Final Expense Insurance Sales – Is Your Up Line Picking Your Pocket?
Doing final expense insurance sales with an MLM will likely be a waste of time and money
The last thing you need, is to be recruited, only to realize later that you’re basically paying to work. Unfortunately, this can be the case if your commission level isn’t at a normal or reasonably fair percentage. It can also be the case if your recruiting other agents while you have no idea what you’re doing. You see, some insurance marketing organizations will cover their own butt by manipulating you into doing the recruiting for them. They’ll also have you on commission levels that are so low, that it’s almost impossible for you to be successful. You’ll likely fail, like most. Then, they take the down line agents that you recruited! This is typical for a lot of final expense insurance sales IMO’s and how they work. At least the ones that are all about multi level marketing so you better be careful.
This article will cover
How marketers justify low commissions
What options are available for agents
How multi level marketing makes no sense for most
Final expense insurance sales as a captive vs Independent
How to get higher commissions
How to get away from an unfair up line
You may not want to read this
First off, by writing this article, I’m going to get a lot of ridicule by exposing the unethical practices of some MLM based final expense sales agencies. A lot of the marketers that read this will want to discredit me for exposing them and their sub-par commission levels. Are you recruiting agents to commission levels below 100%? If so, you should be giving them something of value and not just the dream of being wealthy. When you market mortgage protection and final expense insurance sales by using a multi-level marketing to newly or unlicensed agents, you are doing those agents a terrible disservice. At least this is my personal opinion on the subject!
I believe that anyone interested in building their own agency should do it from the ground up. This is exactly how I did it and what we suggest. First off, learn the business as an agent. Get into final expense insurance sales with the intent on being a successful agent. Once you have accomplished that, then work on building your agency. Trust me, it will be a lot easier to recruit if you actually know what you’re doing. Agent’s will want to follow and learn from someone that knows their trade and can teach them how to make a good living. Lying and manipulation is not the way to go, yet this is the atmosphere that you might find yourself in, if you go to the wrong final expense sales agency.
Back in the day
My first contract was at a 60% commission level as a Hartford mortgage protection agent. 5 days a week I had to go into the office. All the agents had to pay $30 for a minimum of 10 leads a week. We were selling mortgage protection at the time. The product we sold was fully underwritten. It was also very competitive. I ended up being the top agent at the agency, and a top producer nationally. Unfortunately, I was only making around $50,000 a year. Mariana and I were pretty freaked out when we lost the lead program and product. We didn’t know what we were going to do. This was truly a dark time for us, however, it actually turned out to be a blessing.
Back then, Mariana and I were happy with making enough money to pay the bills. We worked hard and lived a very frugal lifestyle, only going out to dinner a few times a year. Vacation and travel wasn’t something that we could afford. Losing that lead program and product was terrifying. It was also the best thing that happened to us. We just didn’t realize it yet! I had no idea what final expense insurance sales was even about back then. Had we not lost the Hartford product, we might still be grinding it out, just trying to make ends meet. We probably would have never gotten into final expense insurance sales and would still be struggling.
Times have changed
During my time as a Hartford agent, I saw a lot of agents come and go. Most of them didn’t have the work ethic or the willingness to be successful, hence they wouldn’t do what it took to survive with that company. This is one of the main reasons that most insurance agency owners can easily justify giving agents starting commission levels around 40-50%. They figure the strong will survive and god will sort out the rest. This is a very old school mentality. Unfortunately, it’s how a lot of final expense and mortgage protection insurance marketing organizations still run their businesses. This is how it was when I was first licensed. Thankfully, I realized it was just wrong.
The question has been raised about these insurance marketing companies being unethical. Some of them start agents at super low commission levels. Even lower commission levels than where I started! Here’s the thing. There are plenty of IMO’s like ours, that do not start agents with commission levels under 100%. The fact is, any agent that goes shopping for contracts can find agencies that are willing to give them 100%, and even higher with some life insurance products. Let’s face it, every insurance marketing organization is different. Some are just more ethical than others and show it by how fair they are with their commission levels. Don’t take me wrong. I understand that there should be a give and take between training, commissions, and lead costs.
What’s going on today?
The final expense insurance sales industry has become very competitive, and the last thing that your manager wants you to do, is read this blog post. You see, many of the newer IMO’s are being fair and competitive. They treat their agents completely different from what the old school marketers are used to. There are still plenty of bad apples. These old school MLM companies are known for parading semi successful salesman in front of a group of starving agents, to motivate them to sell, while keeping the agents at sub-par commission levels. This accomplishes a few things for them and is a common practice for these pyramid organization.
For starters, it helps keep the troops in line. These groups will have their weekly or regular meetings. During the meeting, they have someone share their personal success. This person will exaggerate his experience about how they went from struggling to being successful. This creates interest and attracts potential recruits. You see, the group is more susceptible to brain washing, which is exactly what these companies want to do with their agents. And if the agents see “so called” successful people telling their stories on the stage, they are more likely to stick around longer! Here’s the problem. In most cases, the success stories are fluff and those agents are still struggling. They likely have seen signs of success but a lot of it is just nonsense.
Beware of multi level marketing schemes
In the final expense and mortgage protection industry, there are a lot of old school IMO’s that love to push multi-level marketing to recruit new agents. These companies constantly tell new agents to build a team and recruit agents, by dangling the carrot of getting rich someday. There is nothing wrong with building a team of insurance agents, if you’re a successful agent yourself because this does actually make sense. Sure, if you’re successful, then you have something to offer that others will want. The problem is, this is just not how these MLM companies think.
