Turns out The Beatles were right. All you need is love.

So, if you read Linda Koco’s report in last week’s issue from the life insurance conference sponsored by LIMRA International, LOMA, the Society of Actuaries and the American Council of Life Insurers (whew!), you saw that some industry notables thought some worthwhile things would happen if life insurance agents tapped into that sentiment more in the course of their sales pitches.

For one, drilling down to the emotional core of the reasons why people buy life insurance could actually spur more prospects to sign on the dotted line. This in turn would have a restorative effect on the generally floundering and flat life insurance sales that have characterized the industry’s performance for some years.

Bob Kerzner, LIMRA’s president and CEO, told Koco, “Love is the strongest buying emotion. It’s in our data…Buying insurance is seen as a way to express feelings of love.”

There’s another salutary effect that would come from going for the emotional core. This is that agents would feel better about what they do if they were able to motivate more people to buy life insurance, said Joe Jordan, senior vice president of individual business marketing at MetLife.

Many agents don’t feel good about selling life insurance, he said, and some of the reason is that they and the industry have focused too much on product and information in the last couple of decades, while holding back on the love factor behind the purchase.

As Koco’s story put it: “Jordan said he himself used to prefer rational presentations, but he has found that this did not motivate clients to buy.

“Now, he said, ‘I am the advocate of the people who are dependent on the client.’ He helps clients recognize their emotions and how their loved ones’ lives would be affected if the clients were no longer alive to provide for them.”

After reading Koco’s story I seemed to remember hearing Jordan speak somewhere and indeed I did. It was at the second annual Sales Mastery Forum sponsored by The National Underwriter Company and Harry P. Hoopis last September in Las Vegas.

Jordan is a life insurance man through and through. The gist of what he said last year as I remember it is how important it is to live a life of significance and that the work agents do in providing protection for families is indeed significant.

There’s a kind of circularity here. If agents got back in touch with identifying the emotional reasons for clients to buy insurance, then more would buy, and the more that bought, the better agents would feel because they would be able to see more and more clearly the significance of what they do.

Getting (back) to the emotional core of life insurance is what LIFE has been all about for years now and is behind the recognition given to the Real Life stories based on agents’ experiences with how life insurance is not for those who die but for those who live.

It’s a fact that the most successful agents don’t need to be told this–they have mastered the blending of emotion and reason that underlies their sales. It’s those agents who lack the belief in how significant the product is and what it does who have the problems. And it’s almost certain that this communicates to the prospect.

So, let’s go, guys. Sing along with John, Paul, George and Ringo. “All you need is love….”

Steve Piontek

Editor-in-Chief