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4 ways the rules of engagement are changing

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“The rules of engagement have changed between buyer and seller. Today’s buyer has much more information and is much more educated,” says Patrick Leary, Assistant Vice President at LIMRA, and he has plenty of research and statistics to support this claim. At the Advisor Network Summit 2014 in Las Vegas, Leary discussed how the role of the sales professional is “no longer just about providing information, but about helping consumers weed through information, to help identify needs and provide solutions.” Here are four takeaways from his presentation.


1. Consumers may need to be convinced of an advisor’s value.

How do consumers engage with our industry? When consumers were asked which sources they rely on in the shopping process, there were four basic answers:

  • Advisors: 69%
  • Internet: 61%
  • Place of employment: 33%
  • Family and friends: 33%

However, when those consumers were asked which source they most value, they responded:

  • Advisors: 37%
  • Internet: 25%
  • Place of employment: 16%
  • Family and friends: 12%

Sources: Consumer Internet Use for Insurance, 2012. Shopping for Life Insurance: Different Paths to Success, 2013

 trapped online

2. Consumers are stuck online.

When discussing their online buying experience, consumers say they feel stuck. They go online, interact with friends and family, research products – “but they end up getting caught in circular logic and not being able to close the deal,” says Leary.

Why are consumers stuck?

  • They get accustomed to going online for everything else.
  • There are countless insurance websites.
  • There are few places to transact online.
  • Life insurance is a complex product.
  • The terminology is confusing.

Sources: Consumer Internet Use for Insurance, 2012. Shopping for Life Insurance: Different Paths to Success, 2013

missed target

3. There is a disconnect between intent and perception.

When insurance companies are looking to engage consumers online, their intentions are not always perceived the way they intend. New research conducted by LIMRA and Maddock Douglas tested what consumers really think of the language used in the insurance industry.

For example:

What we say     What they hear
Premium     “elite, expensive”
Protection     “birth control”
Universal life     “coverage good everywhere!”
Death benefit     “I just can’t think of any benefit to death”


4. Consumers want language that is more authentic.

“Authentic communication is more than just using everyday language and laymen’s terms. It also includes relatable visuals and attainable goals.” – LIMRA 

There are five elements of authenticity found in their research. Your message must be:

  1. Easy to understand
  2. Down to earth
  3. Memorable
  4. Positive
  5. Credible

For more live coverage from the 2014 Advisor Network Summit, please go here.