Do you remember an event or time that changed the way you view life? Such an event happened to me when I was 10 years old. That year, my grandfather surprised me for my birthday by taking me to the performing arts center to see a show. This presentation changed my perspective forever.
What we witnessed during a two-hour matinée performance was truly magical. It was entertaining, but more importantly it was captivating and powerful to believe in magic. My belief in magic began to wear off as I got older. However, not as quickly as my family’s patience did that week, since I ran around the house pulling off blankets, throwing napkins and removing table cloths all while yelling “Abracadabra!” and “Ta-da!”
Whether you believe in magic or not, there are some lessons disability insurance professionals can learn from the art of magic.
- Pick a card, any card: Being able to provide several disability insurance options for your clients is very important, so they are able to ultimately choose the best coverage for their personal needs.
- Magic linking rings: Very often in the disability insurance business there are hoops to jump through, but the more you know about the insurance products you offer and the various processes to place such policies, the easier it will be to link your clients with the best product for their particular stage in life.
- Rabbit in the hat: Make sure your clients are aware of the specific language, policy provisions and additional riders so there are no hidden surprises within their disability insurance policies.
- Coin magic: Check to see if there are any possible discounts for your clients. Saving your client some serious coin with an association or multi-life discount can be beneficial for all parties.
- An assistant: Having an associate or insurance resource you can count on for advice or suggestions can usually make for smoother, more efficient business processes or even be the difference between making a sale and missing an opportunity.
Obviously, you don’t want to use deception, sleight-of-hand or illusions to sell disability insurance products … but do think about using a magician’s sound preparation time, top-notch presentation skills and excellent timing when protecting your clients’ financial futures. Voilà!
Need a disability insurance quote? Use our convenient online quote engine. Or, for a magical mobile experience, download our all-new quoting app for iPhones.
If there’s one topic I know a lot about, it’s the 80s. Having been born in 1988, I’d say I’m pretty much an expert on all things neon and hip-hop. My first word was “totally” and I was quite fond of parachute pants and oversized earrings as a toddler. Yes, those two years were the best of my entire life.
Okay, so sometimes I exaggerate. To be honest, the extent of my 80s knowledge extends from themed college parties, John Hughes movies and MTV.
Yet despite my lack of true 80s knowledge and experiences, I’ve discovered something of interest. And that, my friends, is that selling disability insurance is exactly like dancing in the 80s.
Sometimes you look good doing it, other times it’s awkward, but mostly, it’s awesome.
So take a moment to relive your glory years, chuckle quietly in your cubical, and remember: to know 80s dancing is to love DI…and you’re about to know 80s dancing.
- The Moon Walk – Sometimes, in the world of disability insurance underwriting, you have to walk backward. Sure, your client filled out the application, promptly took her paramedical exam and had perfect medical records. But then her script check came back. And, unfortunately for everyone, she has quite a history that wasn’t mentioned on her application or in her “only” doctor’s notes. Uh oh. Time to back track and find out more information. It happens. Roll with it.
- The Running Man – Despite how hard you’re marketing, maintaining your twitter account, setting up appointments and meeting with new clients, sometimes it feels like you’re not really going anywhere. You’re running in place, so to speak. That’s okay. You’re getting great exercise to prepare you for your next move. Keep up the good work. You look good, I promise.
- Vogue – Once you have the hang of selling disability insurance, a unique sense of assertiveness will start to pour through your veins. You’ll speak more fluidly, have more clients than time, and you’ll command attention when you walk into a room. Some might call you cocky, but I call you confident. Remember: “It makes no difference if you’re black or white, if you’re a boy or a girl. If the music’s pumping it will give you new life. You’re a superstar. Yes, that’s what you are. You know it.”
- The Electric Slide – Mastering the Electric Slide is like mastering multi-life disability insurance sales. Sure, your happy to dance with your one DI sale, but you know how much more fun you’d have dancing with lots of DI sales. Just like the Electric Slide - the more, the merrier.
- The Shopping Cart – Agents use this move a lot when trying to explain what can be added to a policy. You’re not necessarily grabbing all the riders available to your client; you’re just showing them what it would look like if you did. It’s not your fault you make it look so good.
