Why the heck aren’t you selling final expense insurance?
If you’re a talented sales person, you will find the final expense market one of the easiest to sell to. You’ll also find out that it’s probably the most service oriented sale in America. There are a lot of pro’s and cons in our industry. One thing for sure is it’s not difficult to learn how to sell final expense. The field underwriting is different from other insurance products but is easy to learn. As far as insurance industries, it’s probably the easiest to target, market, and sell to. If you’re not currently selling final expense insurance, you may be missing the boat. Trust me. We almost missed it. Had I only known then, what I know today!
As a licensed insurance agent, you’ve already heard a lot of buzz about selling final expense insurance. If you’re newly licensed, this article may be finding you at the right time. You see, there are plenty of reasons to have final expense products in your bag. We’re going to go over a lot of that. We’ll also touch on some of the pros and cons of the final expense industry. Final expense insurance is not something that every agent should lead with. It is however, something that every licensed agent should be prepared to sell. By not having final expense products in your portfolio, you will be leaving a lot of money on the table.
About Selling Final Expense Insurance
1. Our Prospects and Their Demographics
2. Selling in Rural vs Urban Areas
3. Building Rapport
4. Field Underwriting
5. Selling Final Expense With a POS Carrier
6. Making Your Presentation
7. Telephone Sales Vs Face to Face
8. Different Types of Leads
9. Selling Final Expense Insurance Without Leads
10. Door Knocking vs Setting Appointments
I love the people that we sell to
One of the rewarding things about selling final expense insurance is the people we sell to. You see, our prospects are often low or fixed income seniors that really need the insurance. They have not made their funeral preparations in the past. Some of them have had the insurance before but have had to drop it for various reasons. The main reason was affordability. You see, for most fixed income seniors, making a monthly premium for this insurance is a big sacrifice. It’s also a sacrifice that they are willing to make so that their family is not stuck having to flip the bill for the funeral. If you’re already selling final expense insurance, you’ve heard the stories. It’s very common for a church or family to go around with a collections box to cover the cost of the funeral. Then there’s the sales perspective!
In my experience, seniors are usually easier to work with. Especially fixed income seniors! Don’t take me wrong. Seniors can be guarded and often need a little extra patience and time. There is a criminal element that targets them. Therefore, it’s important to spend some time getting to know your prospects. Do a long warm up and talk about your family. Make sure to show them your insurance license and even your drivers license. Let them know why you are selling final expense insurance. There is nothing wrong with going the extra mile and pulling up your license on the state insurance website. We even have our own site to show our clients. They can see a photo of Mariana and I holding an award that we received from an insurance carriers. We show them our biography and that our agency has an A+ rating with the BBB.
Where do we find our prospects?
Our prospects are in 2 demographics. Selling final expense insurance to folks in an urban environment is probably the most popular. This is very common as a lot of licensed agents live in the city and are recruited to sell there. When local agents call me for help, I always ask them where they work. They usually tell me that they try to stay close to home. In many cities, this attitude is the kiss of death. All the highest producing agents in our industry travel as they know it’s the best way to see more prospects. Here’s my experience. Most agents that will only work locally, fail out of the industry. Agents that are willing to travel, are more likely to be successful at selling final expense insurance. If you are against traveling a few hours from home, this business may not be for you.
The second demographic is the rural areas and smaller towns. There are plenty of agents that stay away from the big cities. They will limit their prospecting to small towns and avoid targeting seniors that live in urban environments. You’ll hear different stories about statistics of Urban vs Rural sales. Personally, I have noticed that my rural sales tend to stay on the books better than the urban sales. The placement and persist-ency are better within the smaller cities than the larger urban metro’s. Just to be clear, this is no reason to avoid our urban market. Some of my favorite clients and best sales are from the city. These folks need the insurance and will make the sacrifice to keep it, just like anybody else. Here’s a tip for anyone selling final expense insurance. Never judge a book by its cover. You’ll be surprised with some of our clients.
