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10 top ways to make LTC planning rain

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Just about all insurance products protect purchasers against catastrophes of one kind or another.

Sellers of long-term care insurance (LTC) and other long-term care (LTC) planning products and services can protect entire families against epic, gut-wrenching, multi-generational tragedies.

Of course, it’s hard to know whether your clients will keep paying the premiums, if they will have protected themselves against exactly the right kind of risk, or whether the products and services they bought will work exactly as hoped.

See also: The dreaded LTCI premium increase notice

But, when you sell the right LTC planning products to the right people at the right time, you increase the odds that those people will have real, decent choices about how they spend the last years of their lives.

You increase the odds that the spouses of the insureds will get the adult day care services, the home care assistance and respite care services they need to preserve their own health and their own independence as long as possible.

You increase the odds that the insureds’ children will get enough help with caregiving to stay in the careers of their choice, instead of giving up on their dreams to stay home with their parents, and then scrambling to return to the world of paid work any way they can.

See also: Congressional panel to support caregivers

And, of course, there’s really no such thing as the “10 best ways to close LTC planning sales.” There are ways that click for you and your prospects. You may have to weed through dozens of ideas that are completely wrong, or just not quite right, to find one that works for you.

For a collection of interesting ideas from financial professional readers, drawn from a recent call for tips and from past LifeHealthPro.com LTC product sales and marketing articles, read on. 

 Business card

1. Update your business cards.

Have a memorable, even humorous, business card.

Many agents are using a parody of the Monopoly “chance” card: The Mr. Moneybags character has been modified, and the card reads: “Don’t Take a Chance; STAY OUT OF NURSING HOME (must be accompanied by long-term care insurance).”

Years ago, I laughed myself silly when a lawyer showed me the business card his dad, also a lawyer, used.

The card was half the size of a normal business card. On it was printed his name, phone, and the statement, “The size of my card is necessitated by the fact you’re not a client.”

—  Marilee Driscoll, Boston area

See also: 52 more prospecting tips for 52 more weeks 

Microphone

2. Take public relations seriously.

Establish yourself as an issue expert by publishing articles, speaking at events, and looking to create opportunities to educate people about the benefits of insurance to address their needs for income replacement and protection or for long-term care funding needs.

Anyone can run an ad, but by positioning yourself as a “subject matter authority” people will seek you out to answer questions and help them solve problems.  

— Chris Orestis, Portland, Maine

See also: 50 best ways to generate leads: 21-30 

 Old-fashioned phone

3. Contact three local health benefits advisors.

Today, every small business seeks the counsel of insurance brokers who can help them secure the least expensive health insurance for themselves and employees.

Most of these brokers specialize and have no interest in expanding their practice to include long-term care insurance; frankly, they don’t have the time.

That creates a partnering opportunity.

— Jesse Slome, Westlake Village, Calif.

See also: 10 Ways to use the next Long-Term Care Awareness Month to generate leads and prospects

Image: GI illustration/Alex Kalmbach

 Pharmacist

4. Visit drug stores.

A simple way to secure new referrals is to get to know your local pharmacist on a personal level.

Tell the pharmacist what you do regarding long-term care insurance (LTCI), Medicare, etc.

Many seniors share personal information and issues with this trusted person. I have had numerous referrals from this source. You have nothing to lose.

— Rick Lehrer, New York  

See also: 100 best sales & marketing ideas: 11 ways to get more referrals

s

5. Help prospects think in terms of specifics.

One common sales objection we hear is, “I don’t need long-term care insurance. I’ll self-insure.”

But, often, the prospects haven’t really thought through what self-insurance would mean to their financial plan.

So, we ask them if they’ve identified what fund or funds they would liquidate first. We remind them that they’ll need to put aside assets—anywhere from $200,000 to $1,000,000, depending where they live—to reserve for LTC expenses. And that these dollars should be kept in a conservative funding vehicle, separate from growth funds earmarked to generate retirement earnings.

After that, the thought of insuring 60 percent to 70 percent of the risk often seems like a much better idea than upending their financial or retirement plan. Prompting prospects to think in terms of their specific funds and dollars helps them understand the value of LTCI.

— Brian I. Gordon, Riverwoods, Ill.

See also: How to Convert the LTCI Non-Buyer to an LTCI Client

Image: GI photo/Bartek Szewczyk

6. Schedule more appointments around holidays.

Prospects willing to take time from their vacation or from family visits are serious about long-term care planning.

Expect to close and begin closing as soon as you walk in the door, and you will walk out with an application and check.” 

— Cheri Davis, Chicago area 

See also: LTCI specialists offer sales tips

 s

7. Make ‘em laugh.

Get them to laugh and a client is far more likely to do business with you. The best way to make them laugh is to poke a little fun at yourself. It frees them up to laugh with you, and it says “I’m far from perfect … just like everyone else.”

If you think there is nothing funny about you, then ask a close friend and they will give you a long list of humorous qualities. This can be a great exercise in humility, too! Our industry can be intimidating to a client and they can feel inferior in spite of our best efforts, so loosening them up at our own expense is priceless!

— Shawn Meaike, Jewett City, Conn.

See also: 100 best sales & marketing ideas: 91-100 

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8. Listen.

With seniors, sometimes the best marketing material is the language of silence.

Learn to not talk, especially the talk of interruption. If you listen long enough, they will tell you all you need and want to know. 

— Jerry Manning, Chicago area

See also: 100 Best Sales & Marketing Ideas: Tips 1-10

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9. Help prospects locate assets they didn’t know they had.

I work with financial professionals to integrate reverse mortgages into their practice. The reverse provides money for life insurance, annuities, long term care, Medicare supplement insurance, etc.

Many individuals who want insurance products don’t have assets or much income; therefore, they are often overlooked by the insurance and financial planning community. If they don’t have money to invest or can’t afford the product, an agent/planner can’t help them. After I put $60,000 to $150,000 cash into their hands, it solves the problems their agent/planner has identified and that individual gets the business.

Everyone is chasing the clients with money and there is great competition for their business. Our way is a fundamental shift in marketing as well as the sales process. Instead of asking for the money that is already invested somewhere, we create the money and then invest it or use it to pay for the necessary insurance products.

— Gregory T. Fuentes, Baton Rouge, La.

See also: The 100 best sales ideas ever 

Image: GI image/Deborah Cheramie

 Two grandparents, two parents and two grandchildren

10. Remember the your client’s family.

When was the last time someone really listened to you? Your spouse, your staff, your children? If you are the one who is the listener, you will potentially separate yourself from all the other people in a client’s life.

And, if you are a good listener, you will silently yet clearly tell the client that you truly care about what he has to say. It’s hard to do anything but like a person that genuinely cares about you…

Probably the most powerful questions advisors are asking are the “heart” questions. They ask about things close to the heart, about fears and accomplishments. Most importantly, they ask about children or grandchildren.

— Maribeth Kuzmeski

See also: Increasing your “know, like and trust” ratio