David Kleinhandler is managing partner of DKA and David Kleinhandler, LLC. Through his companies, he provides insurance planning to his niche audience – the country’s wealthiest families and business owners. He also works with top estate and tax lawyers, CPAs, and investment professionals, helping their clients see insurance as the financial asset it is, putting it to work to create new wealth and protect assets for future generations. To find out how he does it, read on.

Q: Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in the insurance industry? What did you do before you sold insurance?

David Kleinhandler: In 1987, I was working on the foreign exchange trading desk at Bankers Trust. I knew I wanted to change careers, and find an opportunity where I could interact with people, face-to-face. I went to a career fair and met a broker from Equitable Life Insurance Cos. He spoke to me about the opportunities in life and disability insurance and I was really intrigued. Shortly after, I went to work for him, and before I knew it, I was closing my first sale – a $15,000 a month disability insurance policy and a $4 million dollar life insurance policy – from an investment banker I located through cold calling. I made $80,000 in commissions from that first sale and I was hooked.

Q:What is your favorite thing about selling insurance?

DK: The best thing about my job is knowing that I am protecting my client’s families. I have one client who had a $5 million policy. The family lost the majority of its wealth to Madoff. When the matriarch of the family passed away after years of terminal illness, the death benefit literally saved the family financially. I get a call almost once a week from them, thanking me for protecting their family and their future.

Q: What do you think the biggest challenge facing life insurance agents is right now?

DK: The two biggest challenges the industry is facing right now are: Being able to gain access to potential clients and being able to convince people that now is the right time to buy life insurance, despite current economic conditions. People are weary of making any kind of investment, even one that could help with retirement or provide their family with tax-free money upon their death. Agents need to restore trust with potential clients and really take the time to educate them about the value they can help them achieve.

Q: What is the most common sales objection you get when trying to close a life insurance deal? How do you overcome it?

DK: When trying to close a sale, there are a lot of misconceptions about what life insurance actually does and how it can be used to generate tax-advantaged wealth in both retirement and estate plans. I always take the time to educate my clients, and if necessary, work with their advisors, so they understand how all the pieces fit together in order to ensure that clients are confident in the plans we create on their behalf.

Q: What’s one resource, program, service, or piece of software that you couldn’t be successful without?

DK: I am an avid reader who makes sure to read business, political, and trade news on a daily basis. The more I know, the better professional I can be. I also make sure to take the time to fully understand the policies I am selling. I don’t just read the summaries; I dig deeper to ensure I am choosing the right policy to fit my client’s needs.

Q: What advice do you have for agents who are just starting their careers?

DK: I firmly believe that there are a lot of opportunities in life insurance. For those starting out, be prepared to do whatever it takes. Be aggressive. Don’t be afraid to cold call. Read! The more you know about our industry, the economic climate, etc., the better salesperson you will be. Also, make sure you never stop learning, and continue your education if possible by obtaining industry licenses like CLU, ChFC, CFP, etc.