- The Dirty Dancing Lift – You know that feeling when, after a lot of hard work and dedication, your client’s application comes through approved as applied? And then you get to call your client and air high-five her over the phone? And then you both cheer and grin and feel like winners together? Yeah, that’s basically the equivalent of the Dirty Dancing Lift. Good job, you two. I’m proud.
Are you master of these 80s dance moves? Or are still sitting on the bleachers, hoping someone will ask you to dance?
Before you can truly enjoy DI dancing, you may need learn some basic steps. Download D.I. Dan’s Crash Course here. And don’t forget, disability insurance quotes are fast and easy with our online DI quote engine.
It’s already March and I am just now beginning to think about my New Year’s resolution of going to the gym more often. My motivation? Seeing how regular workouts truly changed my friend’s life.
This story begins when a friend of mine, named John, and I met for lunch the other day while he was in San Diego on business. John and I have been friends for years, but I haven’t seen him in person for a while.
At lunch, John and I said hello, shared a few quick stories about our families and then quickly began to chat about insurance. That may seem odd at first, for two friends that haven’t seen each other in over a year, but John has worked in the insurance industry for many years as well.
It was very nice catching up with John, but I noticed two major changes with him personally and professionally.
- It was obvious he had lost a very noticeable amount of weight.
- He told me that he was now selling a great deal of disability insurance.
I inquired about both dramatic changes. To my surprise, John stated that the two positive changes in his life were correlated. He instantly noticed the look of doubt and disbelief on my face.
John continued, “I knew I needed to start eating better and working out so I established the necessary goals and strategies to accomplish that task. I then immediately treated my professional life in the very same way.” John established his workout plan by figuring out which muscle group he would target each day, and which exercises would be most effective.
John then had the “ah-ha” moment, when he chose to plan his professional schedule in the same way. He decided what occupation group he would target, selected the appointment day with his client and carefully chose the disability insurance policy best suited for the specific client.
John’s gym workout helped him become healthier while his DI sales workout helped his clients to protect their futures. By providing greater service to clients by offering paycheck protection, John also built a stronger future for himself.
The moral of the story?
Don’t sweat it! Follow John’s lead and design a DI sales fitness plan so your goals work out in your favor!
Do you have any success stories to share? Post your stories in the comments section below. Also, if you need real life stories to share with your clients, download our free, “Four Life Stories” flier here.
We all know that salesmanship is a competitive sport, and closing a deal can often make you feel like an Olympic gold medalist. So, with a nod to the Winter Olympics, let’s discuss disability insurance selling in sports terms.
The Winter Olympics is packed with events for all aptitudes – from hockey and figure skating to ski jumping and curling. And, after watching a few of these events – it’s seems clear that deploying a consultative sales approach is not unlike the sport of curling.
Curling is gaining a higher profile during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but the sport is still misunderstood. Part of that is due, quite frankly, how strange it looks to watch people using brooms to shepherd a rock toward a target. And yet, curling and consultative sales both require concentration and collaboration. Plus, curlers have the ability to knock other curling teams’ rocks out of the way – just as you might wedge out a competing insurance agent.
Curling players use brooms to slide a heavy (about 42 pounds), polished stone (“the rock”) down a sheet of ice, which is appropriately called “the sheet.” The goal is to reach the “house,” which looks like a dartboard, and hit the “button,” which is the bullseye. The team with the most rocks closest to the buttons wins.
When you call a prospect, think of your conversation as a blank and slippery “sheet,” the “rock” represents the impending sale and the “button” represents the close. The conversation needs to be fact-finding and relationship-building. By asking effective, relevant questions, you can position the “rock” in the most effective way possible. Don’t focus on getting to “button” too quickly or you could miss some crucial buying cues and opportunities.
After you’ve put your prospects at ease, and you’ve helped them understand their need for paycheck protection, it’s time to sweep the sale toward the close. While every sale is different, this process generally isn’t like hockey where you can shoot hard and score. It’s nothing like ski jumping where you get into position and fly. And it certainly is NOT like figure skating where the routine is completely choreographed. No – sweeping the sale toward the close is most like curling. It requires continual work, a lot of follow up and you can’t ever take your eye off the “rock” because you never know when it will slip sideways!
