Selling Insurance in 2024: The Ultimate Guide to Success
An Industry On The Rebound Sets Up Opportunities For Insurance Sales
The Covid-19 pandemic left the insurance industry sick in its wake. How bad? We've seen premium growth slow to 1.2% against 4% year on year circa 2012-2020 (McKinsey &Company).
However, slowly but surely, we've been recovering from the impact.
From the brink, thanks to vaccines, the industry is rousing from its low point of 2020 with a significant premium and profit growth in 2021 going by initial data coming through according to McKinsey's Creating value, finding focus: Global Insurance Report 2022.
A strong economy is the best environment for growing insurance sales. And the bright news is that at the tail-end of 2021, the U.S economy showed strength, according to "2022 State of the Insurance Market" published by CRC Group. And it is expected to continue its recovery in 2022, albeit moderate - with GDP growth between 3% and 4% during this period.
As economies grow, they generate new opportunities—and risks—that require protection, and thus the demand for insurance products and services inevitably increases. Insurance demand could shatter premium records in 2022, according to the latest sigma study by The Swiss Re Institute, the Switzerland-based reinsurance company.
It gets interesting:
Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic over the next few years, we can expect the need for insurance to continue to grow because of the increased awareness that resulted when the financial fortunes of businesses and people hit the skids.
The Twinkling North Star
I foresee growth but anticipate stiffer competition in the insurance marketplace.
Here are the facts and figures:
- The market is enormous. There's a boatload of cash in insurance floating around, and it's just waiting for you to grab it. The estimated size of the global insurance market in 2022 is over 5.3 trillion U.S. dollars today, and by 2025 experts expect it to grow to 6.4 trillion U.S. dollars, according to Statista.
- The 2022 Insurance Barometer Study from LIMRA and Life Happens revealed that 102 million adults (or 40% of the U.S adult population) are without life insurance or adequate insurance coverage.
- The need gap, the difference between what people have and what they say they need, is growing at an alarming rate, and when compared to 12 years ago, it is 2X today.
- There is an estimated coverage gap of $12 trillion and the average shortfall between what people have and what they need is approximately $200,000. These statistics are an indication that insurers need to get their act together if they want to reach underserved markets (Deloitte).
- Insurance agents who are never complacent, do more with less, and always look for ways to improve while providing the highest level of service and support will win. As it is these agents that clients will look to when it is time to buy.
Takeaway: if you're looking to sell insurance, there's no better time than now - however, you must be ready to shift your mindset and learn how to position insurance solutions to see the desired results.
Before we dive into the actionable tips and strategies, if you're an insurance advisor looking to take your sales to the next level, we invite you to check out our training programs that have helped countless advisors achieve their goals. Click here to learn more and enroll today!
Setting Course For A Torrent Of Insurance Sales
Let's be clear
As much as 80% of new insurance agents fail within the first year (Insurance Journal).
The key to survival is learning how to identify the problems that insurance solves.
But the challenge is that most agents don't know how to do so correctly. They think they do because their company “trained” them to sell a product, but they don't. Insurance isn't just about selling policies and collecting premiums.
You’re selling peace of mind. An intangible good. A piece of paper with a promise on it.
22 years ago, that was me:
My early years in business were an uphill battle because I didn't understand how people buy and the psychology behind their decisions. I knew what I was doing wasn't working but didn't know what else to try. It was like trying to drive a car simultaneously with one foot on the gas and one on the brake!
And in those early days, one of my biggest challenges was finding ways to get enough prospects into my pipeline so that I could make enough money to cover my upkeep.
If you are like most new agents today, you're probably struggling with similar problems:
- You aren't making any money (or enough);
- You're not getting enough leads;
- You're wasting too much time on paperwork instead of prospecting;
- You feel like giving up because things are getting worse instead of better.
But all that's about to change...
Because this is the most important article on selling insurance, you will ever read.
Before I reveal the step-by-step process, here's an interesting story:
Recently I met the president of a media company. A big name, blue-chip company. And the best part? He was all game.
I went home feeling good about the connection.
And then I forgot about him. I forgot to call him!
So what happened? Why did I forget?
You see, I seem to have more clients than time in the day. But that's a good problem to have, in any case. Right? You bet!
How did I do it? Well, let me tell you…
The key is to keep it simple. All you have to do is follow a 4 step process to ensure your continued success in the future.
