When it comes to new sales, 2010 has been my worst year ever; up until now, my sales have increased every year since 1990.

It feels like I must be doing something wrong – but I’m not.

When interest rates and the stock market fell, portfolios tanked, and the front page of nearly each day’s paper covered huge budget shortfalls, I was confident that people would finally connect the dots, and that LTCI sales would boom. I fantasized about never hearing the “I’ll just self-insure” excuse again. In reality, the opposite happened, and my sales actually slowed down for the first time in 20 years.

I overlooked the fact that people under stress are not logical. As fear takes over their lives, they can become irrational. Under these circumstances, they don’t want facts, no matter how obvious and well publicized, to interfere with their procrastination and denial.

Two years ago, my phone would ring about once a week with referrals who knew they wanted and needed LTCI, and knew they wanted to buy it from me. This is not happening as often anymore.

I need to re-invent my marketing efforts.

What’s the next big thing?

In May of this year, I attended Phyllis Shelton’s Worksite and Combo Products Conference. This conference helped me figure out how I will re-invent and revamp my LTCI marketing efforts.

Since consumers appear to be seized with fear, causing fewer to spend money – any money – even on something essential, responsible, and appropriate like LTCI, advisors will need to figure out how to use the same amount of time to reach more people.

According to Shelton, The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008 National Compensation Survey reports only 6 percent of employees in firms with fewer than 100 employees, and 24 percent of 100-plus-employee firms, have access to LTCI.

Within a short period of time, the source of new LTCI sales has shifted to the workplace half of the time.

There are 6 million firms in the United States with employees, and 5.9 million of them have fewer than 100 employees. This means that the opportunities are endless, as the small groups are the easiest to sell and enroll. A major employee benefits survey reports that only about 8 percent of employees say they participate in a group LTCI plan, but with total management support and a thorough employee education plan, you can achieve participation rates of 25 percent or more.

Here are some of what Phyllis says are characteristics of a good group LTCI prospect:

  • The owner is maternal/paternal
  • The employer values employees
  • Employees have good tenure
  • The company is successful
  • The company is stable, with no recent mergers, layoffs, or acquisitions
  • Management will be involved and supportitive

Why worksite works for me

So I’m headed into the workplace. Worksite LTCI sales will have more layers and a longer process than individual sales, but I will reach more people.

I’ve started inviting to lunch the key people I know in businesses that are compatible with group LTCI. It turns out I know many such people.

Over lunch, I tell them very directly what my motives are and why I want to shift to workplace LTCI sales. I tell them the odds of the average person needing care, and about how costly employee long term care can be for their business in the form of lost time and productivity, and health expenses.

They usually have questions about how LTCI works. It’s surprising how very little they know.

We talk about different types of employer-sponsored LTCI programs.

We talk about how even a purely voluntary LTCI offering can help their bottom line and make them look like “good guys” to their employees.

We talk about how the company must be willing to permit employees to have lots of LTCI education, probably on an ongoing basis.

And to you, I talk about how I’m re-inventing my business.

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.