Insurance for Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft tops its list of complaints by consumers nationwide. Policies to protect from this rapidly growing crime include internet technology, security analysis, and customer profile monitoring to identify and prevent identity theft and privacy breeches.

Statistics show that Americans are the most highly targeted for identity fraud, and in 2016, over 791 million identities were stolen. It is important to note that in 2018, identity fraud rates fell for the first time ever, thanks in large part to chip based debit/credit cards, and other insurance measures put in place by financial institutions.*

It’s important for agents to begin considering offering this vital protection to clients as more and more of our personal data moves to online formats.

A solid identity theft policy should provide the following services to ensure clients are safe from this time-consuming and costly experience:

  • Constant monitoring of personal information such as:
    • Bank accounts
    • Social Security Numbers
    • Credit Card Accounts
    • Driver’s Licenses
    • Email Addresses
    • Telephone Numbers
  • Vigilant monitoring of Internet and websites trolling for information
  • Assistance in documenting and reporting crime
  • Aid in recovery of funds/identity
  • Follow-up

How can clients obtain it?

You can offer clients several options if they wish to purchase identity theft protection. Some companies offer it as part of a homeowners policy, others offer it as a rider that can be purchased and added to the homeowners policy, or you can offer it through a standalone policy.

However it’s offered, this coverage can be an invaluable part of protecting your clients most valuable asset – their very identity.

https://www.comparitech.com/identity-theft-protection/identity-theft-statistics/

The Networking Web Works

As you go about your daily tasks of running your agency, is reaching out to clients who don’t have an immediate need on your list? It should be. Insurance Journal recently published its 101 Sales and Marketing Ideas for Agencies*, and our president and CMO offered the following tips:

  1. Don’t Pitch, Connect. If people don’t like you, they aren’t going to do business with you. Build relationships, be present and available, and follow through on commitments and promises. Show your value by being knowledgeable in your field and maintain your connection with clients well after the deal is closed. — Andrew Caldwell, President, Smart Choice
  2. W.O.M. Marketing Works. Customers buy based on recommendations from trusted sources. Ask your clients to recommend you to their friends and family or post a review online or on social media. The added bonus is that not only is Word of Mouth Marketing proven to be effective, but also it is free. — Jef Morgan, Chief Marketing Officer, Smart Choice

There is a common theme in these gentlemen’s advice about networking. Because you build great rapport with your clients, they then tell their friends about you. It’s no secret that the key to success in this business (in most businesses, really) is relationships. When you become a trusted partner for your clients, they become your best advertisements. It’s so easy to get stuck behind a computer screen or to be so busy that time gets away from you; however, make it a priority to make a client connection each day. You’ll be amazed at how the networking web works its magic on your behalf if you just put in a little effort. Reach out to one of your clients right now!

 

*https://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-coverstory/2019/08/19/536545.htm

RPS Examines the State of the Market

Risk Placement Services, Inc. took an in-depth look at the commerical trucking and property markets in its latest “The Navigator” newsletter.

Here is an excerpt:

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Commercial Auto
From a carrier perspective, the Commercial Auto market has been a losing game for the past seven years. Transportation has consistently underperformed the rest of the insurance market by 12 to 15 points, and 2010 was the last year Commercial Auto posted a combined ratio under 100%. The good news is that sophisticated carriers are leveraging data and predictive analytics to better refine risk selection for improved future results. Those carriers that are ahead in the technology process are starting to outperform the competition.

Read Full Article >

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Property

The 2nd quarter of 2019 has been a challenging market cycle. The best thing to do is have open and honest communication with your clients and carrier partners to manage expectations and make sure no one is surprised or caught off guard by the outcome of any deal. One thing this market does better than the others is weed out the good brokers from the bad, the good underwriters from the less savvy, and it allows those with a good handle on their business to rise to the top. RPS continues to be poised to serve our clients with some of the best brokers and underwriters around the country.

