Philip Gallant
2:45-3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22: Keys to a Successful LTC Presentation: How to Eliminate the Top 4 Objections to Buying LTC Insurance

Philip C. Gallant, CSA, CLTC, is executive vice president of New York Long-Term Care Brokers, National Long-Term Care Brokers and the New York Financial Security Group.

1. Tell us about your background in your presentation subject area.

Philip Gallant: I plan to discuss the opportunities that LTC specialists may be missing to do additional planning for their LTC clients. I spent the first eight years of my career as an agent and sales manager before getting into the LTC market, so I have a background in life insurance and annuities. Early in the business, I learned how to complete a thorough fact-finder with a prospective new client and to find out where the opportunities to help them were. I never lost the ability to ask questions that opened the door to discussing how insurance products can help solve a multitude of financial problems. In addition, when I was in charge of LTC sales at John Hancock in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I had to formalize the sales process. So I created both the seven-step sales process and “Fast Start” concept which helped John Hancock become so successful. While I still sell a fair amount of LTC insurance, I find that LTC planning opens the door to many more additional opportunities to help my new client in the areas of estate and retirement planning.

2. What can people expect to take away from your session?

Gallant: Many LTC specialists seem to have blinders on when it comes to learning about other financial products and opportunities, and yet these folks have some of the best sales skills in the insurance industry today. The reason is because they sell a product that is not easy to explain, and that most people buy reluctantly, never hoping to have to use it. Needs-based selling is built upon this very idea of helping people to realize that they have a huge financial exposure.

Long term care insurance is a product that requires the agent to help his clients see and understand that need. So often, after having built a great rapport with his new client, the LTC specialist goes on to the next client and leaves his other financial needs exposed. This is partly due to the fact that he is very focused on LTC insurance, and partly because he often is reluctant to learn about simple estate planning concepts that could help his clients immensely. In my session, I will show agents how easy it is to learn some simple sales concepts in very specific areas, and how they can dramatically increase the amount of business that they write per client – without having to become NASD registered or become an advanced planning specialist. The greatest market for LTC insurance is the upper middle class market. These are people who need assistance in the way of some simple, and time-tested ideas to help them achieve even greater financial peace of mind – and LTC specialists are the very people to help them do that.

3. Why is your message important?

Gallant: America needs our help! With fewer people being recruited into the insurance industry every year, those that serve the public today have an obligation to become educated about ways to help people solve financial problems. Even though this is the information age – and there is a ton of information available to anyone who wants it – the truth is that without a financial professional helping the clients, it is unlikely that people will take action. The opportunity to serve is first; the income opportunity from doing so incredible.

4. What are the basics of overcoming common LTC objections?

Gallant: Overcoming objections is best achieved by bringing the likely objection up during the presentation. Four major objections have been identified, although they are often masked by statements that seem unrelated. I think the key is to expect objections and to bring the common objections to the forefront first and address them with the client. The way that this is done, however, is a skill that must be learned.

5. Why is LTCI so important?

Gallant: It is the one issue that, left unaddressed, can derail the best estate and retirement plan. Denial of the fact that one may need long term care leads to inaction. When the event happens and the clients are exposed to the devastating financial and emotional impact of a long term care event, insurance to pay for the best care possible and to preserve the estate and assets of the insured is invaluable. While LTC insurance is not cheap, a few months of receiving benefits will usually return years of premium payments. Also, the government is going to continue to reduce its role in paying for long term care. It has to. Paying for long term care for millions of potential baby boomers is simply unaffordable. The private sector has to continue to provide viable and affordable alternatives.

Mark J. Snyder
4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22: Attract and Retain High-Net-Worth Clients

The president of Mark J. Snyder Financial Services has carved out a niche for himself as a specialist with extremely wealthy senior clients. Learn how to grab a toe-hold in this lucrative demographic – it’s not as difficult as it might seem.

1. Tell us about your background.

Mark Snyder: I started in this business some 30 years ago as an unsuccessful insurance salesperson. Today I manage some $150 million for several hundred clients – many of them high-net-worth individuals. I have a client-retention ratio that’s better than 90 percent. How did I get here? It wasn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, either. I knew a lot about insurance but didn’t know anything about selling or attracting and retaining clients. I started in a suburban area. The population was very thin and scattered. I started buying every marketing book and tape I could find and taught myself how to market my practice.

2. What can people expect to take away from your session?

Snyder: At my session, attendees will learn how to find and cultivate the high-net-worth client. I have three basic ways to grow my business: advertising, referrals and networking through community organizations. I regularly use each of them. Some people don’t want to spend on advertising. There’s an old saying on Madison Avenue: “Advertising doesn’t cost, it pays.” Does it work? The truth is sometimes it does, and that’s because marketing is not an exact science – it’s more like an art. You can study it a lot, but in the end there are too many variables. While we’re always learning it’s also true that the more I market the better I get at it.