The next time you begin the disability insurance sales process, take inspiration from curling. Use purposeful conversation to uncover your prospects’ interests, fears, motivators and buying styles. Position the rock carefully, and be prepared to sweep like crazy to reach the button! Use our four stories flier for emotional decision makers and our stat pack for analytical decision makers. And, if you’ve ever doubted the importance of follow up, download this fact sheet. You’ll be amazed to see the average number of contacts if requires to close a sale!
In sales, risk reversal is a concept routinely used to remove the fear of buying. Common risk reversal tactics include the money-back guarantee, three-year warranty and satisfaction-guaranteed promises.
The idea is that if prospects are wavering on the buying decision, risk reversal will push them into action. It’s a theory that has been proven to work in direct mail and in retail environments. And as online shoe retailer, Zappos, discovered, it’s particularly effective in online selling. By implementing an easy “return under any circumstance” policy and even paying the shipping for the return, Zappos overcame potential objections to buying shoes online, quickly achieving rapid growth and success.
That being said, I know you’re thinking there’s no way this concept applies to insurance sales. When selling insurance, we can’t throw around return policies and satisfaction guarantees. If you don’t actually use your disability insurance policy or your long-term care insurance, you don’t get your money back. So, it’s pretty obvious that risk reversal does NOT work in insurance … right?
Actually, I’m here to tell you that risk reversal works very well in LTCI and disability insurance sales.
However, with insurance selling, risk reversal is about demonstrating the risk of NOT buying rather than eliminating the risk of buying. See the twist?
Here’s an example of how risk reversal works in DI selling:
- First, explain that in financial planning, disability insurance is one of the essential protection pillars. You protect your assets with property/casualty insurance; your health with health insurance; your life with life insurance; and your ability to earn a living with disability insurance (also known as paycheck protection or income protection). Of these protection pillars, income protection is arguable the most important. Think about it – if you don’t have any income, you can’t afford any assets, health insurance or life insurance. The paycheck is the source of many good things.
- Next, let clients know that you have a professional obligation to tell them about the need for paycheck protection. If you didn’t share this information, you wouldn’t be doing your job and in fact, you’d be placing clients at financial risk.
- If clients refuse coverage, ask them to sign a Waiver of Liability form. The conversation goes something like this. “Mr. Smith – I certainly understand if you want to forgo paycheck protection at this time. However, I do need to protect myself by having you sign this Waiver of Liability. The Waiver confirms that I informed you of the risk, and you are deciding to proceed against my advice. I like to document my files, because in some cases, when clients become disabled and financially desperate, they sue their financial advisors, claiming they were never told about the need for paycheck protection. Of course, I know you would never do that, but I’m sure you can understand why I like to document my files.”
This risk reversal strategy is a smart way to protect yourself from errors and omissions claims. But, it also causes clients to take a second look at their “no” decisions. And in many cases, those second looks result in new “yes” decisions, helping you close more disability insurance quotes and LTCI quotes.
Need a Waiver of Liability form? Download our free Wealth Preservation Plan sales script. The Waiver of Liability form is included, along with some other tools you’ll find helpful.
It wasn’t all that long ago that email was the hottest new thing in marketing. But with times and technology changing so fast, is email marketing still an effective way to grow disability insurance sales?
Yes … IF you use it correctly!
Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new customers and develop a stronger relationship with current ones. Best of all, you don’t have to pay for printing or postage!
Follow these guidelines to make your emails a productive marketing tool for your insurance business:
1. Build relationships. Think of email as a lead generation tool and as a long-term relationship-building tool. Create different email campaigns for prospects and customers and focus on establishing trust, providing helpful information, and building lasting relationships.
2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Email alone isn’t a magic bullet. It needs to be integrated into your overall insurance marketing mix that includes your insurance website, direct mail, social media, content creation, and agency software capabilities.
3. Inform and educate. Email is a highly effective way to answer customer inquiries and provide specific information. And a weekly email newsletter is the perfect vehicle to give your readers helpful tips, build rapport, establish yourself as an expert, and bolster your credibility. But keep your emails short and relevant, and don’t sell.
