How to Start Selling Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 20, 2022

You know what they say: if you don't like sales and marketing, you're not cut out to be an insurance agent. Well, I'm here to tell you that's not totally true.

Sure, plenty of people don't want to be agents. They're not interested in sales or marketing, they're not confident enough to talk to strangers, and they don't want to work hard. And that's fine!

But if you're excited about helping people find the right insurance plan for their needs and seeing them happy because they feel like you've helped them out, this post is for you.

It doesn't matter if you're starting or have been in the industry for decades. This guide will give you everything you need to know about growing a relentless stream of prospects while at the same time creating a profitable business that serves its clients well so that they can feel great about their choice of insurance provider.

Hi! My name is Eszylfie Taylor. And you could say that I'm a bit of a go-getter.

I finished my career at New York Life as one of the top 50 agents in the country (out of 10,000+) and the top producing advisor in the history of the African American markets. In 2013, I started my own independent insurance and financial services practice. Since then, I have been a Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Top of the Table producer, which makes me a top 1% advisor worldwide.

I also sit on the board of several nonprofits, I run 6 different businesses, and I teach yoga every day. 

But here's what you want to know:

How did I make this happen? What can you do to grow your business like crazy too? Well, I'm glad you asked! Everything I learned is right here in this post. 

Before I delve into the nitty-gritty, here is something you should know:

An Industry on the Rebound

When COVID-19 struck the world in 2020, no one was prepared for the global economic downturn. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has noted several direct and indirect problems for insurance companies as a result of COVID-19—including a drop in equity prices, increased credit spreads, downgrades increase, plus a decrease in both short and long-term interest rates as well as health shocks (indirect problems) such as increased mortality and morbidity. In fact, premiums grew just 1.2% during the said period - a far cry from 4% growth year on year before the outbreak (McKinsey & Company).

But here's the thing: experts are more optimistic than ever about a recovery. 

After a tough 2020, when the industry was hit by a double whammy of the pandemic-induced recession and high claims costs, it's on the upswing again.

The top line is looking good!

In a Deloitte survey of insurance executives, the results were pretty positive.

The most common response was "More revenue." About 60% of respondents said revenue would go up, while only 16% thought it would go down.  

Comparing sectors, those who work in property and casualty (P&C) were a bit more optimistic than life and annuity (L&A) folks overall, with 66% expecting growth in P&C versus 57% expecting growth in L&A.

The growth of the insurance industry is due to some factors. 

For starters, as the economy improves, more people are buying cars, homes, and other products that require insurance. And the same principle applies to commercial businesses too. 

But there's another reason for the uptick in the sector: 

The industry has been forced to innovate. As regulations have tightened and technology has grown more advanced, insurers have had to find ways to keep up with changing conditions to keep their customers happy—which meant finding new ways to sell insurance policies.

For example, many companies now allow customers to buy policies online—which means they can reach a larger market than ever!

What's more?

People are more interested in buying life insurance than ever before.

We know this because of the latest  Insurance Barometer Study conducted by LIMRA and Life Happens, which surveyed over 3,000 American adults "who are financial decision-makers in their households."

And the results are pretty staggering: 36% of the respondents said they "plan to purchase life insurance within the next 12 months" – that's the highest intent-to-buy thus far since the study commenced. 

And even though it's pretty clear that Americans are more interested in insurance than ever before, there are still many people who don't have it. By the numbers, 102 million Americans are underinsured and uninsured - a mind-blowing 40% of the population.

On top of that, the lessons from the pandemic outbreak have made people more aware of how important it is to have insurance.

All of these mean that there's plenty of demand for insurance services and business opportunities for those who sell them. Going by the latest sigma study by The Swiss Re Institute, we're looking at an insurance demand that could shatter premium records.

The question then is, why are advisors struggling to crush it?

There are many reasons why insurance agents fail to make money. Next, we will explore some common causes and how you can fix these problems.

Challenges Faced by Insurance Agents and How You Can Overcome Them to Become Successful

The global insurance industry is a $5.3 trillion market, but most agents are not profitable.