3. Why is your message important?

Snyder: I learned these things firsthand, through trial and error. Consider that marketing is one of the things that can separate a thriving business from a stagnating one. Contrary to popular belief, effective marketing does not have to cost a bundle, but it does have to communicate the unique values and services you can offer the prospect. I positioned myself as a retirement specialist. All good marketing makes a promise to improve the prospect’s life in some way. Very often you are a large part of that promise. Networking and getting referrals are similar. No one will refer others if they do not think highly of me and trust me. Nor will networking help if I do not present myself as knowledgeable, reliable and courteous. I take leadership positions on committees and do what I promise to do. This builds a reputation.

4. What are some of the basics of finding high-net-worth clients?

Snyder: Finding high-net-worth clients is not as tricky as you might think. They’re not all at the golf club. I found them by paying attention to more modest, blue-collar clients early in my career. I showed them solutions. They often knew wealthier people and referrals started to build or they later became wealthy thanks to things like increasing real estate values, settlements and the sale of their business. It’s not enough to sell a client. To grow your business you’ve got to hold on to your clients. Use them as a base to get more business and referrals. It’s often easier to make a better client from an existing one than to find a new one, but you need to do both.

5. What sort of skills do people need in order to track down those clients?

Snyder: To track down such clients you’ve got to be regularly marketing, but be sure you communicate your value proposition. Promise that you can improve the client’s life in some way either by protecting his family through insurance or helping him to retire or lessening his tax liability with investment strategies. Offer a valuable solution, regularly promote your good name and do a conscientious job for your clients.

Martin Fleishmann
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23: How to Join the Online Lead Revolution

Martin Fleishmann leads Atlanta, Ga.-based MostChoice.com, and is an expert in the world of low-cost, Internet-based lead generation techniques.

1. Tell us about your background.

Martin Fleishmann: I’m president and CEO and a co-founder of a leading online lead generation company, MostChoice.com. We were very early into the online advertising game, being an early advertiser on Overture/Yahoo since 2000. We started to use Google’s Adwords system in 2002 and were a fixed Premium Sponsor in 2003 (before they stopped doing it), and we were a Featured site partner with MSN from 2003-2005. So we know what’s going on at the search engines and all the other different types of methods used to generate online leads (and some aren’t pretty or high quality). We also know what works and what doesn’t in terms of conversion to a quality quote request, and what works in terms of how to convert a purchased lead into closed business.

2. What can people expect to take away from your session?

Fleishmann: There are several important things about buying and working online leads:

  • What to know and ask when talking with lead services about buying leads – mainly how are they generated (inbound-only vs. solicited) and how are they assigned (exclusive vs. semi-exclusive vs. shared widely).
  • Particular things to watch out for and warning signs.
  • How best to work online leads – the process to use that will get you the highest close rates.
  • Methods to use to track your results and refine your program.

3. Why is your message important?

Fleishmann: It’s the way the market is moving. A higher and higher percentage of all consumers, and seniors in particular, are going online to at least do some research before talking to an advisor. More and more are also getting comfortable with entering information in an online form and having someone call them back with help. If you haven’t worked with online leads before, you should start understanding how they work, investigating the best ways to use them, and at least start trialing the return on your money and time relative to other marketing methods.

4. Why does online lead generation represent such an important sales tool?

Fleishmann: Responding quickly to an inbound-only online request can get you very good returns – better than direct mail or costly seminars. Not that every lead is serious or will result in a close of course, but it can be a very cost-effective way to generate a larger book of business, as well as lead to more cross-sales and referrals. In the end, any marketing channel is all about the return you can get on your investments of money and time.

5. What does the future look like for Internet and Web-based sales assistance systems?

Fleishmann: I see nothing but growth for the foreseeable future. The Web is best at helping people get informed and helping them get connected. Clearly the period from 1998-2005 was mainly about using the Web for information, now we’ve all seen the tremendous growth in social networking as Myspace and Youtube have taken off the last year or two. Similarly, while the novelty of shopping online for an airplane ticket or a gift has worn off and growth is slowing, getting connected to expert help on a complex sale is something that was slower to get moving on the Web but will keep gaining traction longer.

Brian J. Kurtz
3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23: The Most Unique Seminar Topic in America: Converting Savings Bonds into Annuities

Producer, author and radio show host Brian J. Kurtz stumbled into the potentially lucrative notion of creating better returns for the more than 55 million Americans who own U.S. Savings Bonds.

1. Tell us about your background.

Brian Kurtz: I have been presenting public seminars on financial topics since 1993. Prior to that, I was a civilian employee of the Department of Defense, and participated in numerous annual savings bond campaigns. Even in the late 1980s, I was getting many of the same questions about savings bonds that people ask today. People still can’t look at their bonds and see what they’re earning, what they’re worth, when they’ll stop growing or any of that type of information.