4. Capture email addresses on your website. Your email newsletter won’t mean much if you don’t have any subscribers, so place an email opt-in box on your insurance website.
5. Offer a download. Email response rates are much higher if you offer a report download or a webinar registration. Most people are interested, but not quite ready to call you – so giving them something of value helps move their buying decision forward.
6. Make it easy. Make sure your emails are well organized, well-written, well-designed, and quickly and easily digested. Use a standard signature block at the end of your emails and follow can-spam guidelines for opt-outs.
7. Use a mobile-responsive design. A large of majority of emails are now viewed via mobile devices so structure your email accordingly. View your email on a mobile device before sending it to ensure that it’s user-friendly. Also, include a link to allow users to view the email online.
8. Include social sharing and/or follow buttons. This is yet another opportunity to integrate social media into your overall marketing mix.
The bottom line: Email marketing is still a viable disability insurance marketing tool. Used properly, it can help you build that valuable bridge of trust between you and your prospects and customers, and establish a solid, unshakeable relationship that can lead to repeated sales over the years.
Wondering how to get started? Here at Disability Insurance Services, we offer a free Broker Computer Assisted Marketing (BCAM) program, featuring industry-specific email blasts that link to an online disability quote engine. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out! Download our free BCAM Guide to learn more.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, make sure to subscribe to the DI Blog in the top right corner of this page.
Distracted by health reform? Wondering how to beat your income goals in 2013 and beyond?
Disability insurance (DI) + long-term care insurance (LTCI) may be the winning teamwork that makes your business and personal clients’ dreams work. And when your clients’ dreams work (thanks to your great planning) more business and referrals usually follow. Read on for the career-changing details …
Low-cost health care creates high-cost retention issues
Federally mandated healthcare reform coupled with a stagnant economy has had significant impact on employee benefit packages across all industries. To contain costs, companies have streamlined benefits packages and passed increased costs on to their employees. This lean and mean approach to employee benefits has provided companies with some interesting insight – specifically that the lowest cost strategy is not necessarily the wisest strategy.
A November 2012 report by CBS MoneyWatch estimated that the cost of replacing a worker earning $50,000 or less a year (which represents 40 percent of all jobs in the United States) is 20 percent of the worker's salary, underscoring the fact that it is more expensive to hire new employees than it is to retain existing personnel. Employee retention strategies are the subject of increased attention in human resource departments, with a comprehensive benefits package being one of the key components of discussion.
Voluntary benefits bridge the gap
Attracting and retaining high quality employees requires more than highly competitive pay. Benefits are integral to employees' total compensation packages and comprehensiveness factors heavily into a company's overall attractiveness as an employer. A comprehensive benefits package offers a diverse array of programs that are designed to address the needs of the employee whether on active status, sick, disabled or retired. Voluntary benefits such as disability insurance and long-term care insurance are just as important as medical, dental, vision, life and retirement.
DI protects clients’ paychecks during extended periods of illness or injury. And, LTCI is critical for retirees who would like to protect their assets from the exorbitant cost of assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL).
As you can see, offering voluntary group benefits helps your business clients retain their employees and it helps employees retain their dreams of financial security by protecting them throughout their working years and retirement.
Voluntary benefits are especially attractive to employers as they carry little or no cost to the company while providing high value to the employee. A 2010 study conducted by Harris Interactive for AFLAC stated that 58 percent of small business owners believe that their employee productivity suffers 5 to 20 percent because employees are concerned with personal issues. A 2009 Harvard Research study revealed that 62 percent of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical problems, further underscoring the need for DI and LTCI. Employee productivity increases when voluntary benefits are offered, making these benefits one of the wisest inclusions to employee compensation.
As you scope your sales growth plan for the rest of 2013 and beyond, realize that health reform presents a small window of opportunity. Those who offer smart solutions in the midst of the health reform chaos of change will forge ahead as industry leaders. You don’t have to be in employee benefits sales to benefit from the health reform window of opportunity. Use your DI and LTCI expertise to create a teamwork combo sale that makes dreams work for you, your employer clients and their employees.
