The Definitive Guide to Selling Life Insurance in 2023
A Guide to Selling Life Insurance and Reaching MDRT Top of the Table
If you're trying to get a foothold in this life insurance sales game, here's your chance to copy my system and become a Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Top of the Table producer like me.
Life insurance is one of the most popular products out there, but it's not always the easiest to sell.
I've gotten some pretty good questions regarding selling life insurance over the years —and I want to continue this conversation because it will benefit you.
But before we get into it, let's talk about one thing:
If you sell life insurance, you'll be able to help families get through the darkest moments in their lives and ensure your clients breathe a sigh of relief because their loved ones will still be taken care of for years to come if they die. You'll feel immense personal fulfillment knowing that your product has literally saved lives. Plus, you can probably make more money than a surgeon - without even cutting people open while at it. That's why I want you to master this trade.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Want to know what else is awesome?
The Insurance Industry Is Seeing Better Days
With the naysayers claiming the insurance industry was dead in the water, you're probably thinking: "Is there hope for my career - is there a future in selling life insurance?"
I've been in sales for over 20 years, so I know what it's like to worry about your job security because there can be some dark days in sales. Well, now is the time to look at what's happening with life insurance and why we see an upswing.
- The Insurance Information Institute reports that consumers spent a good portion of $635.8 billion on U.S.-based life insurance policies in 2021, representing 47% of premiums by life/annuity insurers per S&P Global Market Intelligence. It shows that consumers are still buying life insurance policies despite all their fears about potential future economic downturns or other factors that could negatively affect their ability to pay premiums or claim benefits.
- Insurance sales are expected to grow by 3.9%, including life insurance, thanks to factors such as widespread interest in personal finance . People are becoming more aware of how important it is to plan for their financial futures, especially near retirement age (Insurance Journal).
- One hundred six million American adults "lack life insurance, or adequate coverage." Translation: there is a wide chasm between what people have and what they say they need, which is two times the size of what it was 12 years ago. As an insurance agent, this is an opportunity you should be prepared to seize!
The main reason for this shift is that the economy is on the bounce — and people are willing to spend it on insurance policies and other financial products that will help them protect their family and assets from unexpected events such as death.
Basically, the tl;dr is:
It's not too late to jump on board this gravy train. In fact, now might be the best time to start selling life insurance.
But with some caveats:
The insurance industry has a high failure rate. Over the course of their first year, 80% of insurance advisors will fail. The key to success — a big one — is that you need to understand what you’re really selling.
You can't escape it. But what if I told you I know how to move people off the fence and get them excited about buying life insurance?
That's why you are here. I'll indulge you and reveal all you need to know right now!
The Life Insurance Selling Process (A Step-By-Step Guide That Works)
Now, it's time to break the mold: I'm going to teach you a fresh new perspective on going above and beyond your sales goals using the principles of the Taylor Method.
There are four pillars to a successful life insurance sales strategy. Without all four pillars, your business will never reach its potential. The Taylor Method is a strategic sales system that weaves these pillars to work in unison and let their powers multiply the effectiveness of the other processes to bring success.
I'll also add:
The system is so effective that thousands of agents use it to become top producers. And you can use this same method to sell more life insurance policies than ever before.
Step 1: A Solid Client Acquisition Process
The first thing you need is a solid client acquisition process, and this is where most agents miss the boat. This step sets the tone for everything else that follows. If you don't have a solid client acquisition process, you can't expect to close any deals and make money.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret:
You might think most folks don't want or need life insurance, but this couldn't be further from the truth!
The real issue is that life insurance isn’t bought. Most people don’t wake up and think,
“You know what, I think I’m going to get some life insurance today.”
You have to (1) get prospects, but more importantly, (2) focus on the problems that life insurance solves to make the sale.
Here's how to find them:
The word-of-mouth method is still one of the best ways for agents to find new clients. If you can get someone who trusts you enough to refer you to their friends and family, that's gold!
This is because people generally trust referrals and are more likely to do business with you if someone they know referred your services to them. Encourage clients to refer their friends and family members who may need life insurance.
Forget about cold calling and cold email blasts. You have to take a different approach to generate leads that convert into sales. You have to get creative and think outside the box when prospecting for clients with substantial wealth. It means doing things like prospecting up.
I love this approach because it's an easy-to-follow approach that's helped me eventually reach people making more money than my current clients.
