When it comes to long-term-care insurance, thinking outside the box and adopting a less conventional selling system will result in increased sales. The saying "telling is not selling" is particularly true in our business, and producers will often learn this lesson the hard way when emailing a quote, sending out a product brochure or supply a premium price over the phone. LTCI needs an explanation of all its moving parts—therefore, it needs to be agent-delivered.
The successful LTCI producer adopts a selling track that he or she sticks to, fully accepting and recognizing that this is a concept-based sale. The presentation is based first on need and then on proving value. While this is not an easy process, adopting a track and sticking to it works and will result in more sales than simply explaining the features of the product and then quoting a price. Imagine calling a car dealer and asking how much their automobiles cost. Would the dealer quote you a price over the phone, or would he determine your needs, desires and interest level and then try to satisfy those before moving forward? Successful producers sell the benefits of their products. Simply quoting prices does not create value.
Value builds when prospects feel they will personally benefit from their purchase. Once consumers are convinced of the need and acknowledge the LTCI risk premium, pricing becomes a lesser factor in their purchasing decision.
The surest way to participate in an LTCI sale is to partner with an industry specialist and share the commission. Since LTCI can be complex, your clients will be better served by the properly trained LTCI specialist who knows what to do. However, if your desire is to personally produce the product, make sure you completely understand carrier offerings and then get partnership trained in your state so you will be authorized to sell, solicit and negotiate business.
Understanding the buying market (ages 45-70) and committing to learning a defined sales track will build more confidence when making your presentation. Medically pre-qualifying prospects before you meet with them is a very important part of this process and one that producers sometimes overlook. Even though LTCI suits most Americans, many prospects do not qualify due to certain health conditions.
Finally, practicing your presentation with office colleagues or friends will keep you sharp. Just like a golf swing, our craft needs to be practiced and fine-tuned. The most effective insurance producers continually strive for improvement.
Once insurance producers accept and understand these basic principles, we can help push national penetration beyond five percent. We have a long way to go in a market that remains so largely untapped. As Baby Boomers age, you can help their families by making LTCI planning a part of their investment and insurance portfolios.
Marty Puin is president of Marty Puin & Associates Inc., an insurance agency that specializes in the sales and marketing of LTCI. Visit his website at www.martypuinltc.com or contact him at 216-381-8039.