Ready to get started? Click here to access three instantly downloadable tools: The DI Broker Kit, LTCI Product Options and our free report, “Employer Sponsorship: How to Turn One Sale Into Hundreds.”
Also, if you haven’t already done so, make sure to subscribe to the DIS Blog in the top right corner of this page.
Have you ever come back from a sales seminar, class, or professional convention so inspired that you couldn’t wait to pick up the phone, fill your appointment schedule and break every previous DI sales record?
As a disability insurance expert, you have the desire to sell, but you don’t always have a receptive audience of prospects. Unfortunately, an arsenal of business cards, brochures and a well-polished presentation won’t get you out of the garage and down the driveway if you don’t have enough prospects to talk to. Whether you’re a new agent looking to build your book or a seasoned veteran who wants to take sales to the next level, employing the simple technique of forming alliances with other professionals can jumpstart your disability prospecting efforts and your disability insurance quote volume.
Build relationships with other professionals
A great way to reach a lot of prospects and build a steady stream of referral business is to form alliances with other non-competing professionals. Real estate brokers, mortgage lenders, and financial planners (those who don’t offer insurance products), are all potential resources for building alliances. Why? Because their clients need income protection.
For example, consider an alliance with a local business accounting firm. Since they help clients on manage business assets, recommending income protection is a natural transition. In return, agree to refer clients of yours who might be in the market for accounting services. It’s a win-win. You build a solid referral system to generate new prospects and you provide clients with a professional resource, adding value to your DI services.
How to get started
First, compile a list of potential businesses for potential alliances. Like most professionals who work by appointment, demonstrate your respect for their time by calling first and ask about setting an appointment to talk about a mutually beneficial business opportunity.
When you talk on the phone, be prepared and to the point. Tell your potential alliance that you would like to meet to explore the opportunity to refer quality business to one another. If the person is agreeable, set up an in-person meeting to talk further. Remember, it’s a two-way street so come prepared to learn as much as possible about the other business. They will be more interested in YOU, if you show great interest in THEM.
Can’t get by the gatekeepers? Mail out a letter explaining your services and include the benefits of working together and referring business. Suggest the possibility of co-hosting local seminars or workshops in the near future.
The insurance business is a highly-competitive industry. Forming alliances with other professionals can be a great way to reach warmer, qualified DI prospects and referrals.
- As a disability insurance sales professional, do you feel frustrated when prospects are more concerned about securing full-coverage for their cars than protecting their incomes?
- Do you encounter people who discount the need for income protection because they believe they will never be disabled?
- Do you wish you could grab prospects’ undivided attention for just a short time, so you could show them what’s at stake and help them understand the risks?
If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, consider hosting a seminar to convert more DI prospects into DI customers. Seminars generate qualified leads and also establish you as an income protection expert in your community, creating valuable referral opportunities.
Below are five tips to consider when planning an income protection seminar:
1. Host a series of income protection topics. Host a seminar at least once every quarter featuring a series of relevant DI topics. For example, you can begin with an individual disability insurance topic, offer a seminar for businesses owners the next quarter, and feature Retirement DI in the third quarter. When advertising your events, include information about all the upcoming sessions. If one topic doesn’t resonate with a prospect, perhaps others will.
2. Practice old-fashioned hospitality. When people are comfortable and their needs are met, they are easier to engage. Pay attention to the temperature of the room; provide tables and extra pens and paper so people can easily take notes; offer snacks and drinks and a place to hang up coats. Be mindful of your audience. If there’s a chance that attendees could have children in tow, provide coloring sheets and perhaps a teenage childcare provider to minimize distractions. If you’re speaking to a business or professional audience, include a brief time for introductions or networking.
3. Sign attendees in. When attendees come through the door, they should be warmly greeted and asked to sign in (name, phone, email and mailing address). This way you can follow-up later or send additional information as it relates to the specific topic. Depending on the size of the group, you may want to provide name tags.
4. Give attendees valuable tools. When planning a seminar, put together a well-polished presentation binder for each guest. Include engaging, useful tools and worksheets such as a personalized DI planning guide so they can follow along as you talk. Remember, it’s critical to have participants complete these worksheets during the seminar. By doing this, you provide them with a personalized needs analysis they can take home. The numbers don’t lie. Prospects who need protection will either flag you down before they leave or they’ll call you later.
