Q. I need help developing referral sources, particularly with attorneys, accountants and other insurance agents who do not sell LTCI or are uncomfortable doing so. How do you suggest that I accomplish this?
A. Getting referrals and developing centers of influence, such as lawyers and CPAs, are two of the best ways to generate quality leads. I say this from personal experience and, more significantly, the success of this approach has been documented by LIMRA when it studied sources of sales.
Aaron Eisenach, regional vice resident of Krieger & Associates in Lakewood, Colo., has developed a very effective and easy system for building a referral base by asking for the names of advisors when delivering a LTCI policy to a client.
Here’s what he coaches his agents to do. After collecting the appropriate signatures and any remaining premium balance, have a sheet of paper ready to take down the names of the advisors with whom the client is already working. You may want to develop your own form with blanks for the names and phone numbers so the client sees that you need these names.
Here’s the script Aaron uses: “Mr. Client, it’s very important that your team of advisors know about this protection you have put in place. With your permission, I will gladly take care of this for you.
“Should something ever happen to you, it may be your kids who are trying to find this policy and someone to call for help. In case they call your home and auto insurance agent, I want to make sure your agent has my card and a copy of your Policy Schedule Page. Who is your agent?
“You may be able to benefit from some tax savings by purchasing this policy. I get many questions from tax professionals who do not know what to do with long term care insurance premiums. Who is your CPA or accountant?
“Your financial advisor needs to know that you have taken care of this piece of your retirement and estate plan. He will want to mark it off the list of things to do. Who is your financial advisor?
“Do you have a family attorney? Who has prepared your will or trust, or advance medical directives? I need to let him know about this as well.”
Here are some other strategies that have worked well for him:
- To prepare clients for this request, mention when you are taking the application that you will be asking for these names upon policy delivery. Emphasize that this is a decision that needs to be made known to others, not kept secret.
- Do not ask for these names during the application meeting. You run the risk of reminding him that his financial advisor or property and casualty agent may offer the same coverage.
When phoning the advisors, make it short and sweet, and do not give away too much information. Try something like this: “Mr. P&C Agent, I specialize in long term care insurance, and we have a client in common. I would like to come by your office and share with you the client’s Policy Schedule Page and give you my card for your client’s file in case you are ever contacted by the family. Can I borrow 10 minutes of your time on Thursday at 10 a.m.?”
- Do not give him the name of the client or discuss the carrier or policy information over the phone. He has to meet you to get this information.
- Be aware that the advisor may offer LTCI, and is not happy that his client went elsewhere. An offer to split commissions may prevent harming the relationship between the advisor and the client, and may lead to referrals from the advisor. The advisor likely does not write much LTCI, and would benefit from partnering with a trustworthy professional.
By using Aaron’s method for every policy you sell, you will potentially have the names of four people who may provide you with referrals, or become your clients themselves.