Tough economic times create challenges for selling any product or service, but insurance agents often have an even more difficult task ahead of them. Insurance is intangible, and it's natural for customers to assume their money is better spent on a product or service for which they receive an immediate benefit. Convincing them otherwise is the first and most vital step towards making a sale.
The Challenge And Opportunity Of Health Insurance
The struggling economy has provided an opportunity to increase health insurance sales to levels never before possible. Millions of Americans that are unemployed or uninsured are now your potential clients, and as more businesses cut health benefits, your market grows.
Gaining the client's trust is the greatest challenge facing an insurance agent. Referrals are an excellent way to overcome this hurdle, because they start you off with a measure of credibility. Gain referrals by positioning yourself as an expert resource and finder of solutions, not a mere salesman. If you help your clients, they will help you.
When engaging with a new client, take a soft sales approach and expect a longer sales cycle. Often, the first step is simply education, as many prospects will find health plans complex and confusing. Help simplify their choices by employing the following methods:
- Present a limited number of policy choices that have distinct differences between them. You can provide other options later if necessary, but make the first choice simple.
- Create easy-to-read sales materials-- remember that the average American reads comfortably at an eighth-grade reading level. Materials from your insurance carrier are likely at a higher level.
- Develop a selling aid that helps clients select a plan-- use a simple flow chart or develop an online tool on your website.
Selling Supplemental Medicare
The insurance industry stands ready to benefit from the baby boomers, as this large generation reaches the age of Medicare eligibility. However, these new seniors do not have the same expectations as your existing senior clients, who generally prefer a home visit. Boomers are more inclined to search online for information and deals on products like supplemental Medicare insurance.
What does this mean for you?
- Your website is of critical importance. A professionally designed website enhances credibility and fosters trust with new clients. The first place consumers will go after your initial sales call is your website.
- Softer sales methods are necessary. Just as the customer needs to be educated about your insurance products, you need to be educated about their specific situation, including family history or any other risk factors, so you can provide the product that best meets their needs.
- Don't forget to cross-sell. Customers turning 65 are likely to need more than just supplemental Medicare coverage. If you can be the agent that provides health insurance, long-term care coverage and an annuity, both you and the customer will benefit.
Selling Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is an important and necessary product for seniors, but it also can be a difficult sell. Most clients will assume they will never need it, and must be gently convinced that your product is valuable and potentially very important for their future.
When learning how to sell long-term care insurance, remember to focus on the positive. Scare tactics are ineffective and will alienate your customers, especially if they are fit and healthy. If your client has children, focus on the benefit to their family. Many people in this new generation of seniors found themselves responsible for taking care of their own parents and they do not want to be a burden to their children.
For clients without children, focus on the dignity and self-reliance that long-term care offers. By planning for their future now, your customers can define their lifestyle in their later years, rather than becoming vulnerable or dependent on others.
Most buying decisions are emotional, but try appealing with hard facts: show statistics from reputable sources supporting your claims. Show them the costs of long-term care, and compare that with your product's premiums. Long-term care insurance is not an easy sale, but if you can master it, you will be well positioned to find leads and sales others cannot.