It's a method that is universally applicable. No matter what the conditions, whether booming or declining, the one underlying success factor is mastering the four pillars of the sales cycle.
"What's this one approach that can take me from selling nada to making a ton of sales as an Insurance Agent?" I hear you!
Introducing The Taylor Method: A Proven Sales System For Insurance Agents
The Taylor Method is a system for consistent success in your insurance and financial services practice, and tens of thousands of agents have proven it over the last decade.
It is a step-by-step process that creates a predictable and systematic way to talk to your prospects, qualify their interest, get commitments, and ultimately seal the deal. It's simple yet effective and works like clockwork when followed correctly.
What Makes The Taylor Method Extremely Effective?
There are five main reasons:
- It was created by a financial advisor who has been successfully selling insurance and financial services products for over 20 years. As a result, the creator designed the program from the perspective of someone who understands what works. So instead of being told how you should sell insurance - which often sounds good but isn't very practical in real life - you’re shown how to focus on the problems insurance solves.
- It teaches you how to create an environment where your prospect will trust you enough to share their biggest concerns - which means they will permit you to help them solve those problems by buying insurance from you.
- Its charm is simplicity. It's simple enough that anyone can learn and apply it right away - even if you don't have much experience selling insurance (or any kind of products). But it's also sophisticated enough that once you've learned it, you'll be able to use these skills repeatedly.
- There's a product for every level of experience: From zero experience to experienced advisors who have been selling insurance for years with varying degrees of success, the Taylor Method has something for everyone!
- It works every time - If you follow the steps, consider yourself booked for success. There will be no more guessing or wondering if what you're doing is right or wrong - just follow the steps in order and watch your sales soar!
In the end, it all adds up.
The Taylor Method allows you to:
- 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.
The 4-Step Process To Selling Insurance
If you're reading this, I'm willing to bet you're one of the smart ones. You see, making money selling insurance doesn't have to be difficult. It's a craft that can be learned, practiced, and perfected.
Here's how it works:
The Taylor Method breaks down the sales cycle into four simple parts. Each of these pillars is vital to becoming a master at selling insurance and other financial services solutions.
I will break down each step of the sales cycle so you can see how they work together and why they're so important
The "Approach" solves one main problem: finding new prospects.
It answers the questions: What do I say? How do I get in front of people?
This is where many people go wrong when they try to sell insurance. They don't understand that you can't just go up to someone and say, "Hey, I sell insurance. Do you need insurance?"
The Approach is about getting your foot in the door and booking appointments.
Your approach may vary depending on your market – but there are five main strategies to employ:
Remember when your mom called her friend because she needed recommendations for car insurance? That's most likely how she made her purchase decision!
And it's how most people get their insurance.
The best way to find new customers is through referrals from existing clients or past colleagues.
Reach out to current clients and ask them for referrals. Through all my years of coaching other advisors, I am always shocked at how many mentees don’t ask for referrals! Closed mouths don’t get fed. That's right - if you're not asking for referrals, no one will give them to you!
Here's the trick:
The traditional method of asking for referrals: "Hey, I'm looking for a new client who needs life insurance - would you mind introducing me to your friends and family?."
This is a terrible way to get referrals.
Because they will only introduce you to people within their social circle, you'll be limited in how much money you can make!
For instance, if your client makes $40k/year, the only people they will introduce you to will be those who make $40k or less. You want more than that!
That's why I use the "prospect up" method instead.
It allows me to reach out to people who make far more than my current clients. And it is the best approach to developing significant cases of high-net-worth individuals.
By simply asking, "Who do you look up to for their financial accomplishments"?
If you ask the fry cook at McDonald's for a referral straight away, who do you think he will refer you to? The guy flipping burgers. And that means, at best, you'll be writing another $50 a month policy with that referral.
But when you ask, "Who do you look up to for their financial accomplishments?" Chances are he's going to say the shift manager. Next thing you know, I'm writing a $100 a month policy. Do that continuously, and before long, you'll be writing $200,000 annuals on a yacht at a charity event (True story).
Networking is another way to find new prospects by building relationships with other professionals in your area or industry who can refer potential leads to you and share best practices and strategies that may benefit both parties down the road (hopefully).
