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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

Emotional Needs Must Always Come First

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A competitor lost a sale to me last week. Before we met, my new client forwarded her email correspondence with the other agent to me.

It became obvious why he failed to instill confidence in her and lost the sale, despite the fact that we were both referred in and he contacted her before I did. I know him, not well, but believe he is ethical and qualified to sell LTCi.

Here’s a quote from the beginning of the other agent’s email:

  • Inflation benefit rider increases the coverage (not the premium) each year
  • Covers all levels of care with strong Home Health Care benefits
  • Premiums may be partially to fully tax deductible; all benefits are received income tax free
  • These are individual policies, not group or association type certificate plans
  • You can pick and choose from a myriad of plan designs, unlike group or association type coverages.
The advantage of long-term care insurance is that it helps delay and defray using your own (low tax basis) retirement assets to meet long-term care costs.

I prefer NOT to describe policy features in initial email exchanges. I MAY do so, but only after I’ve gotten to know my prospect pretty well and only in response to an emailed question.

It’s hard to imagine that a prospect might be interested in knowing about the individual vs. group status of the policy at this stage.

The other agent emphasizes the tax advantages of LTCi by mentioning them twice in this initial email, but experience has shown me that my own prospects don’t really care that much about tax advantages at this initial stage of the presentation, either.

The other agent has offered a smattering of information, about half of it being irrelevant and not compelling. Maybe my new client thought he was too “all over the place” for her.

My prospects want to know what LTCi can do for them, personally. At this early stage in my client relationships, we talk about the emotional value of LTCi, not its tax advantages. We discuss why having LTCi will give them greater dignity, options, and choices if the need for care arises, and how LTCi can minimize stress and strife among family members.

My competitor went on to quote alternative prices within the body of this forwarded email – something I definitely don’t do. I believe doing this was possibly the fatal blow to his potential sale. My experience shows that until and unless a prospect understands more about why LTCi ownership is an emotional “must” for them, it’s all expensive.

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I am all in favor of saving time: both mine and the clients. I do email illustrations, but not specific alternatives until we are well past this initial stage of familiarization and provocation of emotional need.

When I initially send prices via email, I clearly explain that they are sample prices only, based on attached comparison software generated illustrations. I go on to assure clients that their individual prices may differ, depending on the features they choose.

Perhaps the other agent does not own LTCi comparison software. If he does, why would he quote alternatives within the body of his email? I don’t believe anyone serious about selling LTCi can get along without this tool; it has so many uses.

I generally email a separate, one-page apples-to-apples, comparison software generated cross-comparison of the leading LTCi competitors. I forewarn and emphasize to my clients that they will be looking at sample prices only. In fact, I normally write “sample prices only” on the illustration. I tell them we will be able to use this illustration to determine which of the competitors has an “edge” for them in their specific circumstances.

We can also use the illustration to teach them how their policy works, something they will need to learn if they are to feel confident about buying and owning LTCi. I remind them that we will probably be able to tweak features so that their LTCi policy has maximum edge and value, while fitting comfortably into their budget. I also tell them we will need 10 to 15 minutes together, to review this illustration by phone.

This is exactly what I did in this case. We got on the phone the next day, had a meaningful conversation about what plan was best for her and how it would work, and this prospect invited me to take her application the following day. I actually recommended the same carrier as my competitor did, but I designed it differently (it cost a little less and was longer and leaner, with stronger built-in inflation protection). I guess something about my style must have made her feel more comfortable.

It’s pretty clear to me that the other agent was trying to demonstrate his sincerity, openness, and transparency, but in my opinion, he just went about it the wrong way.