Overcoming Demographic Issues
The problem with targeting the rural areas is that there just isn’t enough people to see. Driving from one town to the next between appointments is tiresome. It’s also something that I have accepted as an important part of the business. Let’s face it. Marketing to folks in the rural areas is difficult. People are spread out all over the place. This is totally different from our prospects. I can work a whole day in the city and see more people than when I work a day in the rural towns. Therefore, I like to target both. Mixing it up has been a key component to our success. Mariana will work leads in both rural and urban areas and have been doing this since day one. By working both environments we are able to get in front of more compatible prospects.
We’ve also learned to make different presentations based on the background, ethnicity, and race of different folks. In Florida we make presentation to a lot of folks who were born outside of the United States. I’m selling final expense insurance to all kinds of people. On a typical day, we present to people from Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Mexico. We also see a lot of snowbird converts from the Northeast. Then you have the Southerners! People that are raised in Puerto Rico treat funeral needs different than people from Georgia. We see objections from people based on how they perceive death and where they were born. The trick is to learn how to deal with each objection and overcome it in a way that makes sense to their background. Selling final expense insurance is easier when you know a little about the ethnicity and background of your prospect.
Thinking about selling final expense insurance? If so, you’ll need to sharpen up on your rapport building skills. Most sales are lost because there was not enough rapport between the prospect and the agent. Therefore, it’s important for you to learn how to build rapport and have a system for accomplishing this. When I was recruited into the life insurance industry, I didn’t know anything about rapport. My first trainer didn’t even teach me about rapport. We depended on our sales presentation to do that for us. And it worked! Selling final expense insurance is different. Our prospects are special and have had a lot of life experiences that have taught them to be cautious with sales people. They are told on a regular basis never to give out their social security number to anyone.
Here are a few canned ideas for building rapport. Use a flip book with photos of your family. Even better, add in photos of a deceased member of the family. Share a story of the family’s experience with burying that deceased love one and how having the insurance helped or would have made a difference. Create a personal commercial about yourself. Your personal commercial should be about how you got into the insurance business and how you like to help folks who need it the most. The personal commercial should be brief but informative. Remember, the idea is to share enough about yourself to get them to see that you are a good person. This is a great way of breaking down the wall that most people have up, when it comes to sales people.
Field Underwriting For Final Expense VS Other Life Insurance Products
Field underwriting can make or break anyone selling final expense insurance. The hardest part of our business is the field underwriting. Remember, this is a one call close. If you’re doing it right, you are not asking any medical questions until you are sitting down with your prospect. When I first was recruited and licensed to sell mortgage protection, we did things a lot different. We got all the medical information from the prospect while setting the appointment hence, we could prepare the product and prices before going to the appointment. While selling final expense insurance, we are flying by the seat of our pants. I remember how difficult it was to make the switch. This is why we prepare our agents with field underwriting training and cheat sheets. It’s nice that they can always call their manager for an underwriting assessment while in the house with the client.
Here’s a few tips on field underwriting while selling final expense. Use a medical questionnaire and have a good cheat sheet ready. Make sure you know every medication that the prospect has taken over the past 2 years. This means looking up each medication and using google if necessary! Final expense carriers either have a medication knock out list or a medication guide. Use these guides as each carrier product has a different view of treatment vs maintenance. It’s important to know what your prospect is taking each pill for. Never just take the prospect’s word for it. Remember, they are seniors and will not know exactly what each pill is for. Find out each medication’s original prescription date. Some medications are considered maintenance after the prospect takes if for 2 years therefore, can be considered a non issue even if they are on a blood thinner or nitroglycerin.
What is the best way to keep from going back and forth to my clients house?
Lead with a point of sale carrier. There are several products that you can lead with while selling final expense. Since field underwriting is very important and difficult to learn, I suggest using a carrier that has a phone interview. Just make sure to do the interview while you’re with your client. You will want to know if they are approved as applied for, before leaving their home. If you leave their house and let the carrier call them, you’ll most likely lose that sale. Trust me, I had to find out the hard way. The carrier will call them at an inconvenient time and the caller might not be very patient with your senior client. I recommend and train our agents to use specific carriers based on their skill level and the state that they work.