It is my opinion that you should run from any agency that tells you to go to their meetings and bring your friends and families. Why in the world would you want to bring your family into something that you are not even successful at? This may sound like a lot of nonsense to you and me but most IMO’s do insist that you fake it til you make it. In conclusion, by bringing on lots of people, the odds fall to the IMO’s favor that either you or someone you bring into the business will stick with that IMO. This is how they recruit and grow, even if it tears your family apart. Sadly, they take the focus away from final expense insurance sales and put it into MLM pyramid recruiting.
My first taste of final expense insurance sales
When I first got into final expense insurance sales, it was normal for the better insurance marketing organizations to offer 70% or 80% first year commissions, while making agents pay full price for leads. This is typical for a captive agency. In many cases the lead quality sucked and the training was non-existent. At least, this was my experience! I struggled for my first year while hopping from IMO to IMO because I just couldn’t make it under these circumstances. Even though the companies I first worked with were better than the MLM’s, it still wasn’t working. This is when I said, “screw this” and went out on my own. We were hopeful but really had no idea how things would turn out.
By becoming independent life insurance agents, Mariana and I could get higher commissions. We didn’t have to listen to training calls that were run by manipulating marketers and shady creeps. We had to figure things out on our own. It took a while to find decent lead sources, but once I did, the sales came and our finances changed drastically. We worked our butts off and did everything possible to be successful and learn the business. Our household income took off as I became one of the highest producing final expense agents in the country. In 2014 my total annualized premium was over $420,000. Trust me, we did not expect this. I believe that part of our success came because we were at a financial bottom and were desperate.
What we do for new agents
Once I became a successful independent final expense agent, we decided to incorporate United Final Expense Services. Since training was lacking in our industry, we concentrated there first. I had already worked out a deal with a national lead vendor. This made it possible for us to offer our agents affordable, fixed cost, direct mail leads. If you can’t afford direct mail leads we also have telemarketing and Facebook leads. We know that most of our competition is giving out low commission levels so by being fair, and giving out reasonable 100-120%, our agency did well immediately. FYI, do your research as there are plenty of fair organizations to work with. You just have to weed through the nonsense to find the few that make sense for your needs.
I bring up other agencies because we are not the only agency that has a combination of the right training, carriers, commission levels, and leads. Most IMO’s wouldn’t be caught dead making a statement like this because they all want you to think that their way is the only way. We know better and understand that we are not a good fit for everyone. We might not be a good fit for you. This is why there is nothing wrong with doing your due diligence. Research is easy to do now a days, as Google is just a keypad away. There are plenty of places to research IMO’s and find out who is a rip off and who is legitimate. I suggest doing lots of research before committing to any IMO. I also recommend that you actually commit 100% as you will likely fail, if you don’t.
What about training?
This is where we standout over the rest of the national final expense IMO’s. We put together a system that any agent with basic computer skills can use. Part of our training consists of 2 unique online programs that the agents can log into, at their convenience. One program teaches our presentation. The other teaches everything from setting up your home office, to getting referrals. Our training program also consists of weekly assignments designed to get you up and ready to sell, quickly. Our agents also have someone a mentor that they can always contact for support. We know that access to better training in addition to working with a trainer, can increase your chances for success.
UFES also has a huge library of training videos. We even decided to share some of our training videos on our YouTube channel, Final Expense Trainer. If you’re new to final expense insurance sales and in need of final expense training, just go there and watch the playlist called Basic Training. You’ll probably have access to more training on our free training channel, than you get from your current up line. I halfheartedly joke about this because we have had agents call us for our training. They’ll tell us they are happy where they are at, but are not getting sufficient final expense insurance sales training. No, this doesn’t make sense to me either, but this is what they say.
Here’s the bottom line
There are a lot of marketers who are giving sub-par commission levels as low as 40%. Some of them even have their agents paying full price for leads. Yes very unethical and totally uncool! These guys should be ashamed of themselves. Just because it’s a standard practice in the insurance industry, doesn’t make it alright for you to do. An average agent should be able to make a good living selling final expense and mortgage protection products. There is no reason for only the top 5% to make a decent living yet, this is how it is in the life insurance industry. In most cases, it all comes down to work ethic. But not always!
You should be getting 100% or higher if you’re paying full price for direct mail leads! If you’re not, there should be something else that you are getting. Some agencies have free lead programs. Others have discounted leads. Some IMO’s will start the agents out with free or discounted leads, and let the agents production earn higher commission levels. I see nothing wrong with this as long as the agent can actually work their way to over 100% within a few short months. The problem with most companies that offer this, is that they don’t want to give the higher commission levels when that time comes. They just hold hostages.
What should you do if you’re getting beat up with your commission levels?
Are you already making final expense insurance sales? What are your commission levels? Are you getting ripped off by your own manager? Are you getting value from your up line? Check out the first video linked below. In this video, I go over the best ways for you to get out of your contract so that you can be released to a better insurance marketing organization. If you would like to call or email me, please do so. We’ve got plenty of resources to help you. I will gladly give you some direction for a profitable career in final expense insurance sales.
Unlike these shady marketers, we don’t have to recruit everyone that can fog a mirror. Just don’t be surprised or disappointed if I direct you to one of our competitors as we tend to be a little picky about who we contract and work with! The last thing we want is to recommend you to work with us, while it makes sense for you to work with someone who is better suited for your financial situation. Final expense insurance sales is not for everyone but for the right agent, it can be extremely lucrative. For more advanced training, or if you would like to speak with one of our representatives, just email Doug at [email protected] We’ll be glad to answer your questions and go over our sales program.