5. Keep the selling soft. Now that you have a willing, captive audience you should pitch the need for DI hard and heavy, right? Dead wrong. Remember the topics you thoughtfully selected? Present them in an informational, solution-based manner. Avoid long boring PowerPoint presentations. To create emotion, tell stories from your own experiences and tell them about people you know whose lives have been impacted by income protection (or lack of income protection). Pause many times to solicit questions and feedback to facilitate two-way conversation. Connect with your audience and make them feel welcome and cared for. There’s no need for a hard-sell approach.
Ready to make 2013 a banner year for income protection sales? Consider adding a seminar to your selling toolbox. You’ll finally have a candid audience, and you’ll position yourself as the industry expert in your community.
For more ideas about how to present income protection, download our most popular sales script, The Wealth Preservation Plan.
These days, every DI broker is searching for the next big thing in marketing. There’s a belief that technology and innovation will somehow create an easier method for selling disability insurance. While it’s true that tools like our online DI quote engine and broker computer assisted marketing can help, I think it’s important to look backward as well as forward. How did our industry’s veterans achieve marketing success before the Internet age?
Sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest difference when selling disability insurance. And studies suggest that the simple act of showing appreciation for your customers can go a long way in strengthening relationships and making those customers want to come back for more.
Want the easiest, most inexpensive way to show appreciation? Write a thank you note.
An old-fashioned, hand-written thank you note lets customers and business partners know you care. It’s unexpected since so many business people have forgotten this lost art, so when you write one, you instantly make a favorable and lasting impression. You can also halt customer attrition.
Below are the primary reasons customers leave, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
- 68% leave because they are upset with the treatment they’ve received (Customer Service)
- 14% are dissatisfied with the product or service
- 9% begin doing business with the competition
- 5% seek alternatives or develop other business relationships
- 3% move away
- 1% die
A simple thank you note can impact that 68% for your business. By reducing your customer defection rate, you can make a big difference in your firm’s bottom line.
To increase disability insurance sales, DI brokers should strive to write 10 thank you notes every day. Write a note to:
- Prospects you spoke with over the phone
- Prospects you met at industry events
- People you meet in social circles and networking events
- People who are totally unrelated to your business but may be good referral sources
Write your notes on a quality personalized notecard and be concise, yet charming. Reference the recent interaction and what you appreciated about the person you’re writing. Your note can be as simple as “Dear Tom, Thank you for your time last Thursday. I enjoyed meeting you and your partners and learning more about your medical practice. Your patient scheduling strategy is quite innovative! Don’t hesitate to call me if you have questions. We welcome the opportunity to assist with your income protection strategy. Warm regards, Dan.” Don’t launch into a sales pitch. Keep it simple and enclose your business card.
What about thank you emails when selling disability insurance?
Although not quite as personal, thank you emails can also be effective. According to Hubspot, thank you emails are twice as engaging as general marketing emails. In Hubspot’s comparison tests, the simple, automated thank you emails generated twice the response of one-time dedicated marketing emails.
Three not-to-be-missed thank you opportunities:
The Follow Up Thank You: This is the thank you we just discussed. It is transactional in nature, designed to respond to a recent interaction. The magnitude of your “thank you” should also match the magnitude of the action the customer took. The greater the purchase or commitment someone makes, the more time, effort and money you should spend thanking them.
The Seasonal Thank You: Besides the immediate thank you emails to prospects that have taken specific action, don’t forget to thank your current customers at regular intervals throughout the year. Thanksgiving is always a no-brainer, but go beyond national or religious holidays.
The Surprise Thank You: Everyone loves to be thanked for no particular reason. Develop a quarterly or even monthly thank you campaign to reward repeat business and customer loyalty.
In this era of high tech, many DI brokers fail to nurture the “high touch” factor, and one of the most effective ways to do that is by practicing the simple, old-fashioned act of saying “thank you.” When your customers feel appreciated, they're more likely to return to you, more likely to purchase, and more likely to recommend you to their family and friends.
And that’s something you can truly be thankful for.
Need more ideas for selling disability insurance? Check out our free computer assisted marketing services.