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I am concerned for our industry. As I travel around the country speaking, I often meet agents who tell me that if they can get in front of a prospect or client they will sell them.

I immediately ask them, “So how many people do you get in front of every month?” Overwhelmingly, they say two or three per month. The data from LIMRA supports this assertion. They find the majority of agents sell between 30 and 40 applications per year.

Then I ask them, “What if you could increase your appointments to six or eight per month?” They always answer that it would change their careers.

Recently, I wrote about how to develop a form to increase sales.

But there is another easy way to dramatically increase your appointments. Ask great questions about issues that matter. We have an enormous amount of topics to ask questions about. Asking questions in a conversational way creates awareness and interest.

Ask simple questions: Will providing Social Security benefits require higher taxes in the future? Could taxes be much higher? Do you want to pay those taxes? If I could show you how to reduce or eliminate those taxes, would you want to know about that?

Listen to the client

Second, our opinions do not matter. Only the opinions of our prospects and clients matter. So focus on asking what they think will happen, rather than telling them what you think will happen. Remember the best way to be interesting is to be interested.

This is a short list of concerns you should ask your prospects and clients about:

  • International issues: European crisis, China’s slowing economy, war in the Middle East
  • Social Security, health care costs, Medicare, Medicaid
  • Volatility of financial markets, derivatives, inflation, deflation
  • Falling home prices, underwater mortgages, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac
  • Unemployment, poverty in America, the American Dream 
  • Natural disasters and surprise “Black Swan” events we didn’t predict
  • The nation’s $15-trillion debt, state and city budget shortfalls
  • Demographics and higher taxes– where will the money come from?

Success in our industry comes from activity. Ask questions about these issues and you will create concern and interest. Then explain how you can make a difference in their life.

Never plan how much you are going to sell. Rather, plan how much you are going to show. Use questions to put our products in front of people and they will buy.

Talk about the issues that concern people and the sales will follow.