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A practice with purpose

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Avoiding the hype on marketing practices can be a full-time job. It’s very easy to spend large amounts of money on marketing projects that don’t work at all. Some marketing programs are oversold by those who would simply like to make a profit. It’s very important to understand clearly all of the details of a marketing program.

You need to know what the initial and ongoing investment will be for execution of a marketing plan. How much time will it take out of a busy schedule? What is your expected return on investment? Many other questions also need to be answered.

In previous articles I’ve written that a great practice will be treated as a business. Most insurance agents are just that, insurance agents. The great majority of insurance agents struggle to earn $50,000 per year. They learn sales tactics instead of business tactics. The public perceives them as salespeople, not business people. They look for a “lead source” not a “marketing plan.” They position themselves as product pushers, not problem solvers. Let’s take a look at one way you can position yourself as a practice with a purpose.

Every time someone asks me a question I can’t answer, it compels me to not let that happen again. I will study that subject and will be able to apply that knowledge the next time I have a prospect with that same problem to solve. That way, I get smarter almost every day.

Since I am a curious person, all topics are interesting, so that helps me continue to learn. Since I’m getting older (64), it’s not as easy to retain information, so review is necessary.

Last month I wrote briefly on how to market Medicare products, but that is only part of the equation. Medicare products don’t insure health. That’s the doctor’s world. They insure money. A Medicare beneficiary pays into Medicare through payroll taxes each year throughout a working life. These payments are premiums that are paid in advance along with part B premiums, Medicare Supplement premiums, part D premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

In every case there is a supply of money used to pay for the beneficiary’s care. Long-term care policies, asset-based policies, and life insurance policies with LTC chronic illness riders all purchase greater amounts of money to pay for care. In many cases this purchase of money is protecting larger assets for the use of a spouse, heirs or charities.

The salesman will sell a product. A practice will protect the client’s assets by all means available to do so. The salesman will know statistics of how long and how often a person will need care. A practice will demonstrate how taxes will be affected, how to use qualified assets to purchase care, how to leave those assets behind using trusts, tax conversion strategies, Medicaid, legal documents, and many other aspects.

Last month I picked up a client with $950,000 of assets being managed by a “financial advisor.” She was leaving $450,000 in qualified money for her grandchild. Since she’s 84 years old, there’s a good chance she will pass away before her granddaughter will reach 18 years old. She will pass on taxable money to a minor. What a mess. I showed her how she can pass the proceeds tax-free. She liked it. I couldn’t do that if I were “just an insurance salesman.”

What have you learned this month? Do you know what a QDRO is? How to distribute an inherited IRA? How to convert qualified money to non-qualified without a tax spike? How to avoid excess taxation?

Your prospecting will take on a different flavor if you’re committed to learning. You will be able to target specific demographics of prospects who will depend on an array of strategies that cover a large number of topics.

As you continue to learn, make your practice into something with real purpose by adding value through knowledge that will be useful to each and every client.