Read Full Article >

Agency Marketing Best Practices

Agency Marketing Best Practices
[From the 2019 Smart Choice Magazine, Issue IV]

By: Roger Gill, Virginia State Director

 

1 – Partner with an experienced insurance agency marketing firm.

Although larger insurance agencies may have the resources to hire a marketing director and to assign some marketing activities to staff members, the cost is usually much more and the results much less than engaging the services of a professional marketing agency with a team of experts and automated marketing software. The professional insurance agency marketing firm should also be able to utilize the marketing functions of the Agency’s Management System. EZLynx AMS has many built-in marketing functions that automates cross sells and prospecting with multiple auto-response communication channels–emails, SMS, phone messages, and hard mail.

To hire a quality marketing director with the education and experience to accomplish this feat would cost between $50,000 and $75,000 in salary. Additional staff marketing activities may add another $20,000 per year. This in-house route equates to $4,000-$6,000 per month and will not give you access to the multiple marketing professionals with specialized education and training in the many different marketing areas nor the high-tech marketing automation software that outsourcing does.

Therefore, the more technical and time-consuming Marketing Services should be out-sourced to the MARKETING PROs. Doing so will save lots of money and provide a more effective marketing plan and greater sales and profit results–with a higher ROI (return on investment).

2 – Create an Insurance Agency Marketing Plan

By definition, a marketing plan is a written document that spells out the company’s goals, objectives, strategies and tactics to grow revenue. A marketing plan is a dynamic document that defines the actions a business needs to take in order to achieve certain goals.

Proper planning is critical to the future of any business. The marketing plan is a road map that helps to ensure agency resources are used efficiently for the services needed to meet revenue goals and other objectives.

Once a custom, viable plan has been developed and implemented, it is imperative to track and collect data to measure an accurate Return On Investment (ROI); without the data, the effectiveness of each activity is nothing more than a guess. Using the data, the marketing activities can be tweaked for enhanced effectiveness.

Revisiting the marketing plan each quarter will also provide an opportunity to refine and adjust the activities. As the insurance industry evolves, so should your marketing components, tools, and processes. (See  http://www.mplans.com/)

3 – Develop Local Online Marketing Infrastructure
Building a solid online marketing infrastructure is imperative to the success of your online presence. Here we must take the time to strategically plan each level of the foundation so that the next level will be supported by the previous.

KEY COMPONENTS:

1. Marketing Website–Provides credibility, authority, trust, and for marketing content
2. Online Citation Accounts–Provides agency information on numerous websites
3. Social Media Accounts–Provides more credibility, authority, trust and for marketing content
4. Reviews/Testimonials Accounts–Most prospects read reviews and testimonials before buying.
5. Video Accounts–Provides credibility, authority, trust, and for Marketing Content
6. Facebook & LinkedIn Advertising Accounts–Provides lower cost leads
7. Marketing Data Monitoring–Provides the data to measure ROI

Online Insurance Agency Marketing

1. Create & Optimize Online Marketing Infrastructure
Ensure your website, online accounts for citations, content, and reviews are optimized and linked properly for building brand, authority, lead generation (search engine and social media marketing), top-of-mind awareness, and client centered relationships.
Resource: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

2. Design & Implement Content Marketing Campaigns
These are focused campaigns to market a specific product or service. The content is the most important component of all marketing plans and comes in several flavors: (1) Authority Insurance Product and Services Content — for Search & Social Media Marketing (2) Local Social, Non-Sales Content — to be part of and to engage with the community (3) Appropriate Personal Content to build a personal relationship with clients and community.

3. Design & Implement Direct Mail Campaigns via EDDM to complement the Online Content Campaigns.
Marketing flyers are created and distributed via bulk mail to residential mailboxes that compliment and support the online content marketing campaigns.

