“I’m not ready to slow down,” one life insurance producer said recently. “It’s just that I don’t have enough leads.” He is not alone by any means. A lack of sales opportunities may be the No. 1 problem for most producers.
No one has ever said that selling life insurance is an easy business and with so many other investment opportunities bidding for consumer attention, it’s more challenging than ever.
Even so, there are more than enough sales opportunities to keep producers busy. Here are just a few of them.
1. The annual policy review. Often ignored and certainly underutilized, the annual policy is one of every producer’s most valuable sales opportunities. There is no other way to make sure existing plans are on track and to find out if there are life events that point to a need to make changes, such marriage or divorce, childbirth, new job or promotion, inheritance, new home purchase, health change, and retirement.
Because life insurance product design is constantly evolving, the policy review meeting is the perfect occasion to share new products with clients. But be sure to discuss the benefits of the new offerings and not just the features. Clients need to be aware of why a feature is worthy of considering and not just that a feature exists.
Furthermore, it you’re not conducting annual reviews with your clients, you are putting those relationships (as well as any policies that you wrote) at risk. This is truly the lifeline of success for any advisor who wants to be in the business long term.
2. Business owner clients as prospects. Do a little digging to find out if there are partners or key employees you don’t insure. Because of the popularity of voluntary programs today, ask about meeting with business owners to talk about affordable group benefits and retirement plans.
Does the business have a buy-sell agreement that needs reviewing? Point out that it should be reviewed at least every two years, and more frequently if changes occur in the business. Is key person coverage already in place? Whether the answer is yes or no, it’s a sales opportunity.
What are a businessperson’s other relationships, such as vendors and suppliers that might be explored? And don’t forget about networking with accountants and attorneys.
3. Pour through print and electronic media. There are sales opportunities wherever names appear. While there are far fewer print publications than in the past, there are plenty of daily and weekly newspapers, along with a growing number of online publications. Taken together, they’re a rich source of information about people who may be good prospects due to recent events. If you’re fortunate enough to live where there is a weekly business journal, you’re in luck because it will be gold mine for building your prospect database.
And don’t ignore the real estate agency promotional ads that list recent sales. Look for those listing sales of high-priced homes. It may be a good source for high net worth clients. Partnering with a real estate agent can be a good lead source for new prospects. Obituaries identify survivors that may either have come into an inheritance or who have experienced firsthand the devastation caused by an estate that lacked financial planning.
And, of course, there are marriage an birth announcements, along with the names of local people in the news section who have received promotions or have retired. Nearly every page, whether print or online, can reveal potential prospects who can use your services.
Don’t forget about advertisements in church bulletins. Chances are they are members/business owners who can benefit from financial planning.
4. Explore possibilities with other professionals and tradesmen.
If you have relationships with physicians, dentists, accountants, veterinarians, preschool owners, mechanics, plumbers and other tradesmen, add them to your database. Recently, I had an advisor tell about opening a case with a mechanic (and his spouse) while having his oil changed.
If you regularly think about prospecting, you’ll find that you’re surrounded with new potential clients.
5. And then there’s social media. It can also be a rich resource for identifying prospects. If you are on LinkedIn with you’re existing clients, review their connections and ask if they might give you a referral.You can also benefit from joining social media groups and being a blogger or contributing an article that would be of interest to the group. Do you have Twitter followers or are you following others on Facebook that might be insurance candidates?
The value of social media is that it can get you access to prospects outside of your normal marketing realm. I have found new advisors to work with by participating in discussions and offering expertise and opinions on topics that are raised in the various groups I affiliate with. Being a contributor without blatantly promoting yourself is the key to success.
6. Remember to market yourself. Advisors often miss sales opportunities by failing to do a good job of marketing themselves. The title ‘life insurance agent’ is too general; it doesn’t convey the message that you have specific areas of expertise.
If your specialty is retirement planning, hold yourself out as a Retirement Income Planning Specialist. Maybe you are an Educational Planning Specialist, Long-Term Care Advisor, Wealth Preservation Specialist, Senior Living Advocate, Business Planning Consultant, or a Senior Tax Advisor. Prospects need to know what you are good at, not that you sell life insurance.
Another lead generation resource is the handful of reputable sources out there that sell life insurance leads. Advisors should be careful to make sure the leads they purchase are exclusive leads and not sold to multiple agents. Leads can be product line-specific and are probably best when the data is mined from websites where consumers are looking for quotes.
Sales opportunities exist with everything you do. Whether it is meeting someone new, something you read, a group you join, or action you take. Just keep your antennae up and look for ways you can be of help.
Successful prospecting is a juggling act. It works best when you have a number of balls in the air all the time. Work with two or three for a year and see how it goes. If necessary, make changes to explore new possibilities. Sales opportunities are everywhere, but you need to find them.
Gregory E. Schwabe, FLMI, is National Marketing Director for First American Insurance Underwriters, a Needham, Mass.-based insurance brokerage firm specializing in coaching successful producers. During his 25years in the life insurance brokerage business, Schwabe has been a presenter at national meetings and has spoken at life association events and career agency offices about working in the brokerage marketplace. Contact him at 800-444-8715 or [email protected].