When I first got into the insurance business I didn't have a mentor or anyone to "show me the ropes" per se. I learned quickly that my sales manager had a financial interest in me selling, and one would think that he would want me, as well as the rest of the agents on his team, to succeed. And while it was true to an extent, I also learned that I needed a mentor who did not have any skin in the game when it came to my success. Basically I needed someone who could be objective and give me sound advice who would be looking out for my interests.
Since no one was stepping up to the plate to help me, I started reading books about sales and any information I could find about successful insurance agents. There were many motivational books and most of them gave the same basic information. One day, I came across an article about an agent who was deemed "The Greatest Life Insurance Agent of All Time". His name was Ben Feldman and his story was quite remarkable.
I don't want to bore you with all of the details as you can look up the details on him with a simple Google search, but the simple fact is that he found a way to sell more life insurance as an agent than some entire companies at the time. When asked how he sold so many insurance policies he said, "I do not sell life insurance. I sell money."
You see, Mr. Feldman was able to clearly communicate what life insurance is. When a client buys a policy, they are actually buying a promise. That promise is that if the insured should die, the insurance company will pay a death claim which will exceed what the client has paid in.
Mr. Feldman also was noted as saying to his agents, "Don't sell life insurance. Sell what life insurance can do." In today's world of life insurance, a policy can do a lot for a family when the insured passes away, but with all of the living benefits available nowadays, people can use them while they are still living.
Let's face it, no one really wants to buy life insurance, or any other kind of insurance for that matter. It's not fun or something one can show off to their friends. But it is necessary, especially when others are dependent on us financially. Our children rely on us to provide housing and education, which costs money. Our parents, who always insists that they don't want to be a burden on anyone else, may ultimately rely on us to help with long term care costs if they haven't planned in advance.
And then there are others that may depend on us financially, like charities and churches. When a large donor passes away, that non-profit organization may need to find other donors to fill the missing gaps. And sometimes, those large donors will list the charity of their choice as a beneficiary on a policy.
Ben Feldman knew all of this and made sure he didn't sell just the steak, but the sizzle as well. Instead of saying he was selling life insurance, he would call it something like "a special educational package for your children's children."
So the next time you talk to a life insurance agent, remember, we don't just sell insurance, but we sell money, and a promise.
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. 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!