else (though naturally I don't have the same "in" with them that I would with T65 Med Supp clients). My thought is that I could use this "niche" somehow - being in my twenties, living in a city where the median age is 36, etc - to generate sales that other agents can't get to.

    This is currently just a half-assed idea I had after learning that almost all of my agency's African-American clients have the same agent, who's also black, most of the clients we have who are Russian Immigrants or Asian Immigrants work with an agent with their respective demographic backgrounds, and so on and so forth. However I have no idea how to take this from "idea" and put it into practice, so any ideas anyone else has would be great.

    Thank you in advance. I'm off to browse the book recommendation threads!
     
    AfroPope, Feb 20, 2016
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  2. The Gimp
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    What agency are you with right now? What is the primary product you have been selling? Most people in their twenties, and some in the thirties aren't thinking about protecting their family unfortunately. Are you comfortable with the product line you are selling right now?

    There are several niches within the industry. Mortgage protection or final expense will give you a proven system to work with direct mail. You just need the budget to be able to mail every week. It's expensive but you'll probably enjoy it a lot better than cold calling. Your age may play a role with some clients but probably not as many as you think. Especially, people in the final expense demographic. Most of them just want somebody to talk to.
     
    The Gimp, Feb 20, 2016
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  3. DHK
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    DHK "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

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    AfroPope,

    While it's true that people like to do business with people that "get" them (i.e. Russians, African-Americans, etc.), I think we should take a step back and look at the communication skills that you're bringing to the table here.

    What is your script?

    Do you use a visual aid to help you 'tell the story'?

    Door knocking is more effective primarily because people can SEE you, size you up, and you can present yourself in polished way. Unlike over the phone, you're just a voice... just like any other cold-call made to sell solar panels these days.

    Before deciding on a niche (which would make your target market smaller and your geography larger to cover), let's make sure we work on your skills.

    Don't let your age be a factor here. I was in my late 20's when I was working with people in their 60's-80's on their investment portfolios. If you present yourself as knowledgeable and you listen well, age is not a factor.
     
    DHK, Feb 20, 2016
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  4. AfroPope
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    Right right, absolutely. I have scripts and visual aids to an extent but I am only in my second week as an agent. The purpose of this thread is more to help me make sure that I start building good work habits and devise good scripts, visual aids, and so forth early in my career so that
    1. I lose as little business to "newbie mistakes" as possible and
    2. I don't have to unlearn these bad habits later.

    I don't want my age to be a factor (I helped some 79 year olds save a ton of money on an imploding whole life policy yesterday, for example) but I think it's a good idea to look at it as something that could give me an edge with potential customers for reasons described above.

    If I'm totally off the mark then let me know :)

    Thanks!
     
    AfroPope, Feb 20, 2016
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  5. DHK
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    DHK "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

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    I'm going to tell you a couple of secrets. Ready?

    1) You'll never have a "perfect" script. However, if you share with us your script, we may be able to help you make improvements.

    2) Your company only cares that you produce commissionable premium. They don't care how you do it (as long as it is legal, moral, ethical, and it stays on the books).

    So, before we talk about the different ways to market your message... we need to know what your message is. Then you TEST it using the same methods you're already doing.

    In the "Go for No!" book, it talks about a life insurance company that was on the brink of failure. The consultant that was hired simply said that their agents weren't talking to enough people, and he could prove it. He had agents go out door-to-door and simply ask "You don't want to buy any life insurance today, do you?" 59 out of 60 didn't. However, 1 out of 60 did... and it turned the company around (according to the book).

    You see, even if you have a lousy script, if you're telling it enough times, you'll still do okay. But if we can help you to do 1 out of 10, instead of 1 out of 60 (6x more effective), wouldn't that help you?

    Remember: in the book "How I raised myself from failure to success in selling", Frank Bettger said that his first CEO told him "Just go out and see the people and tell your story. If you just see the people and tell your story to a few people, you can't help but do good." (I'm paraphrasing here.)

