Lynn Devitt, LTCP, is a mindreader—and she’s quite good at it, thank you. She knows exactly what her clients are going to say before they say it. And, she adds, she’s a twinkler. Saying so elicited a nervous chuckle from her audience at the 2006 NAIFA Convention and Career Conference before she got around to defining “twinkler.” But with a deliberate pause, she winked and said, “Remember Bewitched?” Rinkle-twinkle-tink—ZING!
“Being a twinkler allows me to project my prospects into a situation before those situations happen so that they know what to do,” she explained. “Long-term care insurance (LTCI) is difficult to sell, and many people don’t feel comfortable selling it. But these techniques will help you sell.”
The statistics are staggering. By 2031, according to Devitt, there will be 60 million people between the ages of 65 and 84. “We have a responsibility to do insightful planning for all aspects of our clients’ lives,” she said. “We can make everything look good on the bottom line for our healthy futures, but if we don’t meet that responsibility, we may not be able to live with dignity, and there will always be the fear that we will have to depend on somebody for our basic needs.”
How do you get that across to your clients short of casting a spell that will magically open their eyes? Fear not—these tips will help you whether you can wiggle your nose or not.
1. Be prepared to answer their objections. Devitt listed a catalog of humorous objection-rebuttal combinations that help her get past the initial no—or, at least, kept the audience in stitches.
- Prospect: I know I won’t need it, Lynn, because I’m just going to die.
- Devitt (folding everything up as if to go): Oh, I didn’t know today was your last day on earth! I know you don’t want to spend it with me.
- Prospect: What?!
- Devitt: You just said you KNOW you’re not going to need it!
- Prospect: Medicare will take care of me.
- Devitt: Oh, so you have the special Medicare policy?
- Prospect: Our children will take care of us.
- Devitt: (makes face as if to say “and we know where this one’s going …”)
What it boils down to, Devitt continued, is that you are your clients’ advocate, not their salesperson. Get that out of the way in the beginning and get on to the next step.
2. Don’t ask them about LTCI. Tell them. It should be part of every plan right from the beginning. Discuss LTCI with every client—on purpose. If they’re eligible, they need to own it.
3. Make a copy of your LTCI policy. Want to show your prospect the value of a good LTCI policy? Show them yours. Seeing that you own it, too, will help reassure prospects that it’s the right thing to do.
4. Try a table tent or other visual promotional materials. It should say something along the lines of “Ask me about long-term care insurance.” Place it right in your reception area or on your desk. “This makes it easy for people to open the discussion for themselves,” Devitt said, adding that one person she knew had put a script on the back of the one on his desk so that he had the answers right there.
5. Discover their CWTL. Devitt’s audience looked puzzled as she explained this “show-them-the-money” technique until she explained that CWTL stands for check-writing tolerance level. If your wealthy clients think it’s not worth writing a check for the policy premium, point out that surely they won’t mind writing the check for $720,000 when the long-term care bills starts piling up.
You are your clients’ advocate, not their salesperson.
6. Give them another opportunity. Some people will still turn it down. Create a letter that says, “I have been offered long-term care insurance and chosen to decline it.” Have the prospect sign it. A couple of months later, send him a copy of the letter with a note saying, “We really believe you should have it; let’s discuss this again.”
There are lots of ways you can get this conversation going. But the real trick to LTCI sales success is that—there is no trick. It’s a product you can believe in, said Devitt. “Dignity is important at any age,” she concluded. “And that is why I’m going to ask you to have that conversation with your clients about long-term care insurance.”