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Honey Leveen: Breaking into LTCi…You MUST!

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I recently had lunch with two good friends. Both expressed their desire to sell LTCi.

My friend Lucy has spent the last two years doing a good job building her business specializing in annuity sales. She confided in me how badly her income has dropped because of recent decreases in her commission rates. She ardently believes in LTCi and also thinks she’s leaving lots of money on the table by not selling it. Of course, she’s right!

The other friend, Hugo, is rebuilding his insurance career after a hiatus. For cash flow, he’s been working with Medigap and medical insurance. He lamented about how much time he spends on each sale and the lack of persistency.  He believes in LTCi and that he’s got a vast “warm market” of LTCi prospects.

I want to help both of them penetrate and succeed in the LTCi marketplace. Why? Because from the depth of my soul, based on what I’ve seen and what I know, the world needs more placed LTCi. The American Association for LTCi’s motto puts it succinctly: “Long-Term Care Insurance is Good for America”.

People who feel like my friends Lucy and Hugo often call, enthusiastically – almost urgently – asking me, “What’s the best LTCi policy out there?” This is kind of funny because they don’t already have an interested prospect FOR WHOM to find the “best policy.”  They’re putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. There IS no best policy – choosing a policy is complex and depends on many factors about each individual prospect. That’s the way I learned and I’m still learning after 22 years. 

Wanabee LTCi advisors often try an alternate route to magically obtain their LTCi learning curve. Evidently, advisors are reluctant to give up on the possibility that there is a quick, easy “Silver Bullet” approach to LTCi sales! Once frustrated with my answer to their first question, they often ask me to teach the minutiae of each LTCi product. Again, they’re asking the wrong question and taking a failure-oriented approach. You have to have an interested, viable prospect first before it makes any sense to learn product details. Furthermore, you will not attract prospects by overwhelming them with details about alternative policies.  Advisors taking this approach are not seeing “the forest for the trees.” You’re not going to sell LTCi unless you understand the big picture first – that there is a great need for LTCi in the U.S. – and your clients need you to help them.

Once advisors come to terms with the reality of LTCi’s long learning curve, I can give them pointers on how they can successfully penetrate this wide-open, persistent, lucrative, appreciative marketplace.

I’ve written frequently about the need for advisors to own LTCi themselves in order to succeed in the LTCi marketplace. If you don’t understand and act on the urgency to own LTCi, why should your client? Lucy and Hugo have taken my advice on this. I see no other way for advisors to start making a living selling LTCi. Unless they’re uninsurable, I also don’t understand why all advisors would not want to do this: LTCi premiums can be very low and the first year commissions on LTCi make owning it an extremely low-cost proposition.

The big picture is that LTCi ownership is essential for anyone wanting to ensure dignity, wealth, access and choices throughout their life. It’s also essential for anyone who wants to make sure their family remains unified physically, financially, and emotionally if LTC is needed. You must feel this passionately and you must feel it from within. Once you gain this passion, you must keep it stoked.

Here’s a past column with some good tips on how to feel the passion.

You’ll also need to stay abreast of current events as they pertain to LTC. Doing so will deepen your LTCi fire and keep you motivated!

Only once you have accomplished what I describe above will you be ready to create LTCi prospects. Once you have a prospect, you’ll easily and quickly learn about the nature of individual carriers and their policies. Then, the LTCi sale can fall into place. 

The world needs qualified LTCi advisors. Based on what we see politically, economically, sociologically and statistically, way too little LTCi is being sold. Your clients want you to show them LTCi, and it behooves you to do so.

After you’ve taken this month’s advice, in next month’s column, I’ll give additional practical, boots-on-the-ground advice on how to create and maintain your LTCi learning curve, and how to break into the LTCi market.