Some carriers have E-Applications. You can pull out your Ipad or Tablet, thus finding out an immediate underwriting decision. When these products first came out, I was skeptical. They were originally hit and miss with the immediate answer, but have gotten better over the years. Today, most of them work just fine and are as dependable as a point of sale phone interview. It’s interesting how far the technology has come for agents selling final expense. The main purpose of using a POS interview or E-App is to eliminate agent mistakes and saving time. Knowing the underwriting results before leaving the clients house has a lot of value. It saves you from having to go back and get signatures and from having to go back to re-sell them on a different product.
3 Things Needed in Your Presentation
There are 3 things that we want to accomplish in every presentation. Selling final expense insurance is easier when you apply these principles. The first thing that I like to do is find the need for the insurance. It’s important to get your prospect on the right page, from the start. I use the “3 Reasons” opening to accomplish this. If the prospect has no need for the insurance, I want to see why they filled out the lead card or why they let me speak with them about final expense life insurance. Sometimes they don’t really have the need but are interested in adding to their coverage. I have also had people buy, just because they can. Yes, people will buy from you just because they like you. Selling final expense insurance can be this easy, but not usually.
The second thing Mariana and I do in our presentation is separate ourselves from other insurance agents. We design our presentation around being brokers. When I walk into my prospect’s house with my sales book, they know I have a lot of stuff. During our presentation we let them know that we don’t work for an expensive carrier. We also let them know that we don’t have to push specific products based on our commission levels. Here’s one of the things I say during the presentation. “Mrs. Jones, by the time we’re finished today, no one else will be able to come through your front door and give you a better deal on your whole life insurance”. I know this can be taken in different ways as some people may think a 10 pay is better than a regular whole life policy, etc. You get the idea, though!
Field Underwriting and Closing Sales
Yes, the third thing is a 2 in 1 deal. Field underwriting for the best product/coverage and being able to close the sales can make or break an independent agent selling final expense. You should be thorough with your field underwriting because if you miss one little medication, it can cost you your sale. Nobody likes to be shown a price only to have the agent come back and show them a higher price. Once you have done the field underwriting, it’s time to find the best product. This is when I explain the difference of what I am showing them to what they are seeing on television or getting in the mail. Yes, this also adds to how I separate myself from other insurance agents. Pull out a laminated version of the Guarantees of Whole Life Insurance as seen below. Read it line by line to your prospect.
While selling final expense insurance, show 5 options and always make sure to be prepared to drop the price if needed. I would rather do a price drop close than show a bottom option that is stupid cheap. Make sure you have your close down, and are ready to overcome simple objections. Having the ability to overcome objections is what separates us closers, from the typical insurance agent. I like the give and take of having to overcome silly objections. Most insurance agents are not prepared for objections and tend to “wing it”. This is a great way to lose easy sales. Here’s an easy way to overcome objections. First, address the objection in a “matter of fact” way. Then remind the prospect of the need for the insurance. Talk about the beneficiary and what they will be going through when the prospect dies. Then do a price drop close!
Selling Final Expense Insurance Over the Phone
There are a lot of insurance marketing organizations that advertise selling final expense over the phone. It is my opinion that this is not a very viable option, unless you are working out of a call center. Buying leads or working a dialer from home is very difficult and there will be persistency and placement issues. I’m not saying that it can’t be done. Face to face is just a lot easier. You also need to have a very strong presentation and be willing to spend a lot of time working from home. Distractions are sales killers. Don’t take me wrong! If you have a prospect that is interested in buying final expense that is not local to you, do a final expense telesales. Here are my favorite products for selling final expense over the phone.