Some grim statistics from The Bureau of Labour show that an alarming 66% of advisors don't make it past six months, and this can get as high as 90% within the first year and more than 95% by the fifth year

In perspective, large insurance companies (like New York Life) spend upwards of $250,000 per advisor in a 4-year program, but unfortunately, only 1 of 4 will make it. 

So what's going wrong? The answer is simple…

The approach to selling Is all wrong!

If you're an insurance advisor, you know there's a problem with how to sell insurance. 

You can feel it in your bones. You can see it in the eyes of your prospects. When you talk to them, they don't seem to get what you're saying, or they come back with lots of questions about what exactly you do and how it relates to their life.

And when it comes time to close… Well, something just doesn't click. Your prospects have a lot of objections and concerns, especially about fees and commissions. They just don't know how much money they need to make this work for them.

In the end, most prospects don't buy — and those who do so could eventually walk away.

Why is this happening? 

The reasons for this are simple:

3 Common Issues Preventing Advisors from Making Enough Money

  1. Lack of enough prospects in the pipeline (prospecting is the biggest issue by far).
  1. When they eventually find a prospect, they don't know what to say or don't have an air-tight process and language. You know the feeling. Fumbling through the fact-finding process, unable to show any confidence.
  1. Insurance agents sell their products before they understand the client's needs. It is a huge mistake. They lead with PRODUCT as opposed to "Solving Problems." When you "lead with a product," you're coming to the meeting to sell your firm's life insurance or annuity products. This approach will lead to more objections, and you'll have tunnel vision, often leaving money on the table because you didn't fact-find correctly. 

So, how do we fix this? Let me explain.

How You Get Your Clients to Buy Life Insurance 

An educated client makes the best financial decisions.

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let's get one thing straight: Selling insurance is not about "selling your product." It's about helping people—and that means understanding their needs. In other words: be a solutions finder, not a product seller.

So how do you do that?

The answer lies in language and process that focuses on the problem being solved. These strategies have helped myself and thousands of other advisors create breakthroughs in their practice.

What are these simple yet effective strategies? They are called "Need-based sale" and "Greed-based sale."

What is the Need-based Sale?

The need-based sale, or the “three-question close”, is a strategy that focuses on the customer's pain points, and as the name suggests, needs gap. It is based on the assumption that people are more likely to buy something when you have successfully identified the problem that it will solve for them first. This strategy attempts to tap into their emotions by offering them a solution to their problem. If you can understand what a person wants, needs, or fears, you can help them by providing what they need. 

Here’s how to use it:

Instead of telling a prospect they should get life insurance, get them to tell YOU they need it by asking them these three questions:

Question #1:
What would happen to your family if you didn't come home tomorrow?

Question #2:
How does that make you feel? [then be quiet and let them answer]

Question #3:
How much money can you comfortably set aside each month to solve this problem? 

You'll notice I haven't mentioned the name of an insurance product or carrier, but instead focused on getting my prospect to realize there is a problem and establish a dollar amount to solve that problem. 

It doesn’t matter what number they give you - you have a sale. This is what the need-based sale focuses on - helping customers realize the real world impact of having zero coverage, but without saying the words “life insurance”.

Greed-based Sale 

The greed-based sale is a little more involved, but once it is mastered, you will start to see the 5 and 6 figure premium deals come through.

The full details of how this strategy is used has to be taught, but here’s a glimpse of the concept.

The premise is that you are using permanent life insurance to help the client reach their desired annual income needs in retirement.

How do you sell life insurance for retirement planning?

You structure permanent life insurance in such a way that will help people get to their retirement goals and eliminate business risk, real estate risk, and stock market risk

Details like how much income they need and accounting for inflation are all important factors that need to be considered. By overfunding a contract without triggering a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), you can show your prospect how to reach their income goal. 

Full Disclosure: This strategy has brought in more money than anything else I've ever done on my own. But it takes practice, patience, and much education — this is where the Taylor Method shines through.

Final Thoughts

Though selling insurance can be arduous, the good news is that you don't have to do it alone. You can learn from the best in the industry and get a step ahead of your competition. Plus, if you do it right, you can make money doing what you love — helping people protect the things they care about most.

Are you curious about this method and how to implement it in your practice?