A disability insurance sale has a long gestation period, with several definite phases, including crafting your strategic marketing plan, contacting the prospects your marketing efforts identified, meeting your prospects, taking the applications, underwriting the cases with the insurer, delivering the policies, and placing the policies in force. I find that this cycle averages about three or four months.

To start your first quarter of 2011 with strong disability insurance sales, don’t delay – right now is the right time to start planning so that you have enough time to implement and achieve your goals.

Start your planning process by analyzing your 2010 disability sales statistics.

  • What percentage of your 2010 disability insurance sales came from existing clients?
  • How much in-force disability premium did you place in 2010?
  • What is the average size of your disability insurance cases?
  • How many cases were rated or declined?
  • What was your closing ratio? (Total cases divided by total prospects)
  • Analyze your trends: For instance, is there a certain time of year when you sold more? Why? Did your 2009 marketing plan meet your goals for 2010? If not, what worked and what didn’t? Discard ineffective plans and refine the plans that produced results. What markets or efforts worked best?

Next, use your 2010 statistics to set goals for 2011.

  • What is your disability insurance premium goal for 2011? Remember, without a defined goal, you don’t have a plan.
  • How many prospects do you need in order to reach your premium goal? (Premium goal divided by average size 2010 case = total number of individual sales. And total number of sales divided by closing ratio = total number of new prospects needed)
  • What is your strategic marketing plan for reaching the total number of new prospects you need in order to reach your 2011 premium goal?

Now you can create and implement your strategic marketing plan for 2011.

  • How will you find new prospects? Referrals? Purchase lists? Networking?
  • How will you contact existing clients who don’t have disability insurance? You have already established credibility with your clients, so this is a pool of potential prospects to whom it’s relatively easy to sell.
  • How will you contact your disability clients to let them know about available increase options or their need for expanded coverage? Identify existing disability insurance clients who haven’t recently evaluated the adequacy of their coverage; for example, new income or new dependents can mean a new need for more coverage.
  • How will you obtain referrals? Plan to ask your clients and other centers of influence for referrals.

Keep track of your 2011 goals and create a system of tracking your cases and production. You need to make yourself accountable. Use a success manual, create a computer spreadsheet, or use sales software. It’s absolutely vital to track the efficacy of your marketing plan and sales results. This will make it easier in future years to plan and execute successfully. Remember the old refrain, “If you do not have a plan to succeed, then you have surely planned to fail!”

Jamie Fleischner is president of Set for Life Insurance, a nationally recognized disability insurance brokerage. For more information, visit www.setforlifeinsurance.com.