To be an effective networker, you must genuinely engage people and create value for your practice.You also need to be able to empathize with them, even if their situation is different from yours. The last thing you want to do is appear fake or insincere. It will only turn off potential prospects and centers of influence alike.
Don't be the person who goes to a meetup with their business cards already in hand, ready to hand them out at the slightest provocation.
Instead, be kind. Be helpful. Be memorable. Do those things, and you'll be the guy people want to work with.
Remember, givers get! If you focus on how you can help them in their business, you will be in a class of one at your next networking event.
Centers Of Influence
The idea is simple: refer your clients to another professional in a closely related field, e.g., a CPA. The key here is to live by the mantra “Givers Get.”. Your goal should not be about getting as many leads as possible but about building strong relationships with other professionals who will serve your clients well. Give without expectations, and see how that comes back to you tenfold.
If you're selling insurance and other financial services solutions, you need to be observant when prospecting. If you're not an observant person, there's no way that you can spot prospects. And if it's hard to prospect, it'll be hard to sell intangible goods like insurance, annuities, and investments.
The mistake people often make is thinking they're not working unless they're in the office and/or wearing professional attire. They forget that building relationships with people is a form of work.
To reiterate, I'll relate a personal story:
Every Saturday morning, I would take my daughters to the park. Now, I live in an affluent neighborhood, so generally speaking, if someone else has their kids there at the park, there is a likelihood that they are well to do.
My oldest daughter became friends with one of the kids there, and I was able to connect with the parents by asking them about themselves.
“How long have you lived in the neighborhood?”
“Oh, you moved here for a job… what do you do?”
“Great, you’re new, why don’t you come to my kids' birthday party next month.”
These relationships happen organically for me, but I did identify, based on location, what they are wearing, what they drive, etc., that this is a successful person. And I want to always meet with successful people because they are the ones that need our help the most. When you establish the observation and start asking them questions, they will, invariably, ask you questions as well.
The rationale was simple:
My kids attend private school, and tuition is high, so those other parents could afford to pay a hefty premium.
Think about that for a minute: would I have gotten such an opportunity if I didn't notice that those other parents walked to the park? The answer is no.
Bonus: Cold Calling or Buying Leads
This method is the most traditional way to get clients, but it's also the least effective. You're essentially cold-calling and hoping someone will buy from you on the phone.
Cold calling is great for salespeople who have good phone skills and can handle rejection. However, most people don't like to get calls from salespeople, so they tend to hang up on you before you can even open your mouth.
The Fact Find
Here's the thing: Ensuring you deliver a solution that addresses the gaps in planning and meets the prospect’s desired objectives is vital. So, this step aims to help you understand your customer's needs, risk situation, and investment objectives.
The easiest way to go about it is to qualify prospects and close more policies by asking the right questions. And the experience should be as individualized as the people who buy them.
Here's a scenario you can relate to:
Imagine going to your doctor's office: "Doc, I'm sick."
And that doctor comes out and straight-up writes you a prescription. No questions asked—just a script for some pills.
That would be ridiculous.
Why? Because doctors don't just hand out prescriptions willy-nilly. They ask tons of questions first to determine what is wrong with their patients — what symptoms they have and how severe they are — before prescribing any medication. Doctors are trained to ask questions because the answers help them develop a solution tailored to your needs, not just any old solution that may work for someone else suffering from the same symptoms.
A good insurance agent does the same thing when finding out about their prospects' risk factors and everything relating to whether or not they need insurance coverage.
Ultimately, fact-finding boils down to asking questions - lots of them.
This is where we get into the nitty-gritty details:
Open-ended questions that elicit more than a yes or no response. Open-ended questions are much better than closed-ended ones because they allow you to probe for the information you may not have otherwise gotten. For example: "How do you feel about living in Arizona?" vs. "Do you like living in Arizona?"
Questions that allow for more than one answer (i.e., multiple-choice). It will enable you to get more information from clients without asking follow-up questions; it also helps us identify potential conflicts before closing a deal.
Pro Tip: Focus on solving problems, not selling products.
Let's just say this: help them bridge that gap between where they are today and where they want to be in the future.
Unfortunately, many advisors get fixated on selling products.
From where I see it, this should work to your benefit! Because it represents an opportunity to be different. To stand out. And generate more revenue than those who don't take the time to uncover their clients' goals and dreams first.
