Marketing and Selling Life Insurance
Examining the core skills needed to become successful

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What’s So Difficult About Selling Life Insurance?

What’s So Difficult About Selling Life Insurance?

Article # 2
Written By John Lensi, CLU, ChFC, RHU, REBC, CMFC, LLIF

If you had not chosen a career in the insurance industry,

How much thought would you have given to learning about marketing and selling life insurance? Let’s face it; we’re not talking about a product with a lot of sex appeal.

Looking at the role the life insurance and financial services industry has taken towards developing a sustained awareness and appreciation with the general public for life insurance is somewhat dumbfounding to me. For it is they who stand to gain the most (exclusive of a beneficiary) from a positive understanding and appreciation by the public of owning sufficient life insurance coverage.

Most life insurance companies spend a considerable about of money on the goal of creating individual carrier brand name recognition and comparatively little towards creating a positive culture towards the value of their product.

Something is fundamentally wrong in our society when the beer industry devotes more resources creating an “appreciation and awareness” for an alcoholic drink, than the life insurance industry does for its more socially benefiting product.

Given all of this, and knowing a quick solution is not eminent by either our
education system or by the insurance industry, let’s continue to address the reality of marketing and selling life insurance in today’s marketplace.

Examining the competencies needed to be successful in
marketing and selling life insurance.

Several years ago I made a close examination of the competencies needed to be successful in marketing and selling life insurance. My research involved speaking to hundreds of successful producers as well as my own experience successfully selling life insurance.

Although there are numerous subsets for each of these, I was able to identify eight core skill-sets a producer must master to be a high-level producer in the life insurance business. Pictured below is a weighted pie chart I titled “Wheel of Success” illustrating these eight core competencies.

Upon examination of the chart, it’s easy to see two skill sets encompass roughly 50% of a producer’s success in this business – having quality prospects and being able to schedule favorable appointments. Perhaps a bit overstated, but pretty much everything else takes care of itself if these two skills are mastered.
If mastered, then marketing and selling life insurance takes on a new life.

Given the critical nature of these two competencies, most of my remaining
commentary is devoted to these two areas.

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First, let’s examine what is meant by ‘acquiring qualified sales leads’.

The key word here is “qualified”. Sales leads are a dime a dozen in the insurance business.

Qualified sales leads are not, and this is what makes all the difference in the world when it comes to sales efficiency and ultimately a high level of sales success.

What is a qualified sales lead in the life insurance business?

A qualified sales lead in the life insurance business has four characteristics that must be satisfied to be truly a qualified sales lead:

  1.  can the prospect reasonably qualify for life insurance?
  2.  can the prospect afford life insurance?
  3.  does the prospect have a need for life insurance? and
  4.  is the prospect able to be seen on a favorable basis as a result of  third party influence (TPI)?

If one were to go through any producer’s prospect inventory and apply this litmus test to each “prospect”, all four characteristics must exist to truly have a qualified sales lead. If a “name” in a prospect inventory passes any less than all four measurements, it simply is not a qualified sales lead.

Aren’t most producer sales leads qualified?

Sadly, the answer is often no. More sadly, most producers think all their leads are “qualified”. You may ask how can this be when sales leads are a salespersons lifeblood. What you’ll generally find upon a close examination of an ineffective producers inventory is most of their sales leads pass the first three criteria and fail on the fourth criteria – the ability to see the prospect on a favorable basis.

This is a critical point I want to drive home; for this is a key reason why producer failure in this business often results.

Few struggling producers come to realize the real cause of why their sales are down. Quite often this is a result of poor prospecting habits and the failure to understand basic prospecting fundamentals for this business. It is easy to know when sales are down, yet when trying to figure the reasons why this is so, often a misdiagnosis occurs.

Please take some time to reflect on this above chart in this marketing and selling life insurance article.

 In article number 3 on , John will be discussing the Why's and Why not's as to how a misdiagnosis occurs as related to your insurance sales.

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