To do this, ask your client a simple question:
"Who do you look up to for their financial accomplishments"?
99.9% of the time, they'll refer you to someone more wealthy than them.
Why is this important?
The more money your clients have, the more you can make.
Let's say you're at McDonald's and you ask the fry cook for a referral; chances are high they'll refer you to the guy flipping burgers or someone similar within their social circle. And that means you'll most likely be writing another $50/month policy with such a referral.
On the other hand, when you “prospect up” in the scenarios above, they'll likely mention the "shift manager" when you ask that question. Before you know it, you'll be writing $100 per month policies. And if you keep at it, you'll eventually write a $200,000 annual policy. (True story - I went from the fry cook to the franchise owner using my Prospect Up referral language)
Centers Of Influence
One of my favorite parts about working in insurance is that, for the most part, we need to work with other professionals who sell something different, such as legal or accounting services. It makes it so much easier to identify potential connections.
So back to the lead thing. You want to find leads for your life insurance business, right?
Start partnering with other professionals that sell complementary services your clients might need. This can include CPAs (accountants), attorneys, mortgage brokers, or any other professional offering services that complement your work. These people are called Centers of Influence (COI) because they influence your target market, whether directly or indirectly, through word-of-mouth referrals.
Let me ask you a question: Last holiday you received a gift. How did it make you feel? I bet you made a mental note to return the favor.
Well, guess what? That same principle applies here - those COI would return the favor and refer business to you.
Remember, "givers get!" I give so much business to my COIs that it’s impossible for them to not think of me when their client needs life insurance.
Networking At Events, But With A Twist
You see, when it comes to insurance, generally, people don't want to be sold. They want solutions that solve their problems and help them achieve their goals - such as how to protect themselves and their family, or their business.
That's why you need to network differently than other sales reps. Instead of dishing out your complimentary business cards and asking, "Do you know anyone who would be interested in life insurance," introduce this twist at the next event you attend:
Make genuine connections. People are less likely to buy from someone they don't know, like or trust. So, first, connect with them on a personal level. Ask them about their business/family/career/etc.; Ask questions like "What are some of your biggest challenges right now?."
Asking questions shows that you're interested in the person and not just their wallet. Remember, it's about making connections that may lead to referrals, whether now or down the road. So take the time to get to know people at events before asking for their business.
Offer help. If someone tells you they have a problem you can solve, even if it is not directly related to life insurance, offer your help. It might be something as simple as giving them an introduction to a colleague or simply pointing them in the right direction. It shows them that you genuinely care about helping others, making them much more likely to listen to what else you have to say.
“Giver’s Get.” (remember this one)
Contribute To Your Local Community
There are plenty of ways to give back in the form of charity work. As an agent, you could volunteer at soup kitchens or homeless shelters. You could also donate money to organizations that support young people with career development opportunities or provide financial aid for those struggling financially.
I'm sure you're asking, "what's in it for me?"
The answer is simple: Giving back is good for all of us. It helps us feel better about ourselves, and it helps those less fortunate.
And it helps your business:
- It is a great way to meet new people.
- It's also a great way to build up your reputation as someone who cares about their community and wants to make their town better than ever before!
- People will see your contribution as a reflection of yourself and your company, which means they'll trust you more and be more likely to buy from you.
This is another off-the-beaten-path strategy I like. And I'll tell you what - this approach helped me make 6-figure figures from a chance meeting at the park.
Here's how it happened:
One uneventful Saturday morning, I took my daughters to the park like I normally do. It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of people out playing with their kids. One particular family caught my eye - they looked like a great fit for my target market.
What I did next isn't what they'll teach you at Harvard Business school. I urged my eldest daughter to play with their kid and welcome them to the neighborhood. Turns out, my daughters are great at prospecting ;-) and we soon became friends with that family. Till this day, we are still all friends, and I also happened to bring them on as one of my HNW clients.
Here are a couple of things I need you to keep in mind:
- You don't need to be in your office dressed up in a suit and tie before you can sell insurance.
- In my experience, many prospects are not "problem/solution aware" - they might not know they have a problem that your solution can solve, or they know they've got an issue but don't know where to go for help. This includes understanding the valuation of their assets and making informed decisions about their financial future.
- Keep your eyes open for the tiny details. The last thing you want is to miss a lead. In the story above, the kid from the other family attends an expensive school. That's a clue that there may be money in the background.