Invariably, your prospective client will appreciate that you took the time to understand their situation and made recommendations based on facts, not just sales pitches.
If you focus on selling products, you're missing out on the "why" behind what they want in life — which drives them to make a buying decision in the first place!
Now I know this article is aimed at selling a specific product, but the whole 4 step process, when followed correctly, actually helps you uncover all of the prospect’s deficiencies. In the process, you will sell a lot more insurance than you are today. You will also help them plan for retirement, save money on taxes, make sure their estate plan is set up properly, and that they have the best interest rate on their mortgage!
More on this in the next section…
If you want to sell insurance, it's super important to know how to spot the sale opportunities within the fact find; in fact, you probably already have a few right under your nose.
Sadly, many agents are blind to sales that are staring them in the face until it is too late.
Sure, some agents benefit from sheer luck. But if you want to crack the code to selling insurance by uncovering hidden opportunities, you need a step-by-step strategy for success. To lay it on the line for you, this is where the value of the Taylor Method is worth its weight in gold.
It is your job to understand why people are doing what they are and find ways to optimize it.
Here's what to do:
Use the information, facts, and objectives from the clients you uncovered during the fact-finding stage to discover the opportunity and close the sale.
Let me explain.
Suppose you can show clients how to increase their coverage, uncover vulnerabilities or inefficiencies in their existing portfolio, and help create financial security without spending more than they're currently paying. In that case, you will have a client for life.
Here's an example:
Say I had a client that wouldn't agree to a higher premium - they say, "I can give you $200 a month, but this $3000 you're talking about, no way."
So what do I do?
I discovered they got $60,000 in credit card debt from my due diligence. When I raised the issue with the client, she revealed that about 6-years ago, she ran it up and now pays like $2,000 a month on that.
But wait, there's more.
I also noticed that they had a home worth about $1 million and only owed $500,000 on that home.
Here's where I capitalized on my opportunity by tapping into my network.
I referred the client to a mortgage broker who can refinance that property and exchange $60,000 of credit card debt at 20% for $60,000 of mortgage debt at 4%, which is tax-deductible. Now she's trading a $2000 monthly payment for a $200 monthly payment; that's an $1800 a month difference.
I'll walk you through all the opportunities here:
I asked the client, "what if I could show you a way to get an extra $21,600 to put in a retirement account that will generate $100,000 of tax-free money for your retirement without you spending any more money than you're spending right now, would you do it?"
Once that debt is lowered, I can take the $1,800 (net after $200/mo mortgage) a month payment that used to go to mortgage interest and put it into a plan. Effectively, she's spending no more money than she was spending before, only that now she's got $1 million of coverage and $100,000 tax-free income coming to her in retirement.
The above example is how you create opportunities from seemingly nothing!
The Close, also known as the call-to-action - “what do you say to get people to write checks?"
The Close starts at the inception of the sales cycle. It begins when you meet with a prospect and build a relationship with them.
Because at the end of the day, what are clients buying?
Clients are "buying" us. They're buying their belief that you care about them, that you will protect them, and that you will be there for them.
"The Close" is the culmination of everything you've done up until this point. Your qualification questions (during the Fact find) should have allowed you to understand if this person has needs that your product or service can fulfill and how much they are willing to pay for it.
If you haven't qualified them suitably, there's no point in trying to close them on anything - because, at that point, you're just wasting both your time and theirs.
Here's what not to do:
Don't be like most advisors that will present multiple solutions to the client and hope that the client will select one.
If you've done an excellent job and followed The Taylor Method to this stage, you'll have just one or maybe two viable solutions tailored for them precisely according to their needs and wants - that way; you don't waste their time by giving them options that aren't relevant!
With that accomplished, it's not a matter of whether the client will buy; but how much and when.
Need-Based Sale Vs. Greed-Based Sale
In my opinion, a need-based sale is a one-appointment close.
To execute, ask these three questions of three people a day, and you will sell a policy daily.
The three questions:
Question number one: What would happen to your family if you didn't come home tomorrow?
Question number two: How does that make you feel?
Question three: How much money can you comfortably set aside each month to solve this problem?
You'll notice I didn't mention a carrier or a product. But I got to the core of the solution that life insurance provides for this person and their family, and I got a premium commitment.