4. Design & Implement Social Media Marketing Campaigns
The various flavors of content are optimized and distributed to important social media channels–includes articles, videos, and audio files. The content is mostly Local Social, Non-Sales and Personal Content as mentioned in number 2 above.

5. Design and Implement Key Word Focused Communications Campaigns
Often defined as only email marketing campaigns, communications of all types may be used to cross sell and inform current clients and to sell to prospects who have opted in to a communication channel.

6. Design and Distribute Videos
Videos are a major component of the Content Marketing Campaigns–they too follow the flavors of content mentioned in number 2 above and for the same reasons.

7. Design and Implement continuous Referral Campaigns
Agency growth is heavily dependent on continuous referrals and lead generation. Referrals have a higher conversion rate than leads from non-referral sources.

8. Design and Implement Organic Search Marketing Campaigns
Organic Search Lead Generation is vitally important. Agency growth is heavily dependent on a continuous source of new leads.

9. Design and Implement Paid Ad Campaigns
Optimized Paid Ad campaigns are an important component of the Focused Key Word Campaigns. Facebook and LinkedIn ads are working now.

10. Design and Implement a monthly Agency Newsletter
A monthly newsletter is one of the best ways to communicate all of the content flavors. A main component to build relationships.

11. Join and participate in local associations (Home Builders, Realtors, etc…) and the local Chamber of Commerce.
Bring value by offering insurance and risk education.

12. Design and Implement Data Reports for Marketing Analysis
The collection and analysis of marketing services data is necessary to know what is working, what needs refining, and to determine the Return on Investment of each component.
Offline Insurance Agency Marketing Infrastructure
1. Media Ads
2. Flyers
3. Network Groups
4. Community Involvement
5. Clubs and Organizations
6. Event Marketing
7. Direct Mail via EDDM

 

For more information, contact Roger at rgill@smartchoiceagents.com or follow his blog.

From the Front Line: Smart Choice Magazine, Issue III

From the Front Line
[From the 2018 Smart Choice Magazine, Issue III]

By: Luke Royal, Indiana State Director

According to Pew Research center, anyone born between 1981 and 1996, who will be ages 22-37 in 2018, is considered a Millennial. As a millennial working in insurance, my age is actually something I avoid bringing up, like the plague. With all of the labels my generation has acquired, both good and bad, most millennials, including myself, actually don’t identify as one. After working with hundreds of agencies and dozens of carriers, one thing is for certain – I see a shortage of millennials sticking around in our industry. To help curve this trend, I would like to highlight some key moments that have helped shape my career, as examples of ways, together, we can support more millennials in this business.

Like many others, working in insurance wasn’t something I originally planned, but it has been a great decision for me. Starting a new career in the industry did allow me to create, let’s say, several “coachable” moments. It can be appealing to change gears and try something else before you have a book of renewals. A week without progress can be tough. Receiving a cancellation is tough as well, but something we all must go through. Fortunately, I have been blessed to have great encouragers and mentors along the way that have helped make those moments not as bad. If you notice hardship or not, it never hurts to inspire and encourage those around you. All of us can likely relate to a deal that fell through for reasons that may or may not have been our fault. Encouraging the millennials in our industry will help maintain their interest, boost their efforts, and ultimately add to your bottom line.

To help millennials be successful in our industry, I suggest you take the time to coach and invest in them. With the amount of change occurring and something new around every corner, it takes time to learn everything. Millennials can spend their life reading tutorials, blogs, articles and even magazines like this, but 90 percent of what I learned came from individuals who purposefully coached me and were available as open resources for when I had questions – so many questions.

One lesson that my generation could benefit from is consultative selling. How many agents do you know who sell solely based on price, and leave out the value they provide as their local expert? Millennials are accustomed to buying basically everything online, without any personal interaction, and as a result, carriers are progressively marketing their products as commodities. The need for a true insurance adviser is greater than ever, as a result, and all it takes is a little coaching to make a profound difference in the effectiveness of what you do.

