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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications > Social Media

Life events a key trigger for social media selling

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The No. 1 reason consumers shop for life insurance? According to LIMRA, 41 percent cite a life event.

Having a child, getting married, starting a new job or being promoted, buying a new house, getting divorced, the death of a loved one or even surviving an accident. These are the types of life events that most frequently trigger a newfound willingness to buy life insurance. They are also the types of events that are now most frequently discovered via social media. Gone are the days of scanning the newspaper to see who got married or had a baby. Now it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google + or Instagram where word spreads.

According to Clara Shih, CEO and founder of Hearsay Social, 1.7 billion people are active on social media on a monthly basis. Shih talked about social media and its impact in the insurance industry at the recent Insurance Executive Conference in New York. Shih, who can list being a Starbucks board of directors member among the many accolades on her résumé, told the audience of insurance execs that while Internet 1.0 was all about replacing human capital (think Travelocity, Expedia and other travel websites putting travel agents out of business), Internet 2.0 and social media are all about enhancing human capital – something that can make agents and advisors superhuman and omnipresent.

During her presentation, Shih cited a study that says knowing about three life events of clients and prospects leads to an average production gain of $7,333. That’s a pretty impressive figure, but is it really that surprising?

If a producer learns of even one key life event that traditionally has been a prompt for buying life insurance – or more life insurance – it’s not too far-fetched to think that reaching out in a timely manner to that person could lead to a sale that brings the person’s coverage in line with their new needs. Learn about and act on three life events and a producer’s chances of making a sale increase even more.

Shih actually wrote the book – a New York Times-featured bestseller no less – on social selling with her 2007 title, “The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Market, Sell and Innovate.” It is even used as a marketing textbook at Harvard Business School. Advisors need to incorporate social selling into their own workflows. While three hours might have been carved out of an old workday for cold calls, maybe now it’s only an hour of cold calls but three hours of social selling.

In her remarks at the conference, Shih noted how carriers have gone from seeing social media as a compliance hurdle to seeing it as a sales opportunity. Some companies now even require new agents to create a social media presence upon starting in their new position.

After all, as more and more people abandon traditional media in favor of checking Twitter or Facebook to see what new information their group of friends and influencers have curated for them, it only makes sense for advisors to have a presence where clients and prospects are looking for new information.

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