- Also, if you do not have anything to talk about with the customer, asking some questions is better than keeping silent. It will help you understand their situation better and make them feel comfortable around you.
End of step 1: You should have a quality lead at the end of this stage.
Step 2: A Process That Will Help You Gather The Facts You Need And Quell Objections Before They Arise
Too many agents get caught up in the sale and don't take the time to understand their client's needs and goals. That's why I always ensure that my clients have a solid understanding of their financial situation before we talk about their specific insurance needs - and you want to ensure that they know the benefits and risks associated with life insurance.
So, your next step after booking an appointment with your prospect is to get all the facts and figures you need to help you make an offer that meets their needs.
To do this, you'll want to use a process similar to the one I used when selling Life Insurance. It's called "The Objection-Free Sales Process."
Here's how it works:
- Ask questions about their entire financial, personal, and family picture
- Listen carefully and take notes
- Ask follow up questions again if needed
- Repeat until you have enough data to make recommendations
Here are some questions you can ask to help you gather the facts you need:
- What are your current sources of income?
- How much debt do you have?
- Do you own any assets?
- When do you plan on retiring?
- How much money does your family need each year to survive?
- What are your monthly expenses?
- How much do you plan on saving each month?
- Are any major purchases coming up within the next year or two requiring extra cash?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What are your long term goals?
These are just a handful of the questions you should be asking, but a structured and detailed fact finder (like the one we use for Taylor Method subscribers) should help you conduct these interviews effectively.
Important Note: During the interview process, your focus should be on identifying the gaps in their planning and not on selling any products. It's important to keep in mind that any objection you hear is just a symptom of an underlying issue. Your job is to figure out what that problem is and how you can help solve it. I cannot stress the importance of listening during this phase. The Taylor Method teaches a proven process for gathering information from prospects so that you can understand where they're coming from and how to address their objections before they arise.
This is why our sales system is often called the “objection-free sales process.”
Two Powerful Phrases That'll Help You Handle Most Common Objections Prospects Would Have When You Want To Sell Life Insurance
It's important to understand that selling life insurance is not always easy because it’s an intangible good. We are selling peace of mind. A piece of paper with a future guarantee, and often people don’t like to think about death. So objections are to be expected during the sales process.
An objection is something that stops a prospect from buying your product or service, regardless of how good it is. There are many reasons your prospects would say "no," but for today, we only focus on those that could be turned into a positive.
The following are two of the common objections prospects may have when it comes to life insurance sales:
1. I don't need any kind of insurance right now.
2. I have another person who provides this kind of service for me.
So how do we go about handling these objections?
When people say they don’t “need” any kind of life insurance, 99% of the time it’s an affordability issue. They simply do not have the money.
But it doesn’t mean you cannot respond to this objection as long as you did a proper fact find and uncovered that they have a huge gap should something happen to them.
I like to say, “If you can’t afford to get it, you can’t afford not to have it.”
At this point, it’s not up to you to force someone into a policy, but rather, just to illustrate to them, with math and science, that the insurance policy you are recommending is to fill a gap such as taking care of their family if they weren’t there anymore.
The second objection can be handled with a simple phrase
"I will never undo any of the good work that you’ve done." (The important phrase here is “good work”, not just any work, “good work”.)
"If, for example, you need three factors to secure your family financially after your passing, and you've effectively covered two, I won't change those two things. However, I will highlight the other area of vulnerability, and more importantly, I will give you a means and a mechanism to solve the problem."
End of Step 2: You now have relevant details that help you understand your client's needs.
Step 3: Analyze The Fact And Uncover Every Single Opportunity For A Sale
In the previous step, you could understand your client's needs and have a fairly accurate picture of their situation.
Go for the sale? A big NO!
The next step is to analyze all this information so that you can uncover every opportunity for a sale. You will be surprised by how many opportunities there are - some might be right under your nose as we speak!
It might sound like an easy task, but it can be very challenging because you have to keep an open mind and look at every possibility. It’s important you address non-insurance gaps as well if you see it. For example, if they can refinance their mortgage at a lower rate, you should bring it to their attention.
Pay attention, because this is important…
In life, we all win some and lose some. But do you know what separates the top producers from struggling agents? A systemic process that allows them to move through doors of opportunities. So, while other agents out there might stumble into success, the best insurance agents dig deep and uncover crucial information that'll help them seal the deal and get more out of it. The Taylor Method is the best way to get the desired results - and the positive results speak for themselves!