2. What can people expect to take away from your session?

Kurtz: I strongly believe advisors will come away with a new appreciation for the complexity of savings bonds, and an understanding of the problems their clients are facing because of savings bonds. Most importantly, attendees will gain some new ideas for helping their existing clients and attracting new ones, because increased knowledge of this particular topic will set them apart from their peers.

3. Why is your message important?

Kurtz: Today, there is over $14 billion in U.S. Savings Bonds that are earning zero interest. And if that’s not bad enough, the IRS says that interest must be reported when the bond stops earning, whether it’s cashed or not. The number of fully matured bonds is increasing, not decreasing, and that’s an awful lot of money we can help our clients reposition and pass on properly.

4. Why is the savings bonds market the great untapped secret source of business you believe it is?

Kurtz: There are over 55 million people in this country that own some savings bonds – roughly one out of every six people. For the population over age 50, the percentage is even higher because bonds were around before IRAs, 401(k)s and similar accounts. I have been conducting seminars on this topic since 2001, and am still averaging over $750,000 in new annuity and life premium every time I conduct workshops. The sheer number of bondholders, combined with the lack of advisors knowledgeable on the subject, makes this market a potential goldmine.

5. What are some of the best ways of convincing seniors to make the switch?

Kurtz: The answer is twofold: First, if bonds are fully matured, they must be cashed in, and in many cases that leaves the client scrambling for tax-advantaged places to put some money. Second and more importantly, savings bond owners are exactly the type of people a good advisor wants to work with. As a group they typically are relatively affluent, middle class, retired and extremely conservative. In other words, excellent untapped prospects for just the type of services I provide. More than 90 percent of the monies I work with do not come from savings bonds, but from their existing annuities, 401(k)s, life insurances and other investments.

Mickey O’Neill
3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23: On the Air! How to Make Yourself into a Radio Star

Owner of Advent Media Services, Mickey O’Neill has taught dozens of advisors how to move into a position as trusted and influential financial authorities by hosting their own weekly radio programs. He offers plenty of insight on making the jump to the airwaves.

1. Tell us about your background.

Mickey O-Neill: I was recruited by Clear Channel Radio and started there as an account executive in late 1997. Quite by accident, I soon ended up on the air. I’d been making a nuisance of myself about an issue I thought deserved everyone’s attention: Y2K. Then a prospective client with a seven-figure ad budget called, asking if the station had any shows dedicated to the topic. Cupping his hand over the phone’s mouthpiece, my sales manager called me into his office and asked a life-changing question. “Mickey, how would you like to be a radio star?”

I didn’t want to be a radio star – I wanted to be a great salesperson. The manager explained, “You can start Saturday night at 9, and you get all the sales revenue from this client.” I was in.

Next came intense training under the Program Director, and I was on the air that weekend. I diligently applied the training I’d received, and the show grew from a one-hour show to two and then three hours weekly. Organizations called on me to speak, people recognized me at gatherings – I had become a celebrity.

Thereafter, when clients came to the station hoping to start their own shows, the account went to me and I was put in charge of training them to meet the high Clear Channel standards for on-air work. I left Clear Channel almost five years ago to train people how to leverage their own radio shows into millions of dollars in increased business.

2. What can people expect to take away from your session?

O’Neill: They’ll learn how long it takes to make yourself bulletproof as a radio host. They’ll also learn the secret of the two “Gatekeepers” – you must know this or you will probably never get on the air. And if you do, it’ll probably be because you pleased one, and the other will either leave you high and dry or sabotage your success.

I’ll tell them about the one person at the radio station – often the lowest-paid guy in the building – who does more to make or break their show than anyone else. So much so that one host gives this person a $1,000 Christmas bonus, and he’s not even her employee.

And we’ll talk about the one key success ingredient every attendee already has, for which there is no substitute, and which most new hosts never, ever use.

3. Why is your message important?

O’Neill: In this world of plate lickers, ad clutter and an increasingly jaded senior population, becoming a genuine radio show host is one of the last ways to become an immovable feature on the mental and emotional landscape of seniors in your market area. You are seen as trustworthy, likeable, and smart. You do an end-around on the other producers and planners, and once you’ve done it, they’ll never catch up. That is, if you do it right.

4. How easy is it to turn yourself into a respected and far-reaching radio show host, even with no experience on the air?

O’Neill: I’m not going to lie. For some people it seems to be impossible. But for most it’s a matter of learning some rules, applying some templates, and being consistent. Then it becomes a matter of time. Time to get comfortable on the air, and time for listeners to figure out that you’re the real deal.

