I speak to a lot of agents all across the country. The conversations are generally about the markets they work in, the products they are comfortable talking about, and what help they need with the case they are presently working on. 

After a while, you begin to see some elements of our business that work against millions of prospective buyers: Many agents work in markets selling annuities or Medicare products where prospects miss out on a life product they would have actually bought had the agent known to ask a couple of simple questions. With the advent of the no-call list and spam act, the volume of information millions of prospects receive has been drastically reduced. 

Agent training opportunities covering the many reasons for the purchase of life insurance throughout different phases of life have also greatly diminished, as many carriers have elected to exit the career distribution system in favor of brokerage distribution. Millions of prospects are left to figure things out for themselves, which more often than not, leads to them doing nothing. 

In my 30 years in this industry, I’ve never seen many different life products or riders that buyers can choose from, depending on their needs. Just knowing some basic product information leads to sales. Here are a few examples: 

Term insurance 

Few death claims are paid by carriers, but there is term insurance that has both critical and chronic illness benefits. Also, discuss mixing in some permanent life insurance so that something is in force when they actually die years after the term ran out. Do more than take an order. 

Supplementing retirement income 

Taking advantage of cash value life insurance for some income-tax-free retirement money is not a new idea in our industry. It’s been done for years. 

Annuities: no longer needed for retirement income 

Surrendering an annuity and paying tax on the gain may prove to be much more beneficial for what a client wants their heirs to receive. 

Long-term care worries 

Baby boomers in particular have concerns about using most of their assets for these expensive medical services, as most haven’t purchased a policy with benefits. Other than the stand-alone LTC product where benefits may never be used, newer life insurance product riders may provide a more appealing answer. 

RMDs: not needed 

Because of other assets, there are some prospects who take these RMDs only because they’ve reached the age where it is a requirement. If you look at the net tax amount left over as a built-in annual life insurance premium, then you can easily discuss product ideas for the prospect’s beneficiaries that they had never thought of and create a larger legacy. 

Buy and sell agreements 

A business may have a written document, but promises will go unfulfilled if an owner dies. Businesses can suffer, as well as owner’s beneficiaries. It is an easy conversation to have. Retirees can increase assets for beneficiaries — there are those prospects who have “leave behind” monies already earmarked for heirs at their death. Immediately increasing the asset, as well as now passing it income-tax-free, are sales I see all the time. The conversation and sale is very simple. Many products require no exam. 

I’ve witnessed agents who previously stayed away from life sales significantly increase their incomes while providing the right benefits to clients. You don’t have to be an expert — just willing to learn some basic product knowledge and some questions to ask. When you provide more solutions, you will set yourself apart from other agents.