Here is a quick look at selling processes used by six top producers who have graced the pages of Life Insurance Selling. Click on the link to read their entire Producer Profile feature.
Andrew Rosenbaum, CLU, joined Strategies for Wealth, a New York City-based General Agency for Guardian Life, in 1976 and has been there ever since. He meets almost exclusively with referred prospects, typically seeing 10 to 12 clients and prospects per week. Here’s how he describes his selling process:
“Our meeting is typically 45 minutes to an hour. We talk about philosophy, what the person likes about his existing situation, what he doesn’t like, and what pitfalls he sees. I give people an opportunity to talk and then see if there is a match philosophically. If someone says they get an 8% return on their investments and want to get it up to 9%, that’s not a match. But if someone says, ‘I’m doing well, but I don’t have a game plan or road map to get from where I am now to where I’d like to be when I retire,’ that’s something I can work with. I talk to them about what can get in the way and how we can get them there. If they want to move forward, I give them a financial questionnaire, I ask for their documents, existing insurance policies, wills, casualty insurance, homeowners, auto — I don’t do it myself, but work with others in my firm to review these policies as well as trust documents and account statements. I ask them to complete a cash flow worksheet so I can understand their expenses. I’ll offer to set up their own Living Balance Sheet, which is a proprietary Internet-based Guardian planning system. My second meeting with the client is a fact-finding session, and in the third meeting, I present specific recommendations.”
Read Life Insurance Selling’s Producer Profile of Andrew Rosenbaum from the December 2009 issue.
The 4-Stage Sales Process
Insurance-based financial planner Michael Weisman, CFP, of St. Louis, subject of the April 2009 Producer Profile in Life Insurance Selling, has a client mix heavily laced with small-business owners, professionals, executives and a sizable block of senior clients. If he’s just been introduced to someone and wants to arrange for a first meeting, he offers to limit it to 15 minutes. Every client he engages goes through a four-stage sales process:
The first stage is “meet and greet.” It’s all about establishing rapport, a friendly connection, a comfort level. The sole objective of stage one is to move on to stage two, which Weisman labels “discovery and diagnosis.” He asks the client to empty the drawers at home of all financial paperwork — “Bring it in so that we can get it organized and see what’s missing,” he says.
“In stage three, after I’ve looked at everything, I bring back answers. I give the client ideas and recommendations. At that point, I tell my clients, ‘We’ve exchanged no promises, there are no contracts to sign and you owe me nothing.’ There is zero cost to that point, other than some time and effort, and if they walk away, at least they walk away organized.
“But I also ask them that if my recommendations are meeting their needs, I’d like to go to stage four — implementation. I’d like them to buy.” Nearly every client who gets to stage two follows through to stage four and some kind of sale.
Read Life Insurance Selling’s Producer Profile of Michael Weisman, CFP, from the April 2009 issue.
The Two-Appointment Sale
Perennial MDRT Top of the Table qualifier Jason J. Dudum, LUTCF, CEO of Dudum Financial and Insurance Services Inc. in San Francisco, specializes in advanced estate planning and asset management. Here’s how he describes the selling process he and his brother Keith employ in their practice:
“We use the two-appointment sale. We never meet with a prospect already having a sale in mind; we meet with a notepad and a pen to simply gather information. The goal of this meeting is to ask a lot of questions and start developing the client relationship. We then will set up a follow-up meeting where we present ideas on how to help the client reach his or her goals. At this point, we have provided enough information and have addressed the major concerns; a sale should naturally follow.”
Read Life Insurance Selling’s Producer Profile of Jason and Keith Dudum from the September 2009 issue.
The Simple Approach
At Bloomington, Ind.-based Bill C. Brown Associates, Ron Remak splits his time evenly between running the agency he bought in 1997 and working as a practicing producer. Remak eschews sales gimmicks and technologies; when he meets with a client, he brings a pen, a pad of paper and his full attention.
“There’s always a flavor of the year as far as sales systems go, but I have found that simplicity sells. Just asking the right questions and leading the people, based on their goals and objectives, is effective.”
Read Life Insurance Selling’s Producer Profile of Ron Remak from the July 2011 issue.
The Small-Business Quarterback
In his decades in the business, Mark Weddle, CLU, senior vice president at Manhattan, Kan.-based Keating & Associates Inc., has developed an extremely successful practice that turns small-business owners into loyal clients by identifying problems and leading them to solutions.
“[We] don’t necessarily go to a meeting with a prospective client with much in our hand. We don’t really need to. A doctor doesn’t walk in to see a patient with a bag full of medicine — he just walks in and says, ‘What’s the problem?’” Weddle says.
The key to orchestrating real problem solving for the client, Weddle believes, is for the financial pros to take charge of the process. “We want to be the quarterback. Someone might say we’re kind of arrogant for wanting to be in charge, but that’s what we do here. Nobody else does it for our clients, anyway. We’ve found that one of the best things we can do for our clients is to find the leaks and stop them.”
Read Life Insurance Selling’s Producer Profile of Mark Weddle from the September 2008 issue.
The Specialized Market Niche
Pam Green, CLU, ChFC, FLMI, ACS, never thought she would be starting over in the workforce at age 46. After 26 years at the same company, she was abruptly let go from her management position in 2006. Green turned that negative experience into a positive when she joined San Antonio-based Sapient Financial Group, a MassMutual agency, as an independent financial advisor in 2007. She quickly grew her business by focusing on helping people trying to transition into new careers after being laid off. Green says earning trust and building relationships is a key when working with this market segment.
“My very first client was a former co-worker who was transitioning as well. It goes way beyond just talking about their financial needs. It’s about actually helping them in the transition process. That is binding cement in a relationship — they know you care about them.”
When she sits down with clients, she takes them through an entire process and discusses everything they may be facing. “We look at whether it’s smart to roll over a pension into a 401(k). We talk about what insurance benefits have been lost. We talk about what kind of work they want to do now. When are they going to retire and how they are going to do that. It’s an entire total needs analysis — what do you want to do from here, and how can I help you get there? It’s a huge process — it’s what are we going to do from here for the rest of your life?”
Read Life Insurance Selling’s Producer Profile of Pam Green from the May 2010 issue.