5. What are some of your favorite radio success stories?

O’Neill: Well, Rush Limbaugh has done pretty well -and without my training! But I did train a real estate investor to host a show, and he leveraged that into over $1.5 million in private investor funds in under two years. Another person I trained – over a two-year period – is now on the air in her city eight hours a week, Monday through Saturday. Her business has exploded. Another client became important enough in her town that the district attorney invited her to sit on his Senior Scam Prevention Committee. That same host, the first time she did a seminar, announced it on the air between 7 and 8 in the morning. She had received more than 100 calls before noon, and well over 200 before the seminar date.

Alan Benedict
3:30-4:30 p.m. Final Expense Strategies

Owner of the Alan Benedict Company, the recognized final expense expert will discuss how to put the power of financial expense strategies to work for your clients.

1. Tell us about your background.

Alan Benedict: Before I started in the life insurance industry 21 years ago, I was a “sit across the kitchen table” salesman providing quality products and services to families. I thrived on the excitement of the pure, old-fashioned selling process. One attraction to the life insurance industry in those years was that I could take my transferable sales skills and apply them to the insurance field. However, as time progressed, I became disenchanted with my insurance career because of the ever-increasing lengthy sales cycle, delays due to compliance, underwriting, rate ups, declines, etc.

I so missed the simple days of “just being a salesman” and was about to leave the industry, but I had heard of the simplicity of final expense selling and its guaranteed whole life products. So I did some research, answered industry ads, and, as they say, the rest is history. I have for the past 11 years devoted all of my energies to a very exciting market.

The final expense gives me the lifestyle I desire, daytime activity, one-call closing, fast approval and no servicing. I now own my career choice, the career choice doesn’t own me. Writing and giving talks on final expense selling may help some long-time insurance veteran who is now frustrated get their career compass back on track before they leave the industry. It’s all my way of “giving back to my industry.”

2. What can people expect to take away from your session?

Benedict: How these small “popcorn policies” in the $10,000 range can be a wonderful gift of love to the children to help defray the high cost of funerals and cemetery property. I’ll show examples of current costs in the funeral industry (I’ve worked in a funeral home) and that a producer can easily add these guaranteed whole life plans to his existing product line and senior clientele. The producer may also desire to redirect his career focus and devote all his efforts to just selling one product, one presentation to one market.

3. Why is your message important?

Benedict: I have found that agents who sell in the senior market need to pick which sub-market – the “haves” or the “have-nots.” Final expense is a wonderful product for the latter market, as these families usually don’t have access to a quick $7,000 or more to cover the funeral costs. I like to think of “selling to the masses. not the classes.” This market so appreciates you and your guidance with helping them understand the value of final expense planning.

4. Why have final expense plans become such a popular option?

Benedict: For agents who have a large senior clientele, they can increase their profit center by adding final expense and with most carriers providing a 100-percent FYC, it’s very attractive.

5. What are the best ways to broach the subject with clients and help move towards a sale?

Benedict: The reason the industry calls this product “final expense” and not “burial insurance” is because there are many concepts why people purchase this product. First, of course, is to cover the funeral home and cemetery costs. But sales will be made as a gifting inheritance to the children and grandchildren, to provide income due to Social Security income reduction when a spouse dies, charitable contributions to their church, charity, etc. I will share with the audience how to introduce this topic with probing questions with their prospects.

James O. Mitchel
10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Seniors: Why They Don’t Buy and What to Do About It
Mitchel, head of market research at LIMRA International, has the inside line on understanding seniors’ reluctance to purchasing life insurance products.

1. Tell us about your background.

James Mitchel: LIMRA has been doing research on what and how consumers buy since the 1960s so we have a good understanding of why people buy insurance and why they do not buy. The last few years LIMRA has done a lot of research on why people do not buy the life insurance they say they need and I’ve been involved in a lot of that research. This research has provided some real insights. LIFE’s promotions of “Life Insurance Awareness Month” the last few years used a lot of the information from these studies.

2. What people can expect to take away from the session?

Mitchel: Advisors attending the session will have a better understanding of why seniors buy and the reasons seniors shop for life insurance but do not buy. They can feel comfortable using what is presented because it is based on research on thousands of people who shopped for and own life insurance. This information will help them be more effective in their future sales presentations with seniors.

3. Why the message is important?

Mitchel: Many seniors know that they need more life insurance, but unfortunately many of them do not take action, contributing to the underinsured problem in this country. They need an advisor that understands how they make financial decisions and can help them overcome their indecision.

4. What makes seniors dubious about buying life insurance?

Mitchel: Despite what we’ve been told for years, people do not always make financial decisions following a rational process. Psychological factors are involved in the decision-making, and for advisors to be effective they need to understand these psychological factors. If they say the right things in their sales presentations, seniors will feel comfortable with the decision to buy the life insurance they need.

5. What can you suggest that will help increase sales?

Mitchel: We know from research that advisors say and do things in sales presentations that prevent them from closing sales. Behavioral economics offers insights on what advisors should be doing in their sales presentations that will result in more sales.