10 steps to "bowling a strike" with online life sales
I started selling life insurance on the Internet in January of 2001. Direct marketing life insurance was a fairly new concept at that time, and over the years I’ve become a person people go to when they are trying to decide whether to go into this career. Someone once went so far as to ask me for 10 practical steps to establishing a successful Internet life insurance business. Ten steps. How does one convey the vision it takes to succeed, in 10 steps? How can the steps be practical without becoming drudgery?
I started subbing in a bowling league in 2005. Some simple tips offered by my teammates helped me discover the thrill of making strikes. Whether those 10 pins scatter like buckshot, or trickle down like dominoes, strikes make you feel great. I found myself excited to repeat the steps that enabled me to bowl strikes. And suddenly, my 10-pin/10-step analogy was born.
Making life insurance sales online feels at least as exciting as making strikes, and has the added bonus of making you money! Having a goal that rewards you emotionally is what will enable you to follow, with enthusiasm, these 10 steps to success. So here are 10 pins to get down to experience the thrilling achievement of consistently making "strikes" in the direct marketing life insurance business.
1) Understand the game. Selling insurance online is not the same as selling in an office. I have heard many traditional life insurance agents say that the hard part used to be getting someone in the door; the easy part was making the sale. The easy part of selling insurance online is getting the client "in the door;" the hard part is getting to the end of the process with a check in your pocket.
So what are online leads like? That can depend on how they came to you. If they were using a search engine that led them to a website where they filled out requests for a quote or application, they are most likely motivated to buy. They are already your customers, and you had best serve them efficiently and expediently, because they will go on to the next website, if you don't!
Perhaps your leads were prompted to request a quote as the result of reading or hearing an ad. Others are "incentive" leads, which means they've filled out a quote request form as a hoop to jump through in order to get some type of other reward. You may think that kind of lead is not serious, and some aren't. However, most are asked to give enough info that the truly uninterested ones will usually bow out before their form is submitted.
You've got to put yourself in their shoes to understand how to approach them. If you don't answer Internet life insurance leads promptly, they may get the feeling the ad or form was insignificant, and blow you off. Some will see the ad or form as a "nudge;" you'll want to assure them that you can easily help them get the coverage they have been putting off. Some incentive leads will hear you out because they know every prize has a price. They may be pleasantly surprised to find that they've received a good insurance price along with their other prize!
It takes some conversation to get to know your leads and to build their trust. But you also have to respect their time, because people go online to save time and fuss. Unless they have complicated needs, it's best to start by offering the simplest solutions possible. No matter how your leads came to you, they did ask. So you have every right and every chance in the world to make that sale. And you WILL make strikes with online life insurance leads.
2) Know the rules. You've got to have knowledge of all the products being offered at your fingertips to be successful in Internet life insurance sales. Leads often aren't willing to wait for answers, so you have to give them as much as you can on the first call. If you need to delay the quote due to needing medical records or having to first obtain a preliminary offer based on their health, it's important to explain that if anyone else is giving them a quote without that step, that quote will most likely be wrong and could end up with a blot on their MIB.
Ordinarily, you will find the best quotes for those with perfect health from about 3-5 competitive carriers (rated at least “A” by AM Best) that use traditional underwriting. Likewise, the best quotes for those with health problems will come from about three impaired risk carriers. You'll want to know which three No Exam life insurance carriers offer the best rates for those of good health, and about three No Exam life insurance options for those of poor health. Those choices will more than satisfactorily meet almost every need, and anyone can learn the underwriting guidelines, ratings, etc., of a dozen carriers. This also helps you approach your leads from a point of wisdom, building their trust in you and enabling you to serve them most responsibly.
Along with understanding the underwriting guidelines, you need to get familiar with how each carrier works; i.e. whether they require a preliminary offer, whether the app can be filled out online, etc. You also need to know what health conditions are best met by what carriers. This sounds like a lot, but within 6 months, you'll have it down. Knowing the rules of the direct marketing life insurance game will help you get many more strikes.
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