I was wondering the other day how many times I heard insurance agents ask "what's the best way to find more sales opportunities" or more specifically "how can I write more annuity and single premium life business?" Over my career, thousands of times, if not more!
Not having an answer and a plan of action for these types of questions has caused many sales people to exit the insurance business. Prospecting has always been, and will continue to be, a challenge. Today it may be an even tougher chore than in the past due to increased competition, internet sales, and a variety of product alternatives for prospects to invest money. So, with all that being said what is the best way to find more sales opportunities? Depending on the focus of your expertise there could be a few different answers to that question.
Trust is Key
If you focus on the annuity and single premium life markets like I do the answer is a little narrower. With these sales the average premium is considerably higher than other insurance products such as life insurance and medicare plans. Because of this, I have found that there are very few traditional lead systems that work out very well.
Folks are somewhat reluctant to start working with a stranger who sent them a postcard about a great savings alternative when it comes to handing over their hard-earned money, which many times is in excess of $100,000. Over the years there have been too many stories on the evening news about scam artists that have swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting individuals which has made prospects more and more reluctant to work with someone they do not know.
I suggest you look no further than your existing book of business. After all, in the majority of cases your best prospect is an existing client. This is a person who knows you, hopefully trusts you, and would most likely be willing to sit down for a discussion with you if you asked for an appointment. The chances of getting an appointment with an existing client would be dramatically higher than trying to get an appointment with a stranger.
Build on Your Current Business
If you have been in the business for over a year and you have clients you have written products for, one opportunity that pops up on a regular basis is the day you receive a copy of your client's annual statement. Each year you receive a summary of your client's annuity or life plan outlining the activity and the performance of the plan. What do most agents do with that statement? At best, they probably look at it for a minute and then file it with the original paperwork.
How about using that report as the basis for an annual review with your client? Reviews are an excellent opportunity to revisit the client's goals, outline all the important features of the plan that made them decide to purchase the policy and see if there are other funds that are now available to be added to this policy, or maybe a new one.
A policy review is also a great time to see if the client's circumstances have changed. It's possible they inherited money, they sold a property, they are looking to retire, they want LTC alternatives, or a laundry list of other possibilities that will allow you to be of service to the client again. In addition, what a great time to once again ask, "Who else do you know that could possibly benefit by having a valuable policy like yours"?
Hard Work Leads to Referrals
I recently had a long time client call and she indicated she was unsure if her policy performed as well as she had hoped for in the last year. She had heard her friends and co-workers talking about how the markets were all doing so well. I set a time to sit down with her to review the plans performance. It had done well. Some funds in her indexed annuity were credited with almost 11% interest with absolutely no market risk.
We reviewed the fact that she will not pay tax on the money she gained until she uses it, and when she was ready it could provide a lifetime income she can never outlive. She was reminded of all the other great features that led her to purchase the plan a few years back. She was so happy, she asked if she could contribute more money to the plan and when I told her yes she pulled out her checkbook and wrote a check to the carrier. I was pleased she was so happy and that I would be rewarded for doing a good job.
It was just about a week later that I was out with some friends and family members for a holiday gathering when one of them approached me. They indicated that they ran into my client a few days ago and she told them that she was so happy because her investment that I helped her with was performing extremely well and providing a lot of guarantees that will help her enjoy a happy retirement in a few years.
They asked me if I would mind taking the time to sit with them to discuss their financial situation as they too were looking at retiring sooner than later. Of course, I agreed! Imagine that… a policy review leads to a new potential client!
Uncovering the Opportunity
The lesson here is that just by doing what we should be doing as insurance professionals, assisting clients with their insurance needs during and after the sale, we can help answer our own prospecting dilemma. By knowing what to look for when you review an annual policy statement you can uncover a variety of potential sales opportunities with no real marketing costs. If you would like help in finding these types of opportunities just let me know. I will be glad to help!