Coaching a millennial to help them set their foundation in insurance is still separate from being a true mentor. Mentoring is a long-term commitment and encompasses a larger breadth of involvement. It’s not necessarily a monetary commitment as much as a time commitment. For example, a mentor helps elevate professionalism and character, while a coach equips someone for the task at hand. There is no shortage of exemplary character around and the best way to mentor is by holding yourself to a higher standard that others see. Being a sounding board of reason, sharing experiences, lessons, and communicating what has made a difference for your career, so that the next generation doesn’t fall into the same ruts, makes all the difference to someone new to the business. You can be a mentor to anyone, but a millennial in this industry might be the most in need of your time and expertise.

With the pressure of new technology and the shift in how consumers want to transact, we need millennials to help us stay relevant and to keep the local agency alive.  As a result, millennials that chose to make a career out of insurance have a great future ahead of them. But, they won’t be able to do it without your help. You can be instrumental in bringing new talent into the industry and perpetuating the role of an agent by being an encourager, a coach and a mentor. I believe it could be a mutually rewarding experience for every generation and age group in our industry.

Sources:

Defining generations: Where Millennials end and post-Millennials begin

Managing and Marketing to Millennials: Why It’s Worth Getting to Know Your Younger Customers and Employees

Managing and Marketing to Millennials: Why It’s Worth Getting to Know Your Younger Customers and Employees

By: Michael Miller, State Director Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa

Lazy. Narcissistic. Entitled. The way they’re often portrayed in the media, it’s no wonder that Millennials sometimes get a bad rap. And while there are of course individual exceptions, these broad generalizations about Millennials simply aren’t true. There’s a lot to like about the Millennial generation as customers and employees. Which is good, because they’re quickly dominating the marketplace and the workplace.

A Look at Millennials

A Millennial is one of 71 million individuals born between 1981 and 1996. Most Millennials are the children of Baby Boomers, and the Pew Research Center estimates Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers in population by 2019.

Millennials grew up using technology. The older ones remember a time when the internet didn’t exist; the younger ones don’t. Millennials came of age during the Great Recession and either experienced financial challenges themselves or watched their parents struggle (or both). Most who earned college degrees have student loan debt. All of these factors contribute to the way Millennials buy insurance and how they approach employment.

Selling to Millennials

Experts project Millennials will increase spending by 15 percent annually over the next few years, while Baby Boomers will increase spending by just 5 percent. This is a great opportunity for your agency if you know how to sell to the younger generation.

Make It Easy

Amazon invented one-click ordering for a reason, and it had nothing to do with Baby Boomers. Millennials value an efficient, streamlined buying process. That’s why your agency must have an online quoting system that makes it easy to shop for insurance without providing pages of information. It also pays to provide policy documents electronically. Make sure your carriers offer automatic withdrawal for payments, too.

Expand Communication Options

Millennials prefer to communicate via email, text, and social media and consider talking with people on the phone the nuclear option. So how do you build customer relationships with Millennials? Reach out over email or by text to set up in-person appointments. Have a presence on social media and interact with your customers there regularly.

Show Your Value

You know you face lots of competition online from the Geicos of our industry. Take a look through their websites and you’ll see how easy these companies make it to quote a policy and how little information they provide to buyers so they can make informed purchasing decisions. Millennials may buy online, but they also tend to do their research and read reviews. Make your website a resource for potential customers and ask your current customers to review your agency online. A few positive reviews can turn shopping Millennials into buyers.

Hiring Millennials

Yes, it’s possible to work with Millennials without them driving you crazy (at least most of the time). And with 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, you’ll need to work with Millennials to continue to grow your agency.

Take Advantage of Their Tech Skills

Does the idea of incorporating social media, texting, email, and online quoting into your agency fill you with dread? Then hire a Millennial! Millennials are digital natives, and communicating online comes naturally to most of them. Millennial producers and CSRs will be comfortable communicating over email and text. They may also be able to help you add valuable content to your website and interact with customers on social media platforms for you.

