Want To Sell LTC To Younger Buyers? Take A Tip From McDonald’s

Want to succeed at marketing long term care insurance to younger prospects?

Take a tip from McDonald’s, one of Americas largest advertisers. This consumer-savvy marketer runs markedly different TV ads during Saturday morning cartoon shows than during adult-oriented evening programming.

McDonalds understands the need to target distinctly different prospects with distinctly special messages and purchasing motivators.

Likewise, LTC insurance marketers who seek to cast a net over younger buyers–specifically the millions of aging baby boomers–will not create a buying frenzy without recognizing that this market is conspicuously different from LTC buyers who have traditionally bought LTC.

In fact, baby boomers consist of many diverse population segments. Therefore, marketers should avoid a one-size-fits-all pattern. Even so, there appear to be some commonalities that can help target this cohort effectively.

In particular, consider the following messages and motivators that couple familiar life-stage events with distinct consequences (both positive and negative). They should help you achieve success in establishing the LTC need with younger prospects.

Life-altering changes. Traditional LTC presentations typically focus on the likelihood that your client will need care (in the home or a facility). However, because younger individuals will likely not require care for many years, you need to take a different approach.

Specifically, focus on life-altering changes that begin to occur between the ages of 40 and 65, such as stroke and coronary heart disease. Also, capitalize on the newfound prominence of less common diseases; one example, multiple sclerosis, plays a vital role in the story line for The West Wing, one of todays most popular television programs.

Data is readily available to support your assertion. For example, according to the American Heart Association, some 500,000 Americans will suffer their first stroke this year. Over a fourth (28%) will be under age 65. About 650,000 individuals will have a first heart attack and some 22% of men and 49% of women will be disabled with heart failure.

You must health qualify, reinforcing client awareness that life-altering changes, such as an accident, illness or disability, will not, on their own, prompt action. You must also link the concept with a heretofore-unknown fact–the fact that one must health qualify for LTC insurance protection.

By linking the two, you transform a critical phase in the prospects decision-making process from do I really need this? to can I even get this?

Strong messagessuch as saying that “24-hours from now, a change in your health could preclude you from being able to obtain protection, no matter how much you are willing to pay”–will be as effective as giving away free Harry Potter souvenir toys.

Financial soundness. Prospects in their late 40s and 50s are still in the “accumulation phase” of their financial lives. They are busy paying off mortgages and putting children through college. And they are very investment-oriented.

It will take another decade (or two) before they recognize and value the ability of LTC insurance to protect their accumulated savings and retirement assets.

You must recognize this when approaching the third, and perhaps most important, phase of your client education (or sales) process.

Anticipate questions such as, “Is it smarter to invest instead of buying protection?” and “What if I dont need benefits for a long time?” Even if such questions are not forthcoming, assume they exist and initiate the conversation.

Yes, todays investment environment of lower interest rates and poor equity returns have changed the outlook of many consumers, making them more security conscious. But avoid the temptation to capitalize on this, for most do recognize the temporary nature of investment markets.

Furthermore, where LTC insurance is concerned, there is no need to sell smoke and mirrors. Even when using more generally accepted rates of return (say 6%), it is possible to demonstrate the financial soundness of LTC insurance protection.

Dont overlook a new occurrence that will likely impact younger buyers–the fact that they might use their LTC benefits now (because of a recoverable accident or stroke, say) and again later (because of aging).

Finally, recognize one very significant fact acknowledged by super-marketers like McDonalds: One prospect contact is not sufficient.

Make a commitment to stay in communication with younger prospects–especially those who make a decision not to buy. Twenty-four hours from now, something could occur that changes such a clients mind…and you want them showing up at your drive-through window.

Jesse R. Slome, CLU, ChFC, is executive director of American Association for Long Term Care Insurance, president of Sales Creators, Inc. His e-mail is jslome@ltcsales.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 21, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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