Middling LTC Insurance Sales? Maybe Its The Presentation
By Jonathan Neal
In my opinion, the single largest hurdle that long term care insurance salespeople must overcome today is in the presentation phase of the sale process.
Having watched more than a hundred different agents make presentations, it is painfully obvious that by and large they are basically the same. They tend to make the same errors over and over. This is primarily due to the generally accepted sales techniques that have been used in the industry for more than 15 years.
It seems strange, at least to me, that long term care salespeople rely so heavily on statistics in their presentation, yet ignore the one statistic that proves they are doing this wrong. More than one survey shows us that over 85% of all seniors say they have concerns about long term care and yet less than 5% have ever purchased LTC insurance.
Think about it for a moment. If youre only successful in making sales to less than 6% of your target market there is something wrong. Either your market demographics are wrong or your presentation isnt being received very well.
As for the demographics, there can be little question as to seniors being the market. It is true that more and more young people are buying LTC insurance, but by and large the senior is the correct prospect. With that in mind, we have to take into consideration that not all seniors are financially equal; therefore, many cant afford LTC insurance. If you use affordability rather than need as the foundation for prospecting, you will find your success ratio increases dramatically.
As for the presentation, there appear to be three fundamental sections that, rather than enhance the presentation, encourage the prospect not to buy LTC insurance: need, negative statistics and funding. Lets take a look at each of these.
For some unknown and surely unproven reason, many insurance salespeople are under the impression that seniors are in denial when it comes to long term care. The truth is that as salespeople we dont show prospects how LTC can make sense financially and why it makes sense for them to look at LTC insurance. In so doing, rather than address the problem with our own thinking, we tend to attribute our failure to their lack of understanding.
In order to address what we, as salespeople, perceive to be the problem (denial), we use statistics to try to prove our (need theory). In reality this is incorrect, and when it fails to produce the desired results, we revert to labeling seniors in general with denial rather than address our faulty theory.
Lets take a close look at the “need assumption.” Most sales presentations use statistics intended to prove to the prospect that the risk of needing LTC is too great to ignore.
There are a few problems here. First, seniors do understand the risk of LTC, in many cases much better than the person making the presentation. In addition, many seniors seem to see through the same statistics so many LTC salespeople hold so dear–for example, the statistic that shows how many 65-year-olds will use some type of LTC in their lives. For starters it shows them that there is less than a 50-50 chance they will need LTC, which in most cases is seen as a positive sign supporting their hope and belief that they will not be one of those that fall into the need category.
Another more interesting question pertaining to this 65-year-old statistic is that we use age 65. But, if the average person using LTC services is 77, and less than 50% of all 65 year-olds actually reach 75, then why dont we use the 75-year-old number? After all, there is a much greater percentage of 75-year-olds using some type of LTC service than there is 65-year-olds.