The challenge of overcoming long term care cost issues is rooted in the natural resistance most people have to discussing long term care and LTC insurance. No matter what the logical side of their mind is telling them, the emotional side is battling equally as hard to convince them, “It will never happen to me.”
Knowing the challenge permits you to enter each client meeting prepared for natural resistance–opposition that may be motivated by fear, denial, ignorance or misinformation. When you expect the conversation to shift from issues to cost, you will recognize the tactic immediately and be able to keep the presentation on track.
As salespeople we also battle a perception problem that is founded in three consumer complaints:
1. “The salesperson did not listen to me.”
2. The salesperson did not understand my needs.”
3. “The salesperson did not create a compelling solution to meet my needs.”
Surmounting The Hurdles
Value-added selling overcomes this perception problem by placing and keeping the focus on the client. The technique moves the spotlight from product price and cost to value. The first step in successfully applying the technique is to stop selling features and begin explaining benefits.
Every policy feature must have a clearly defined benefit. When clients understand how they will benefit, they assign a perceived value in their mind. This value draws them one step closer to justifying the purchase of your product.
The explanation of benefits also lets clients know that you are listening to and understand their needs and concerns. So, when you reveal the cost, the perceived value of your product equals or exceeds the premium. When that happens, they will buy. Then, and only then, will clients be able to justify the premium cost.
If, however, you share the cost before creating the value, then you are trapped trying to justify the cost for the rest of your presentation. We cannot, therefore, allow the client to change the focus of the discussion until the importance of LTC insurance has been thoroughly explored and understood.
When clients say, “We already know we want it,” then we should ask, “What has helped you come to the conclusion that LTC insurance should be a part of your financial portfolio?” If clients cannot explain why they believe they need LTC insurance, then they do not recognize the product’s value.
To deflect questions about cost, I’ll say, “That’s a very important issue; we’ll get to it in just a moment. However, before we continue may I ask, is your primary concern cost or value? Are you looking for the cheapest product available at the expense of benefits or are you trying to obtain the best benefit value for your premium dollar?”
Most clients will readily agree on the latter. If, however, they stay fixated on cost, then chances are they only are trying to justify their denial and convince themselves they really don’t need the product. Serious clients are willing to invest the time necessary to examine all options fully before making their decision.
When presenting your product, you will want to focus on three objectives:
1. Use your brochure as a point-of-sale tool to explain product benefits. To do this, you must know your brochure inside and out. Never allow the client to ask about information contained in your brochure that you can’t answer.
2. Turn your product into the clients’ protection. Show them how your product benefits them personally.