My greed-based sale is a little bit more involved, but I love it because what it does is it sets the table high. I use this strategy to get people to give me $50,000-year premium commitments and apologize for giving me such little money. It's that powerful!
Here is how it works:
Ask your prospect how much income they need every year so that they feel comfortable when they retire?
Let's say they need $150,000 a year today to be comfortable.
Next, consider inflation.
Inflation is the increase in the general price level of goods and services over time. It's like a hidden tax that eats away at your money. For instance, if the inflation rate stays at 3% in 24 years, your money will be worth half what it is today.
Back to our example:
So, If your prospect wants to retire in 25 years and wants $150,000 in today's dollars, you'll have to double that - that equals $300,000 of income annually.
Now here is the deal:
If your client needs $300,000 a year, how much cash is required to reach that number?
Multiply the $300,000 by 20. And that is $6 million. Six million dollars is the target retirement savings goal.
Based on what company or carriers you work with, you can structure a product to create an income stream of $300,000 a year in 25 years.
Summary: Take the income they're telling you they want today, double it, and then multiply it by 20.
Here is why this approach is compelling:
Remember when I asked the client if they were to retire today, how much income would they want coming to them to be comfortable? They said $150,000. Did I say $150,000? No. The client did.
Then I just did the math and showed them how we can get to that number.
So, at the end of the day, they will either do what I say or contradict themselves.
Tips To Supercharge Your Success
Learn to Identify Whom You're Talking To Very Quickly
In this insurance selling trade, adapting like a chameleon is essential. No rules or regulations dictate what kind of person you must be or how you should act, so as long as your client feels comfortable with you, there's no reason why that can't be you. You need to be able to speak their language and understand exactly what they need from you. This tip will help you close many more deals faster!
Examples of some typical prospect personas and how to approach them:
The Boss - They're pretty easy to sell. Just make everything seem like it was their idea.
The Brain - They are the analytical ones. If you're dealing with an analytical person, you want to be conscious of the things you're putting in front of them because they will feel compelled to read them. You certainly want to provide ample disclosures and the like, but again for me, less is more.
The Feeler - You have to tug on their heartstrings.
The Drifter - Many people mistakenly think this person is the easiest one to sell to, but they're not - they're the hardest, in my opinion. When dealing with an amicable, invest much time to explain - make sure they understand the value proposition and why they're doing what they're doing.
Give Value, Be Helpful
Whether it be a networking function or talking to a prospect, always be giving value. You don't have to be selling all the time, but when you are in a position where you can help someone out, do so.
Volunteer at non-profit events, and you'll gain experience while giving back to your community. Again, being helpful is another way to create opportunities through networking!
Show empathy - Be the agent that cares about the customer's needs and wants beyond just collecting commission checks. Ask people about themselves. Offer to help them - like introducing them to an acquaintance of yours they'd like to meet or how you can help them to grow their business.
Remember, "Givers, get!" Therefore, pay forward with good deeds, and you'll be rewarded with more deals.
Book Appointments with Decision Makers
If you want to get more clients, you need to focus on getting in front of those who will influence the decisions. The decision-maker could be your prospect's spouse or the company's owner.
Booking appointments like this can take some time, but it's well worth it because it helps you avoid wasting time on people who don't have any power over whether or not you get business from them.
This frees up your time so you can focus on talking to people who have control over what happens next in your relationship with them (or at least influence those who do).
Invest In Building Lasting Relationships
The biggest thing you can do to supercharge your success is investing in building lasting relationships.
It's not just about getting more clients (although that's important, of course). It's about building the kind of relationship that will last forever. One where they trust you, value your advice, and know how much you care about them and their business.
You can create a community around your business. Create events that bring people together. For example, I teach yoga, and I’ll often do “Yoga in the Park” events to meet new people. It's fantastic when people feel like they're part of something bigger than just themselves!
Build Your Brand
One of the most important things you can do in business is to build your brand — no matter your industry or job function. It's critical because it helps grow people's trust in your work, reputation, and leadership abilities.
Seek a mentor who can help you get to where you want to be - someone who has done what you want to do and can give you invaluable advice on getting there. A mentor can help you navigate any challenges that come your way, as well as provide guidance and support along the way. The Taylor method is one of the best ways to have someone help you reach your goals.
As you can see, selling insurance is more than just a job. It's a way of life! Once you get started, the sky's the limit on where your career could take you. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and start making some money!