Understand What Motivates Them

Having grown up during the Great Recession, many Millennials are simultaneously seeking to make more money and wary of traditional retirement benefits. They saw these products fail their parents and are cautious about experiencing similar financial pain. Working at an insurance agency on commission may be the perfect set-up for self-motivated Millennials. But don’t rely on your 401(k) plan to attract and keep Millennial employees. Instead, show them how selling insurance helps them protect families and businesses (Millennials generally want to feel like their work is making a difference). Then, give them some flexibility in where and when they work. Many agency tasks can be performed remotely.

Remember That Everyone Wants to Hire Them

Millennials may work a little differently from Gen X and the Baby Boomers, but they still work hard, have expert tech skills, and bring energy and new ideas to their workplaces. This makes them highly attractive to employers. If your agency doesn’t hire the Millennial who walks through your door, your competitor might.

Soon, the Millennials will outnumber Baby Boomers. You fail to market to and hire the younger generation at our agency’s peril. With a little knowledge and some flexibility, you’ll find that marketing to and working with Millennials is easier than you think.

Smart Choice® Resources for Attracting Millennials

Smart Choice® offers several resources to help your agency attract Millennial buyers and employees, including:

  • Affordable, professionally designed websites with the Smart Choice® Web Builder
  • Deals on three online rating and agency management systems to streamline agency processes
  • Online CE training through CEAuthority for internet-savvy and time-conscious agents
  • Smart Start™ internal brokerages to help new producers learn the ropes
  • Express Markets™ to help your new agents earn 100 percent commissions with low or no production requirements

To Make The Sale, Leave

To Make the Sale, Leave

By: Josh Seibert, Sandler Training®
  

The STORY:

Nick was having trouble trying to close the prospect. Still never having attended any company sales training courses, he hit upon a solution to the problem. One of the most experienced salespeople was in the back, and Nick decided to go and ask his advice.

“If you could excuse me for one moment,” Nick said, “I just remembered that I have an important message for one of the other fellows who is in the back room . . . I forgot to give it to him earlier.”

“You are going to come back, aren’t you?” asked the prospect.

“Of course,” responded Nick, “why would you think I wouldn’t?”

“Oh, I know I’m a royal pain in the butt when it comes to making a decision about buying something,” responded the prospect. “Most of the time, the salespeople get tired of trying to convince me and wander away, and I never see them again.”

Nick wasn’t sure what to say. He really needed to get the experienced salesperson’s advice so he turned and headed toward the back room.

“Wait a minute,” said the prospect, “I don’t want you to leave. I’ll buy it.”

“You’re sure?” asked Nick, hoping he hadn’t said too much.

“Definitely. Wrap it up.”

When the customer is out the door, thought Nick, I’ll go back and ask the experienced salesperson what to do the next time this happens.

The RESULT:

Nick did something very important for the wrong reason. From the prospect’s point of view, which is the only one that counts in selling, Nick was getting up to leave, never to be seen again. Again, the prospect would be left standing alone, not having bought anything. This pressure on the prospect, which Nick applied without realizing it, was enough to make the prospect give up and buy. Unfortunately, if Nick does ask for advice, he’ll probably be told the wrong thing.

DISCUSSION:

Getting up and leaving a prospect is almost impossible for a salesperson to consider. Why would you ever want to give the impression that you are going to walk out the door?

The reason for getting up and leaving is to let the prospect know it is time to make a decision.

The pressure is now on the prospect where it belongs.

This is not a tactic that you want to try with every prospect you come across. But if you have reached the “end of your rope” with one, you have nothing to lose by trying. The worst that could happen is you won’t make the sale. But then, you had no chance anyway.

APPROACH:

There are many ways to get up and leave. One approach is to physically start to move away.

