For the past 20 years, I’ve had great success selling long term care insurance – largely, I feel, because I figured out early on that people are more interested in the emotional benefits of LTCI ownership than its financial benefits.

Back when I started specializing in LTCI, the few advisors who recommended the product tended to emphasize how LTCI would protect wealth and allow financial legacies to remain intact, while making little reference to the emotional benefits of the product. I intuitively knew that this was not the right approach; for me, the emotional benefits come first, and I gently hammer on them as much as I can. LTCI’s financial benefits always come second – always.

At the time, any presentations that were based on the sale’s emotional factors focused largely on scare tactics. We saw advisors suggest to clients that if they did not purchase LTCI, they could lose their estate. I know that when I’m buying something, I don’t want to feel scared or bullied into acting – and I definitely don’t recommend this tactic for selling LTCI.

The good news is that today, we see less and less LTCI scare-tactic selling than ever before. Advisors seem to understand that the key to successful LTCI sales lies in emphasizing how owning of the product can radically change circumstances for the better and enable families to remain intact, with less stress for all involved.

Statistics back up the emotional sale

I always express how well LTCI can keep families together, offering dignity, options, and choices. In fact, I often include this precise language in my 30-second elevator speech – and I feel gratified that research finally confirms that I have been right about doing this.

In May 2010, Agent Media, in conjunction with the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI), conducted the 2010 LTCI Market Study, a nationwide survey of licensed insurance agents.

When asked, “What factor is most important to clients when they evaluate an LTCI policy?” 35 percent of agents named the ability to stay at home. An additional 19 percent stated that flexible LTCI benefits were most important to their clients. In short, these two items have everything to do with dignity, options, and choices – or the emotional empowerment of LTCI.

Putting yourself in their shoes

If you want to successfully break into the LTCI marketplace, you need to become an expert on how LTCI can help families stay intact. This is not that difficult to do since stories abound of families whose loved ones needed care.

My advice is to not only listen to as many of these stories as possible, but imagine that you are the person who needs care. Then, imagine you are each family member in this story. Think through each scenario, picturing the ramifications for each person, as well as the likely outcomes. Keep doing this.

With me, it’s kind of a game, and like any game or sport, the more you practice, the better you get at it, and the easier it should be to sell LTCI. As a fringe benefit, you will find you have more empathy, along with more passion for LTCI.

The longer you specialize in LTCI, the more you tend to hear different variations of the same stories over and over. This is both good and bad news. Unfortunately, there is still much suffering out there as family members struggle to bear the emotional and financial burdens of caring for their loved ones. The good news is that families urgently need us and our products in order to give them peace of mind. We can’t change the world, but we can dramatically alter the circumstances for our clients who are protected when they most need care. For these people and their families, LTCI creates a huge change for the better – and we can rock their world.

Honey Leveen has been an LTCI specialist for 19 years and blogs regularly on industry trends at www.honeyleveen.com. She can be reached at honey@honeyleveen.com.