So, how do you unlock opportunities contained in the "fact find"?
You have to focus on what’s best for the client and take a holistic approach to analyzing their situation.
Imagine the possibilities when you help your clients uncover vulnerabilities or inefficiencies in their existing portfolio without spending more than they're currently paying by simply refinancing their mortgage; it's like giving them the keys to a new car they already own. Perfect. You've just increased the chance that you will have a long-lasting client!
A real-life example of how this works:
I had a client that wouldn't agree to a higher premium. I was pushing for a $3000 a month policy, but they insisted they won't go beyond $200 a month.
During the fact-finding stage (Step 2), I found out that she racked up $60,000 in credit card debt about six years ago and still pays about $2,000 monthly. I also discovered they had a property worth a million dollars with half a million owed on it.
So how did I uncover an opportunity for a sale in this case?
I referred my client to a COI who is a mortgage broker who helped refinance that property, exchanging $60,000 of credit card debt at 20% for $60,000 of mortgage debt at 4% (tax-deductible). This will not only lower the client's interest rate (and, therefore, their monthly payments), but it will also mean they can pay off the credit cards faster, which means they can eliminate the debt sooner than they would have been able to otherwise.
If you were that client, won't you see me as heaven-sent? Sure the client did, and I was able to write the correct amount of insurance for this client.
I hope you catch my drift. Think outside the box; you can use the same principle in selling life insurance policies.
End of step 3: You've helped your client proffer a solution to their peculiar problem(s).
Step 4: Propose Solutions That Get Clients To Take Action
This stage is where all the hard work pays off. After doing the previous steps correctly, you should be able to close the sale fairly easily.
Warning: Don't ruin it by offering multiple solutions to the client. Aside from confusing the client, it would make you appear as if you don't know what you are talking about - suggesting you haven't done your homework. It will reflect badly on your professionalism and integrity.
What you should do: Instead, focus on one solution (or maybe two)! That way, you'll give them exactly what they want. You won't waste their time with irrelevant options. Like a wise man would always say: "serve 'em right, and they'll come running back for more."
Let's get down to business:
Need-Based Sale Vs. Greed-Based Sale
I believe this is a one-appointment close.
You just need to ask three questions:
1. What would happen to your family if you didn't come home tomorrow?
2. How does that make you feel?
3. How much money can you comfortably set aside each month to solve this problem?
Did you notice I didn't mention carriers or products? Exactly! Yet, I got to the heart of what life insurance can mean for this person and their family.
I use the greed-based sale to get the big bucks, like $50,000/year premium commitments. It's a little more involved, but I love it because it's foolproof.
Here's the summary:
Ask your prospect: "How much income do you need yearly to feel comfortable when you retire?" Next, double the figure to account for inflation and then multiply it by 20.
Let's talk about actual numbers.
For instance, if their response was $100,000. Here's how it works out:
$100,000 x 2 = $200,000;
$200,000 x 20 =$4,000,000 (4 million dollars) - this would be the target retirement savings goal.
At a 5% rate of return, this $4M policy could yield $200,000/year into perpetuity.
As I mentioned, this strategy is more involved than the need-based sales strategy. You'll get access to our premium program explaining how to sell more than just life insurance. It's just a small investment from you, but it will pay off significantly. You'll have to be prepared for many extra details and possible objections.
One more thing:
The greed-based strategy is powerful because the client would mention the amount ($100,000 in our example) they'll need to retire comfortably. You just have to wait for them to respond, then do the math, present it to them, and help them understand how you arrived at the final amount. Ultimately, they'll be compelled to commit because they don’t want to fall short of their retirement number.
Where To Learn How To Sell Life Insurance (Online)
If you're serious about selling insurance, listen up: there are no shortcuts to making big commissions. But hey, if you want some sucker-free motivation and proven ideas that'll take your business to the next level, The Taylor Method has got what it takes - and unlike most insurance sales training, I can guarantee it.
Here's a taste of what's in store for you:
- Increase your productivity, case rate, and average case size.
- Prospect up to individuals that make the money you want to make.
- Develop confidence in your process and language.
- Get coaching from an ACTIVE, MDRT Top of the Table producer.
To learn more, go here