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Some long term care insurance salespeople become lead junkies, getting most of their new sales from responses to their agencys or carriers direct mail advertising programs. But there are much better sources, sales veterans note.

Traditional ad-generated leads are becoming less and less productive, according to Dan Cahn, vice president of business development for LTC Financial Partners, Kirkland, Wash.

“Five years ago, conversion rates of [direct mail ads] were around 1.7%,” he says. “Now, theyre more like 0.7% or 0.8%, and that trend is going to continue. Mailing out offers of free books just is not a winning proposition.”

There are a number of alternative methods that are far more fruitful, he says. The most productive come from getting in front of potential customers or the people who advise them, such as by speaking at financial planning seminars or talking to news or financial reporters.

Smart producers also take advantage of the continued growth of computer usage, Cahn says.

“The fastest growing [computer] user population is age 55+,” he notes. “People in LTC have an opportunity to leverage technology, but I dont think the industry has taken advantage of it.”

Cahn suggests agencies on local Web sites aimed at senior citizens, or to place links on those sites leading individuals to the agencys Web page. Agencies also can buy keyword services from search engines that help steer people to the agencys site when they are seeking information on LTC.

When responding to online queries, Cahn recommends sending prospects a voice-over PowerPoint presentation to answer questions and provide illustrations.

Kathy Kirkland, director of LTC sales for Capitas Financial, Jacksonville, Fla., says most of her agency producers are starting to get into the small business market. Their typical starting place for hot leads is to join local business associations, she says.

“Thats where you meet small business owners,” she says. “Then, when youve sold them on a group benefit, you can use that as a base to talk to their employees.”

Kirkland says Capitas advisors also find seminars a good source of leads.

Then theres the old-fashioned way of lead generation. And it still works. “The only thing I do is get personal references,” says William C. Gelbert, president, Wm. C. Gelbert Associates, Delray Beach, Fla. He says he hasnt had much success developing leads from seminars, although he does speak at them occasionally. He doesnt do much advertising, either.

Gelbert sells LTC and supplemental health insurance exclusively to seniors, relying almost entirely on kitchen table referrals.

“I get plenty of leads, and I dont have to knock myself out advertising and running seminars,” he says.

This article was first published in the April 1 issue of LTC e-Wire, an online publication of National Underwriter Life & Health edition. For more information or to subscribe, go to www.NationalUnderwriter.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, April 16, 2004. Copyright 2004 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.