Another is to simply look at the prospect and say, “Off the record . . . I get the impression that you haven’t come to a decision. Let’s assume that you decide it’s over. You don’t buy. What happens now?”

This verbal getting up and leaving forces the prospect to see a future in which he does not have your product/service. If he is in enough pain to be seriously considering buying, then looking at a future without buying is more painful. The only catch to the verbal leaving is that you MUST wait for a response. Do not rescue him or physically leave him.

Do not change “What happens now?” to “What happens then?” The word “now” brings the future, without your product/service, into the present, and as a result, pressure to decide becomes overwhelming.

THOUGHT:

“Leaving” the prospect makes the prospect want to come to a decision.

 

Josh Seibert is the president of Training & Development Solutions, Inc., Sandler Training located in the Piedmont Triad.  He can be reached at 336-884-1348 or www.training.sandler.com

©Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

One Year Later: Progress and Potholes In Cyber Risk, The Most Dangerous Threat No One’s Talking About

One Year Later: Progress and Potholes in Cyber Risk, the Most Dangerous Threat No One’s Talking About
By: Michael Miller, State Director Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa

A year ago in this magazine, I introduced the most dangerous threat no one is talking about in the insurance industry—cybersecurity—and why that was great news for your business. For every four business owners who walk into your agency, three will not be protected against cybersecurity risks. It’s a staggering number, and one that gave you a valuable opportunity to help your clients.

Now, a year has passed, and I wanted to update you on the state of cybersecurity risks today and the progress—and potholes—our industry is making to help protect individuals and businesses.

Notable Cyber Risks in 2017

More data breaches occurred in the first half of 2017 than in all of 2016. Misconfigured security settings, out-of-date software, and lack of strategy on how to prevent and stop data breaches were largely to blame. Uber, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and Verizon all experienced cyber-attacks and data thefts, affecting millions of consumers.

But the largest breach of 2017 occurred at Equifax. In September 2017, Equifax announced 145.5 million consumers were affected by a data breach. That’s nearly half the US population’s sensitive information, including addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and credit card information. The breach was absolutely massive, and experts believe it will cost consumers and Equifax around $4 billion to ameliorate.

Progress and Potholes within the Insurance Industry

Fortunately, the insurance industry continues to develop products to protect consumers and businesses from cyber risk. More than 60 carriers now write monoline cybersecurity policies, with gross premiums into the billions of dollars. Popular carriers include many in the Smart Choice® program, such as Travelers, Burns & Wilcox, Liberty Mutual, CNA, and Crump. Experts at the NAIC believe the number of carriers who offer cyber risk policies and the types of liability those policies cover will increase over the next few years.

However, protecting against cyber risk with insurance is still relatively novel for consumers and businesses. Many continue to learn the hard way that their general liability policies don’t cover losses from a data breach, hack, or other cyber-attack. This puts businesses and consumers at risk of having sensitive information stolen, held ransom, or used against them. Businesses face their own set of cyber risks, from damaged reputations to loss of valuable assets such as customer lists and trade secrets.

What 2018 Has in Store for Cyber Risk

While cyber insurance and cybersecurity regulations will grow stronger and more numerous this year, so will the intensity and frequency of cyber attacks. Sophisticated attacks using artificial intelligence will be increasingly difficult to identify and prevent. Bad actors will continue to hijack consumer and business networks and hold them ransom. Cryptocurrency technologies will sustain attacks, too.

With these threats on the horizon, you can’t afford not to offer cyber insurance to your consumer and business clients. This year, learn about the cyber insurance policies your carriers offer and develop a plan on how to cross-sell them to your current commercial insurance clients. Once you have your pitch down, start promoting cyber insurance in every conversation you have with potential commercial insurance clients. Become the local resource on cyber risk and offer solutions that empower businesses to protect their own data and the personal information of their customers.

What Cyber Insurance Covers

Cyber insurance policies cover liability and property losses that occur when a business is hit with a cyber attack.

