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If you have been taught that hard work is the key to success, you have been lied to.

In the life insurance industry, hard work is for those who dont enjoy their free time. Hard work is for those who enjoy late hours on the road making “kitchen table” presentations to potential clients, or making cold calls to lukewarm leads.

The client base that responds to this type of marketing and sales process is quickly disappearing, as are the agents who depend on them for their livelihood.

The bad news is that the traditional sales process in our industry is dying. The good news is that hard work is dying with it.

The key to success in the modern world of life insurance sales is smart work and the key to smart work is technology.

One of the greatest advancements for life insurance agents in the past several years is the development of client relationship management systems (CRMs). CRMs allow agents to track and complete the entire client sales process for new life insurance policies using a fraction of the effort and time traditionally associated with the sale of a new policy. CRMs also ensure a much higher level of quality and larger percentage of secondary sales to new and current customers.

Some of the most popular CRM systems are rather generic in their design in order to accommodate use from businesses in a wide variety of industries, but even these “off the shelf” systems can boost significantly agent productivity and efficiency. The effectiveness of CRMs can be further enhanced through customization that creates a system and a sales process dedicated specifically to the way your office conducts its sales and marketing.

While CRMs are a perfect example of the performance benefits available to those in our industry who embrace todays technology, they also spotlight technologys primary drawbackcost.

Custom CRM systems can range in price from $10,000 to more than $100,000 for large agencies. Customization pushes these costs even higher. At these prices, effective CRMs have been unattainable for all but the top agencies, until now.

There are a growing number of companies that provide CRMs designed specifically for the life insurance industry in a way that is both affordable and mobile. Called lead relationship managers (LRMs), these systems track, manage and facilitate the entire new business process for life insurance professionals. They feature such services as:

Instant quotes: Providing up-to-date policy rates on a wide variety of insurance products from top underwriters;

Ordering parameds: Paramed exams are ordered and tracked online;

Forms: Giving agents the ability to complete and print all current forms from underwriters; and,

Case Status: Enabling agents to track the status of new cases with underwriters.

This type of customization with traditional CRMs would cost thousands of dollars, but it is already built into most LRM systems. Another benefit of LRMs is that many are Web-based, which allows agents to conduct business anywhere they have Internet access.

Costs for LRMs generally range up to $300 per month. However, some LRMs are available for little or no cost from brokerages and even some lead sources that include them as part of their service offering.

So, forget hard work. Choose smart work to reinforce your commitment to success and achievement.

is vice president of Operations for InsuranceOnly Inc. and OnlyFinancialGroup, based in Bellevue, Wash. His e-mail is davidp@insuranceonly.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, February 25, 2005. Copyright 2005 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.