Producers these days don’t just sell — they educate. As more Americans go without life insurance (or without enough life insurance), it becomes the producer’s job to teach clients and prospects about the benefits and protection life insurance provides.
Just in time for Life Insurance Awareness Month, we sat down with three top producers to get their tips and techniques for explaining the critical role life insurance plays in any financial plan.
To read part two of this article, see: Are your life insurance clients uninformed?
Q. As you communicate with your prospects to make them aware of the importance of and potential need for life insurance coverage, what kinds of resources do you use to educate them? Do you typically create your own materials, or do you rely on some outside resources as well?
Sherry K. Barton, CLU, registered representative for NY Life Securities LLC, in Oklahoma City: The resource I use the most to sell life insurance is my own personal experience, being widowed at the age of 40 and left with two great kids and very little life insurance. I tell my clients and prospects, “It is expensive to live; it is expensive to die. Don’t do it for free!”
Then the educating begins regarding why it is called life insurance — because life goes on! I use my own materials and tell them I am coming over with a No. 2 pencil and a Big Chief tablet, and I break down the money that could be generated for a family from the death proceeds. The wealth of knowledge I have gathered as a member of the Million Dollar Round Table has also played a critical role in my life insurance conversations. Through the MDRT Annual Meeting, I am able to learn what has helped fellow members educate their clients about the importance of life insurance.
Arkady Milgram, CLU, ChFC, financial strategist and special care planner with Walker Financial Partners LLC, in Westlake Village, Calif.: I use both my own materials — mostly compliance-approved — and companies’ booklets and brochures. Resources developed by the MDRT as well as insight from fellow MDRT members have also had an impact on my approach. Depending on the situation, I try to address the prospect’s specific concerns and discuss some common misconceptions about life insurance upfront. Usually, it helps people calm down and listen more attentively instead of worrying about something they’ve heard previously. Technology-wise, I either use PowerPoint slides or PDF copies of published literature pieces.
Michael L. Weintraub, CLU, president of the retirement division of Ascension Benefits & Insurance Solutions: Many years ago, as new agents, we relied on canned sales talks. My favorite was “You’ll Earn a Fortune.” This was long before PowerPoint and the Internet, so we had laminated flip charts showing a drawing of an old man in dark rain gear watching in terror as the Good Ship Independence sailed out to sea because the old man did not save enough for retirement. The story was about saving for retirement as well as the possibility of dying before retirement and having the life insurance policy pay the beneficiary the amount that would have been there, had there been enough time. The concept worked, and many of us succeeded by using this sales track.
Today’s consumer is looking for more than “You’ll Earn a Fortune.” Attention spans are shorter, so we must get the story and hard facts across more quickly and succinctly. The best resource for finding what really works is as easy to get as going to www.lifehappens.org. This is the LIFE Foundation website. And it is free. There are countless ideas, one-pagers, giveaways, and special producer’s tool kits for Life Insurance Awareness Month.
One idea I learned from Van Mueller is to confirm your first appointment by sending a bag of microwave popcorn with the time you will be there. Say the popcorn is for the short video you will be showing. Pick out any of the compelling realLIFEstories videos, and you have set the stage for whatever life insurance topic you care to discuss.
Q. Would you say you spend a lot of time educating your prospects on the need for life insurance, or not? And if you do feel that education is an important part of your approach, how do you go about it?
Milgram: I strongly believe that my primary function is the education of consumers! The selling part itself is a distant second. Educating clients is my favorite part of this profession. I really enjoy witnessing people’s “aha” moments, when they connect the dots in their minds. In most of my presentations the cost factor is either not brought up at all or is discussed with ease — my clients can answer the “why” question themselves!