It seems that being in the middle is never where we want to be. But when it comes to disability insurance (DI), just the opposite is true. In fact, being in the middle — the middle market that is — has never been better.

Who is the middle market? It is the people you see every day — the people with whom you work and socialize. It could be the person you just ate lunch with. Take a quick scan of your checkbook, and you’ll continue to see the middle market — your barber, florist, dentist, day care worker and even your priest. In fact, take a few minutes right now to think of as many people as you know in different occupations.

Now look at your list. How many of them fall into the middle market? Chances are most, if not all of them. Now take another look at this list. You now also have a list of prospects to target with DI. If you tried to come up with a list of high-income acquaintances, that would be more difficult. Some agents still take on this challenge because high-premium, white-collar clients translate into big earnings. While that is true, white-collar clients have assets on which to fall back, so missing their paycheck might not present such a problem. For the middle market, including everyone on your list, their paycheck matters more than ever. For them, bringing home a paycheck is a necessity, not a luxury.

They count on their income, but do they protect it? Chances are they do not. Most of them don’t know about DI or they simply haven’t been approached. Often, asking the client about DI can lead to a sale.

Another way to initiate the middle market sale is to go through the employer. I’ve found that middle market employers are very receptive to the idea of a voluntary short-term disability product — especially because of the high cost of health insurance. While some can’t afford to provide their employees with a long-term disability plan, a short-term plan gives them something they can offer. These employers recognize the importance of helping their employees protect their paychecks. Some great examples of clients we’ve had include a five-person carpenter firm and a trucking owner and his four drivers. Again, middle market small businesses are everywhere you look.

The door to the middle market DI sale is wide open!

Editor’s Note: The preceding was adapted from “Write in the Middle” by Marshall Gruening. It originally ran in the April 2006 issue of Life Insurance Selling. To read the full article, click here.

To read last week’s Words from the Wise, click here.

For more about working with the middle market, see:

How to reach and teach the middle market

Panel: Middle market key to industry growth

How to attract middle market clients