Within 10 years, all of the nation’s 74 million Baby Boomers will be 65 or older. The most senior among them will be on the cusp of 85. Even sooner, by 2025, the number of seniors (65 million) is expected to surpass that of children age 13 and under (58 million) for the first time, according to Census Bureau projections. What lies ahead in the 2020s, as society copes with this unprecedented demographic shift? A crisis of care. Never have so many people lived so long, entering the furthest reaches of old age and becoming at risk of illness, frailty, disability, cognitive decline and the need for personal assistance. Living better, longer. Could extending “healthspan” – the time during which older adults are healthy and able to function independently – ease some of these pressures? Working longer. How will economically vulnerable seniors survive? Many will see no choice but to try to work past age 65, not necessarily because they prefer to, but because they need to.
Insurance marketing and sales aren’t easy, even under the very best of circumstances, and there are things you do that make sales and marketing much more challenging without intending to. Here are 9 enormous mistakes sales agents and insurance marketers make … and their root causes:
1: Thou Shalt Get It Done First Thing: Prospecting is often the least desirable activity on your daily plan. Get it out of the way first thing in the morning. You’re fresh; the people you call or message on LinkedIn are fresh. Nothing yet’s happened to ruin someone’s day.
2: Thou Shalt Follow Through: You get a lead. Someone sounds interested. Respond immediately. I’ve found messages sent on LinkedIn tend to get lost or overlooked if you don’t jump on them immediately. Get it done now.
3: Thou Shalt Remember New Clients are Paramount: Client service is important. Paperwork is important. You’re paid primarily to find new clients and bring in more assets. If you’re great at prospecting and lousy at paperwork, your supervisors will soon figure that out. If you’re lousy at prospecting and great at paperwork, you may not be cut out for this job.
4: Thou Shalt Treat Every Call or Conversation as a New Opportunity: You’re a smiling-and-dialing machine: you call other professionals, and you do so early in the day or during the slowest time of day. But you got hang-ups or “I’m not interested” on your first 9 calls. The outcome of the 10th call should never be influenced by the frustration of the first 9. That 10th call may be your initial contact with the person who becomes one of your best – and best-paying – clients.
5: Thou Shalt Be Persistent: Some agents and marketers start a prospecting strategy, get to a point when it‘s juuust about to bear fruit and think “This isn’t working.” So they drop it and begin another strategy, repeating – again – the entire process. They put a series of failed strategies into place instead of sticking with one and making adjustments as circumstances dictate. Persist.
6: Thou Shalt Neither Frown Nor Make Funny Faces: Smile when you’re working. Smile even when you’re on the telephone – it comes across in conversations. Really. If you act grumpy (I know it’s Monday morning), you probably sound grumpy on the other end of the line. Smile. It works.
7: Thou Shalt Not Do All The Talking: When you get a viable, interested prospect, you want to show her how smart you are. So you tell her all about what you can do for her – for her business and her commerce – before she even lets you know what she needs. Which prompts her to think: “How can this person address my needs if I’m not even asked what I want?” Learn to listen. Learn how to be an interested listener.
8: Thou Shalt Not Envy Your Coworkers: Some others on your team don’t prospect. Some seem to coast through life and business. Others talk about the Big Ticket they just wrote (or wrote 3 weeks ago). Don’t let them bring you down: although you work under the umbrella of AmeriLife, you’re functionally in business for yourself. Make your own way. Give it your best, don’t worry about the rest. Don’t give up for even one day; make today one of your best
9: Thou Shalt Not Be Too Proud to Ask for Help: If your prospecting strategy isn’t working, learn from someone who has cracked the Code. The folks in the office may be a little hesitant to reveal their secrets, but they’ll guide you in the best directions. And you can always solicit assistance from those you meet at conferences. And your manager is a great resource. Make The Ask.
10: Thou Shalt Not Be Too Cheap to Learn: You found someone in another office at the same point in his career as you. He’s doing well and said he found a coach and hired her. “I’m not spending my money on that,” you say. Hey: if you found a peer who paid for guidance and experience and tradecraft – and got his money’s worth – give it some consideration. Books, seminars, subscriptions, trainers … learning comes on many platforms.
Is what you’re doing this morning aligned with AmeriLife’s mission and your purpose? Is it something that moves you closer to the outcomes you need to achieve? Or is your morning something less? Is what you’re doing important? Is it something that matters? If what you’re doing wouldn’t matter were you not doing it, is it the best use of your time? When you complete what you’re doing this morning, will you be proud of having done so? Will you point to what you did as an outcome worthy of your time and effort? Will you one day wish you hadn’t spent time doing what you’re doing this morning because another, far better outcome should have been obtained? If you’re grateful for the time you have, you’ll see how that short time is, and you’ll use it to do what’s important.
How well your Senior Product clients live in retirement depends on two things: their income and the local cost of living. A new study ranking each state based on how many of its retirees meet a basic standard of living comes up with an interesting combination of places that are financially friendly – or not – to those 65+. Example: 31% of Mississippi’s retired single people and 24% of its retired couples fall into what the study calls the “gap” between being poor and having barely enough income to cover basic expenses, shows a 50-state analysis by the University of Massachusetts. A general way to think about the people inhabiting this gap is that, while they are above the poverty line, they are still financially insecure.
Retired Couples in the Gap Between Poor
and a Basic Standard of Living
Retirees in the gap as a share of total retired population
The heart of the analysis is an “elder index” specific to each state, which estimates the income necessary to cover essential living costs: rent, food, transportation, health care, a phone and household items. (Vacations, dining out and entertainment are not included in the estimates). Agents might find this information helpful when discussing insurance products and state-specific demographics and expenses.