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Closing on Your First Call

With LTCI, the key is to let your clients feel good about their decisions and about you.

By Wilma Anderson

You’ve spent an hour or two in your prospect’s home talking to a retired couple about long-term care (LTC) insurance. It seems to be going well, and you ask them if they’d like to buy the policy. “I want to think about it. Could you call me in a few weeks?” comes the answer.

As an experienced agent, you know you’re going to have a tough time making this sale. The prospect is really saying, “I don’t want to think about it.”

In the senior market, it’s especially important to close during your first call. If you have to come back again, the client often has forgotten most of what you have said because LTC insurance is complex. You almost have to start from scratch. And procrastination exposes the prospect to risk, too. An older person’s health can change quickly, making him or her high risk or uninsurable.

If you conduct your sales calls the right way, you’ll close most of your calls in one visit. When you follow a proven process, closing is the easiest part of the sale.

Starting off right
The first step is to warm up your prospects with some small talk about their situation and family. Next, ask detailed questions about their health. Besides being essential for field underwriting, this information will help you in the sales process. When you ask, people will often say, “I’m fine.” You’ll need to ask more questions, or you could be surprised later when they fill out the application. Write down their answers. When prospects see their health conditions on paper, it helps them focus on why you are there to see them.

Now, in the key part of the sales call, you’ll use trial, or assumptive, closes at several points. The trial closes are designed to bring up any possible objections. Then, when you get to the end, the prospect will have few or no objections, and you can close your sale easily.

An unanswered objection will stick in the prospect’s mind and he won’t listen to anything else you’re saying.

To create awareness of the need for LTC insurance, ask: “What are your plans when your health changes?” This question will help you open up their thoughts and feelings about LTC. You might ask them if they have had any experience with LTC in their families—or if they’ve had relatives or friends who needed care.

Most people want to protect their retirement savings and want to be able to get care at home, not become a burden on their children. By probing, you can get these assumptions out into the open. They need to understand that private insurance is the most effective vehicle to accomplishing their goals.

Once you have established the need, you can show prospects how they can pay for insurance, based on their assets and income. This removes the objection, “I can’t afford it.”

Now you can go through the product brochure. Always stay in an assumptive-close mode when you do this. You never want to be in a situation in which you’re asking, “Would you like to buy this policy?” You’re always assuming that they will buy, and it’s simply a matter of selecting the best policy and most appropriate, affordable package of coverages. The question isn’t, “Will you buy?” It is, “Which policy is the best fit for you and your budget?”

Make sure that the prospect really understands the product’s benefits. One trial close is, “Can you see how this feature would work when your health changes? I recommend always using a yellow highlighter when you go through the brochure. (If your compliance department says you cannot use a highlighter, give the highlighter to the prospect, and let him or her underline key points.)

Once you’ve finished talking about the product, the client will review the brochure while you are preparing a rate comparison. His eyes will naturally go to the highlighted areas, and he’ll understand the key points.

At key points, always ask, “Do you have any questions?” This will expose any objections and allow you to resolve them. Every time you answer a question, you’re getting the prospect’s permission to go forward, and his resistance will continue to decrease.

An unanswered objection will stick in the prospect’s mind—a little voice in the back of his mind that keeps nagging and raising doubts—and he won’t listen to anything else you’re saying. When it comes time to close, you’ll have an uphill battle. By probing and asking questions, you engage the client in the sale. Don’t do all the talking—make sure he is a participant in the sale.

People can’t be sold anything they don’t really want—they’ll just cancel the policy anyway. You have to guide them so that they’ll sell themselves, understand what they’re buying and feel good about their decisions and about you.

Wilma Anderson is an LTCI sales trainer and a practicing producer who sells 400 policies a year. You can reach her at 720-344-0312.


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