A quartet of life insurance legends – Marv Feldman, Van Mueller, Jim Silbernagel, and John Wheeler – offered attendees at NAIFA’s Performance + Purpose conference in San Antonio a lightning round panel discussion of fast and furious sales ideas.
The overarching theme presented by the panelists was that successful agents and advisors focus on what products do, not what they are.
As Wheeler put it: “I don’t go to the hardware store because I want a drill bit, I go because I want a hole. If you have a better way to make a hole, I’m interested.”
It’s the agent’s job to steer clients to products that best suit their needs and serve their interests.
“Every one of you offers the finest life insurance policy in the world no matter what company’s products you sell,” Mueller said. “The agent makes sure the policy does what the client needs it to do, and that’s what makes it the finest product. People do not buy life insurance, they do not buy annuities, they do not buy mutual funds, they buy what [those products] do.”
It’s crucial to connect with clients on an emotional level, Feldman said, and you do that by telling them stories they can relate to. He added that Life Happens offers a range of resources to help advisors do this.
Silbernagel talked about the advantages of selling policies covering children. Again, it’s crucial to emphasize what the products do – how policies covering children can protect parents from their children’s college debt or mortgage obligations in case of premature death.
Feldman said that “estate equalization” is a life insurance purpose that is a strong selling point for many clients. Small business owners can provide for their children who are not in business using life insurance. It allows the kids who are in the business to inherit the company without having to liquidate assets to provide for the others. It is the most inexpensive way to provide equally for all the children (costing only pennies on the dollar, Feldman said).
Life insurance is an asset class, not a liability, Wheeler said, and it is important to emphasize this fact with clients. Silbernagel added that explaining life insurance as an asset – emphasizing the potential for conversions and life settlements – is a good message for prospects who don’t see the value in life insurance or think they will never use the benefit.
Mueller concluded by imploring NAIFA members pursue their profession with great passion and effort.
“If you practice your profession as much as you practice your hobby you would have more time for your hobby,” he said. “You all can do this. The skills you need to sell life insurance are all learned skills.” If you have the passion and put in the effort, you will learn them, he said.