There are two types of insurance agents. Those who sell you what YOU think you need, and those who sell you what you TRULY need.
You have your hustlers who get out there and sell that quick life policy or home owner’s policy because that’s what their client came to them for. But do they take the time to get to know their clients and follow a well thought-out customer engagement model? An engagement model that steps them out of the insurance agent role and into the caring and trusted advisor role?
Let’s face it, getting that next policy on the books is good for your bottom line, and if you’ve got 300 clients, then what’s selling just another policy? Or wait? Is that really who you are? What your business is about? Just selling insurance to pay the bills, and get that free trip the carrier promised you? Or is it more? Are you the type of insurance agent who wants to be remembered for helping others? The type of individual who leaves behind a legacy? The type of professional who went above and beyond to insure his/her clients were getting EXACTLY what they needed?
If you’re following that customer engagement model and talking to your clients about their lives, you’re learning about them and where they need your insight and advice. They’re coming to you for your knowledge and expertise. If they weren’t, they’d just buy their insurance online and forgo the whole insurance agent altogether. Right?
Your client wants to purchase a life insurance policy, but is also turning 65 later this year, and will likely need some type of supplemental insurance once he’s retired and enrolled in Medicare. If you’re asking the client his age when you’re running a quote for his life policy, the next step in your mind should be to discuss his health insurance needs after reviewing life insurance options. That’s not rocket science. From there you can dive deeper into your client’s needs and mention long-term care. If he’s planning on retiring at age 65 and enrolling in Medicare, long-term care isn’t covered by Medicare unless he requires skilled services or rehabilitative care. Long-term Care costs are staggering. Nursing home facilities command a whopping $82,125/year for a just semi-private room.
It takes a matter of minutes to open up the doors for discussion when you’re speaking to a client or a prospect. A quick policy on the books is great for your bank account, but satisfied clients who refer your services because you’ve gone above and beyond to help them with a complete solution? Legacy status.
Selling your clients insurance or a solution? It all lies in your hands.
We often have agents focus on one particular insurance product and they make that their priority. They focus on selling that particular piece of the puzzle to their clients without expanding their portfolios. I recently emailed an agent who wanted to expand beyond selling Medicare Supplement products, and these were some of the tips I shared with her for getting started with Life marketing.
"I think it’s so beneficial when an advisor works with their clients on many levels to provide the most complete solution for them. They have instilled their trust in you for certain insurance needs, and it just makes sense that they come to you for all (or most) of their insurance/financial needs.
As for marketing ideas, LifeHappens.org is a fantastic site for information, marketing and selling concepts, infographics and brochures. The site has some great ideas on how to relay the benefits of purchasing life insurance. I’ve attached one of their Real Life Story brochures as an example. Story telling these days is paramount, especially with social media. It’s become the new way to market to clients and customers. Sharing stories that are relatable speak to potential clients and customers, and Life Happens understand this. In turn you will have clients who become influencers (influencer marketing) which benefits you. Your clients tell their friends and colleagues about your commitment to them as their trusted advisor, and you in turn gain new clients. It’s networking and marketing working cohesively."
Thinking outside the proverbial box, exploring new options and adding creativity to your strategy keeps things interesting and your clients benefit from it. If you're excited about the options you offer, your clients will in turn get excited about safeguarding their financial future.
If you're not currently offering Medicare products to your clients and are focusing on Life products or Annuities, then now is the time to branch out. Becoming a source of information and expertise for your clients only lends itself to expansion and a growing client base. If you need ideas and assistance about adding Medicare products to your arsenal, we have a dedicated team and a litany of tools that will help you get started, beginning with our Medicare Supplement Kit.
At the end of the day, it's about having that satisfied client, and happy clients make for good business.
11:02 am: you receive a phone call from a prospective client you’ve never spoken to before.
Stewart: “My name is Stewart and you helped my friend Tom Smith out with his Medicare Supplement. I too need some supplemental insurance. Medicare isn’t covering all my healthcare costs. I’m diabetic, and I’ve already been declined by two different carriers. Can you possibly help me?”
You: “Tom? Sure, he’s a client of mine, and I’m glad you called me. I most certainly CAN help you with that. Are you taking insulin to manage your Diabetes?”
Stewart: “I am. I take 30 units of Insulin a day.”
You: “Medicare Supplement insurance requires you to answer health questions. I have a tool I can use to look up the best solution for you in terms of rates, and carriers and ultimately, which would be the best solution for you to cover you with your illness. It will take me a few minutes to run the quote. Can I ask you a few questions and then call you back with the information?”
Stewart: “That would be fantastic.”
Our Resource for Rates tool will allow you to enter a client’s age, zip code tobacco usage, AND the detailed underwriting questions concerning Diabetes. In turn, you’ll know which two carriers WILL offer coverage to your prospect, and equally as important, you’ll determine which carriers NOT to apply to, as their Underwriting department won’t issue the policy.
11:31 am You call your new client with the outcome of your research.
11:57 am You submit an e-App for his new Medicare Supplement policy with Part D coverage.
By Sam Corey, Jr. and Carolyn Portanova
What do your clients want? Let's face it. You're in Sales. It's what the insurance industry is about. As independent agents, you sell. You sell Medicare Supplement policies, Life Insurance policies, Long-term care solutions, Disability Income Insurance plans. They're all products. But what sets you apart from Joe down the road who is also selling similar products to an ever-expanding senior market?
I recently read an article published by Life Health Pro, regarding what seniors wish their advisors knew. Some of it may seem like common sense, yet some of it is clearly lost, and some of the key points in the article should be taken to heart. You would think that 'Trust' would have been #1. It sure would have been on my list, if I had been asked to participate in the poll. Trust is of utmost importance when it comes to a retiree looking for a solid solution for healthcare. At a time in their life when they're now on a fixed income, and they're relying on your expertise to guide them to the best solution (and albeit most of it is cost-driven, give the fact that they're no longer working) is of paramount importance. Trusting your advisor to research and explore numerous options, all this, after asking important, probing questions to find out what the client needs, is how one earns and gains trust. Right? Well, apparently not everyone does that. And I'm here to tell you, that it's important.
You may ask how I know that it's important, given the fact that I'm not an insurance agent. I'm in Marketing. What could I possibly know about Sales? In another life, I managed a team of sales agents for Apple, Inc. Different industry. Different type of sales, you say. Yes and no. Sales is first and foremost about selling yourself. You sell yourself to the client. First impressions are what count. And we all know, you only have one time to make a first impression, so it better be a good one. But after that, after you've sold yourself to your new, prospective client, you are now in the process of earning their trust. How do you do this? You listen. You become an active listener and you take an active interest in your client.
At Apple, you have to relay the benefits to a customer about the products you're introducing them to. Makes sense, right? Afterall, benefits are what actually sell a product. And you sell the benefits to the solution you've provided AFTER you've probed and asked important questions about your client's life and lifestyle, and you've listened. In the Apple world, this is called creating a complete solution. The Mac user that renders high-def video and who needs a tricked-out MacBook Pro is completely different from the high school student who needs a basic MacBook for fundamental needs. Apple creates successful sales people, they do not churn out order takers. There is a big difference. And it all comes back to listening and asking questions, which is part of the customer engagement model.
Back to the insurance industry. Some examples of questions you should be asking:
The list of questions can go on and on. It may seem obvious, but yet somehow, so many agents don't do this. They don't ask, and they don't listen. They don't show interest in their client. By taking an interest and showing that you care, and that you genuinely want to find the best solution for your client.....you have then earned their trust.
By Carolyn Portanova
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.