Coverage may include:

  • Business interruption from cyber attack
  • Computer fraud
  • Costs of credit monitoring, fines, and loss after a data breach
  • Cyber extortion
  • Data loss and destruction
  • Funds transfer loss
  • Liability from data breaches
  • Liability from web content
  • Notification costs in the event of a data breach

Sources:
Burns & Wilcox
CSO
NAIC
Property Casualty 360

Take Responsibility For Your Performance

Take Responsibility for Your Performance 

Josh Seibert, Sandler Training®

 The STORY:

Mark had been making a decent living for ten years as a salesperson. Always in the middle of the sales charts, Mark was comfortable with his selling skills. At least he was until taking his most recent sales position three months before. In his new position, he was at the bottom of the sales chart.

I don’t understand, thought Mark. I’m doing the same things here that I did in the other companies and I can’t get anywhere. Maybe it’s the quality of the prospects; they are pretty dismal.

No, he thought, they’re pathetic.

Particularly rankling was the situation with Susan. Hired on the same day as Mark, with six months of sales experience, she was consistently climbing up the sales chart. She probably does better because she’s a woman, he thought. The prospects aren’t expecting a woman, and that’s her edge. Yeah, that’s it.

Of course, he decided to himself, the other reason I’m not doing as well is because the territory

I’ve been given is mined out. Nobody could sell to these idiots.

Feeling somewhat better, Mark closed up his briefcase and decided to drop in at the mall.

Perhaps I need a new suit to bring my luck back.

On the way over to the mall he wondered for a moment if he should have signed up for the sales skills seminar the company was offering. No, he decided, that’s only for people who don’t know which end is up. The only salespeople there would be the newbies and the company brown noses.

 

The RESULT:

Mark is equating the length of his selling history with quality. In addition, he has convinced himself that his current situation is not his responsibility. Will a new suit help Mark?

 

DISCUSSION:

While Mark may seem to have an over- abundance of excuses for not performing well, it is not unusual to hear many of these same ones from the majority of salespeople. The common thread through all of these excuses is the total refusal to accept any responsibility for current performance.

“It’s not my fault I’m doing (fill-in one of the following: poorly, marginally, about average), it’s because of (fill-in anything that the salesperson has no control over).”

The number of years someone has spent in sales does not guarantee success today with a prospect who has just walked in. Success with a prospect is guaranteed when the salesperson accepts responsibility for performing in a professional manner. If the prospect buys, great.

If the prospect doesn’t buy but gives you five warm referrals, great.

 

APPROACH:

Ask a consistently successful salesperson, in any product area, what he attributes his success to, and you will hear many different things. The common thread will be, “I take complete responsibility for my success or failure in sales.”

Every salesperson knows he should have a positive mental outlook. The only problem with that phrase is that it is meaningless. But it sounds good.

Either a salesperson takes complete responsibility for his or her sales, or the sales will not be made. They will not be made because there is always an excuse for why not.

 

THOUGHT:

A salesperson’s sales are a result of his taking complete responsibility for performance.

 

 

Josh Seibert is the president of Training & Development Solutions, Inc., Sandler Training located in the Piedmont Triad.  He can be reached at 336-884-1348 or www.training.sandler.com

©Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Life In The Fast Lane

Life in the Fast Lane By: Pat Wedeking

Life insurance is important…we all know that.  Life insurance rates have gone down significantly over the past 10 years as people live longer…many of us know that. Now life insurance is easier to transact… I know some of us might even challenge that one.  This article seeks to update you on the latest advancements in life insurance underwriting and how Smart Choice® is embracing this change making life insurance easy.

Americans are dangerously underinsured when it comes to life insurance; the opportunity to do the right thing for your clients and earn a significant income doing so has never been greater than it is today.  One of the largest life insurance growth markets in the world is the U.S. middle market and companies across the globe are recognizing this and investing in the effort to deliver life insurance to the masses.  As a result, there is more competition and prices have come down consistently for a decade. Recently, more and more companies are introducing new, better ways to get life insurance in force quickly.