    So... what's your script?
     
    DHK, Feb 20, 2016
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  6. AfroPope
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    Welp, for better or worse I haven't really formulated one yet - I'm kind of in th process of trying out different things and hope to get it down before I finish training. Most of my sales last week were from door knocks of people who had been "meaning to take care of" their insurance for "years" and were just happy I stopped by, that sort of thing. I didn't really end up needing a script because they were pretty much ready to buy when I showed up and it was really easy to close in that situation.

    When you say script are you referring most specifically to cold calling/door knocking, or just in general?

    I'm pretty much fresh putty and may have even jumped the gun making this thread without a script but I figured I'd absorb as much knowledge as I can.
     
    AfroPope, Feb 20, 2016
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  7. Newby
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    How was a Whole-Life policy imploding.
     
    Newby, Feb 20, 2016
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  8. DHK
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    DHK "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

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    It could implode by stopping premium payments and letting automatic premium loans eating away at current cash values.

    If it's a long-term issue, they should've chosen to do a Reduced Paid Up option.
     
    DHK, Feb 20, 2016
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  9. AfroPope
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    it had been purchased when interest rates were much higher and the cost of insurance was outpacing the rate at which it was generating cash. It lost cash for the first time this quarter and it would have had zero cash value in four years.

    Again, I'm in week two and working with a field trainer and I'm still trying to figure a lot of things out here so go easy on me if I drastically mess stuff up.

    This is what we advised them to do and this is what they did.

    ----------

    DHK, regarding your question about the script, I had a whole nice response typed out but it seems to have vanished into the ether.

    I'm still working on having ANY sort of script and to that end I may have jumped the gun on even making this kind of thread - I'm mostly just trying to learn from the wealth of knowledge available here and talk to people who know more than I do. My sales last week were almost exclusively folks who had been "meaning to take care of" their insurance / Med Supps / etc and were glad I called. I didn't really even have to use a script or close or go through any sort of sales cycle, they asked ME to buy pretty much on the spot. Which is nice, but I know it's not a sustainable business model.

    So I guess really I need to start at square one with this thread before I even think about things like lead generation and so forth. :)
     
    AfroPope, Feb 20, 2016
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  10. DHK
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    DHK "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

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    Let me give you a script "formula" that you can adapt to your product line.

    My overall objective and litmus test about a good script is this: "Do they really know what they are saying no to?" This has to deal with how well you communicate, and how well they are listening to you.

    Your first objective is to make a quick deal. The deal is this: I'd like to tell you about what I do... and then you can decide if it makes sense for us to keep talking (set an appointment).

    "Hello! My name is DHK. I'm just out and about introducing myself and the work I do. May I take a quick minute to tell you what I do and then you can decide if we should talk further?"

    Most people won't object to you introducing yourself as a professional, knowing that they can say no to you afterwards. This is ultra-professional. You're not verbal spamming. You're simply asking for a quick minute of their time to listen to you. After your quick minute, they can decide whether to talk further, or state that they have no interest.

    Planning mode: My name is DHK and I help homeowners to make educated financial decisions about their insurance that feel right to them - including doing nothing if that's what feels right.

    Supplemental health coverage (this is from my Combined Insurance days): My name is DHK and in only 5 minutes, I show homeowners how they can have cash payable to them in the event of an emergency. It's fast, easy, and hassle-free.

    Now, you can describe your work in more detail and throw in a couple of questions here and there to try to gauge interest.

    Here's how you close for the appointment: Does that sound like something that would be worth sitting down and talking about?

    That's where they say yes or no... and then you schedule the next appointment to talk in further detail.

    Now, you'll still get some objections or questions. Answer the first one, but after that, it's a no. You can ask if it would be okay to follow up in a few months... or the next time you're in the neighborhood. Just move on to the next one. No problem.
     
    DHK, Feb 20, 2016
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