Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Is Selling Insurance Hard? Part 1

Sometimes being a life insurance agent is difficult. It's hard to find prospects and talk them into meeting with us, much less presenting them with a plan they need but don't really want. Not many people want to acknowledge that they should buy a plan that, even though is in the best interest of their family, will add another monthly bill to their stretched out budget.

When I speak to people who sell other products or services I have to explain that insurance isn't like selling a car or a home. Those are things that people want and will actually save up for. No one saves up for life insurance or long term care insurance.  Let's face it, insurance is the one thing people buy hoping they never have to use it. 

With that in mind, you can understand why life insurance agents come and go. The person who sold you a policy ten years ago may not be with that company anymore. Heck, they may not be in the industry either. The persistency rate of agents after three years is about 10-12%, depending on whom you ask. That means that if a company hires 100 new agents today, three years from now maybe a dozen of those people will still be around. 

What makes it so difficult? There are several reasons, but it usually boils down to people who have their priorities out of whack. Not always, but often when I sit down and talk to a young couple with kids and a mortgage, it doesn't take long to realize that their "live in the moment" philosophy is great for some things, but not for insurance purposes. They want to have all of the new gadgets and devices, like phones and cars. I had one young man ask me, "What's the point of working to make money if I can't enjoy it?" 

Yes, selling insurance can be like pulling teeth.  So I have to paint a picture for them. First I have to dispel the myth that they will live forever. "Have you ever known anyone your age who has died?" I ask. It can be a dark subject but my goal is to let them know that things happen. A car can cross the center line at any time ending someone's life. A serious disease could suddenly arise. Things happen.

Typical questions I ask run like this:
  • What would you do if your significant other should die suddenly?
  • How would your family be able to pay the bills?
  • Would your family be able to stay in their home?
  • Would you be able to care for the kids and work at the same time?
  • How much are you willing to pay to make sure your family will be okay?
Let's assume that I got through to this young couple. We all agree that they need some coverage and they have given me a budget to work within. A week later I return with a few options and present them. There is no "high pressure" selling here. Just a recap of what we have previously discussed and what I have to offer. Then it happens.
"I think we need time to think about it. Maybe a week or so." Punch in the gut. I'm pretty sure they didn't need a week to consider that nice phone in their pocket. But I have an answer for that one. 
Stay tuned and in the next installment I'll explain why it's okay to need a week or so to think about it. In the meantime, please stay healthy.  

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life and disability insurance coverage. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!

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