Accelerated Underwriting Programs are hitting the market in a big way right now with different carriers introducing their version of Accelerated Underwriting each month.  These programs rely on data to assess risk as opposed to what used to be invasive bodily fluid draws asking your clients to give blood and urine to a medical professional they’ve never met in order to determine the proper underwriting class.  “What kind of data?” you ask, the list includes driving records, prescription data, credit scores, lifestyle index scores and the life insurance industry’s centralized database they call the medical information bureau (MIB.)  Add it all up and many actuaries are saying this is an equivalent way of assessing risk.

What was a 6, 8 or 10-week process can now be done in a matter of moments. Policies that used to be issued quickly at rates that are 200% to 500% of fully underwritten rates are now being issued at the same lowest rates available.

This is an evolution – or a revolution – so still most policies are underwritten the “old way” but more and more we are seeing products and processes that accelerate the process.

One of the carriers on the Smart Choice Quick Life platform, for example, has eliminated the need for blood and urine for all cases with face amounts of $500,000 and under.   Another carrier on this platform is offering some applicants the chance at the best prices without blood and urine up to $1 million and still another is reviewing all cases that fit a certain profile and giving us pleasant surprises with “Issued as applied for, underwriting requirements waived” messages often within hours of submitting the case to underwriting.

Yet another carrier has gone one-step further… the furthest of any carrier in the market today.  This carrier is instantly issuing policies up to $1 Million in face amount for all applicants who fit a certain profile and where data is available for consideration.  These are policies are issued on the spot, delivered electronically, with electronic payment and at a price that is most competitive.

Smart Choice has embraced this evolution and offers access to instant coverage through the expansion of the Smart Start program that we call Smart Start Life.  This makes Smart Choice among the select few in the country to have access to this product.  In partnership with InsureNOW, part of the largest distributor of life insurance in the United States, this program is available to Smart Choice offices nationwide.

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How to Sell (More) Life Insurance:

  1. Create awareness that you offer this type of insurance. We call this one “State Farm Sells Life Insurance” because this company is one of the top sellers of life insurance in the country simply by letting it be known that life insurance is available to their policy holders. No commercials, no pushing or pressing, just awareness.  Let your clients know that you offer life insurance.  Ask us, we can help you with email signatures, announcement letters and emails and even a customer friendly shopping mechanism you can link from your website.

Life Happens Pro ( https://lifehappenspro.org/ ) offers a simple, cost effective way to leverage best-in-class life insurance marketing resources to drive business to you.

  1. The one sentence that works. “Life insurance rates have gone down. Part of our service is to see if we can save you money so I am going to have our life insurance expert give you a call. Okay?”     When you get a “yes” to that simply enter the name and contact information into the Smart Start Life online form and you will hear from our life insurance expert that will act on your behalf.  Wait for commissions to arrive.
  2. Offer a Policy Review. “When is the last time you reviewed your life insurance progam?”  is another great question to ask.  They either say “Recently” in which case you can ask if you can review to see that they got the best price available – or they say, “It’s been a while” to which you can respond with an offer to do it right away – or they say, “I don’t have life insurance” which is your queue to help that family.
  3. Ask all Business Owners about Life Insurance. What can be an emotional, slow decision for families becomes a simple economic decision for most business owners. Buy Sell agreements and Key Person policies are some of the easiest life insurance sales you will ever make.
  4. Use a Quick Entry Process. Make your life easier with a new breed of processes that take the processing burden off your task list.  Smart Choice Quick Life and Smart Start Life are two of the best available.

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Brief Bio

Pat Wedeking is the Founding President of the Life Insurance Direct Marketing Association (LIDMA.org) and the Chair of the Life Happens. He is the founder of two life insurance distribution companies and now operates Crump’s InsureNOW platform.  Pat lives in