Liberty Bankers Life
Royal Neighbors of America
American Amicable/Pioneer American
For telephone sales, selling final expense out of a call center is a better option for most. I like the idea of working with a group of agents who all have the same goal thus, have a lot in common. The synergy is contagious in these call centers therefore, motivation levels stay high. You share your wins and losses as a team and most of all, get hands on training. In most cases, you get to learn on someone else’s dime. There is always going to be a give and take. Just make sure to read anything you sign. A lot of final expense IMO’s that specialize in telephone sales will have you sign a non-compete agreement. These agreements can often be the kiss of death for someone that is successful at selling final expense over the phone.
Final Expense Leads are Easy To Obtain
A good reason for selling final expense insurance, is the availability of leads. There are many ways to get in front of new prospects daily, hence, make a lot of sales. I have sold final expense using avatar leads, internet leads, Facebook leads, television leads, direct mail leads, and telemarketing leads. The lead costs can vary from a few dollars to over $40 each. Just make sure that you have access to multiple lead sources if you have decided to be a captive agent. There is nothing worse than signing up with a company that doesn’t even have decent lead programs. These companies were the norm back in the day. Modern final expense IMO’s are a lot different. Their agents have access to all the leads that I mentioned above. Remember, leads are the lifeline of our business, therefore multiple lead sources are critical for access to different prospects.
Direct mail is the primary lead source for most successful agents selling final expense. At least for face to face sales! These tend to be the most expensive and cost around $30-$40 each. Television leads are the best for targeting our prospects across state lines and are perfect for telephone sales. They tend to be pricey too. Telemarketing leads are often easily affordable. You can find them for $15-$20 each. We have high quality telemarketing leads for our agents. These cos as little as $9 each. Data is limited with TM’s, so try not to use it as a primary lead. If you do, you’ll be doing a lot of driving! Facebook leads go for $20-$30 each. If you have your own landing page, you can set up your own Facebook campaigns. By doing this, you will be able to generate leads for as low as $5 each.
Prospecting Without Money for Leads
Another great reason to start selling final expense is the up-front costs. If you’ve found yourself licensed without a dime to your name, you can always go out and knock on doors. My suggestion would be to get a targeted list from an approved list vendor that can help you target the right demographics. Most of the people we target are on a fixed income thus, live check to check. You can ask the list vendor to give you a door knocking list. They can email it to you, set up by address. I suggest targeting 50-80-year old seniors with a household income of 0-$45,000 a year. The list will have their name on it, so you can literally walk up and down each street, in order of address. Since these folks get a lot of direct mail leads, it’s easy to pivot to the script below!
Selling Final Expense in Our Market Tends To Be Easier Than Most
Fixed income seniors are a great market to sell to. Here’s 3 reasons why!
- In most cases, they are easier to speak with than your typical working class or “Middle America” market.
- They often have more free time on their hands than they know what to do with.
- A lot of these folks are lonely, hence, would love for you to stop in and speak with them.
This makes our market a “target rich” environment. There are times when I will come out of an appointment and see some folks hanging out underneath a tree or on their porch or patio. They’re totally approachable. When you work around low-income housing, sales opportunities are all over the place. I’ve had people say to me, “are you the insurance man?” when I come out of their neighbor’s apartment. Yes, I have made sales from them approaching me.
Here’s something to think about for anyone selling final expense insurance. Our fixed income seniors are easier to set appointments with than middle age folks! If you’re new, I recommend door knocking your leads until you are comfortable calling to set appointments. Become a master at door knocking. Then start calling your leads to set appointments. If the lead doesn’t want to take the appointment, wait a few weeks and door knock it. You’ll find that people are different in person than they are on the phone. We also know that anyone can have a bad day. If you catch someone on the phone that is moody, they might be nice in person. Some folks just need an extra nudge. Feel free to use the appointment setting scrip that we use, below. This is the exact script that I use while setting my own appointments.
The Bottom Line For Selling Final Expense
Cross selling is important and easy
Selling final expense over the phone can work for some situations
Final expense leads are easy to get
Our prospects are easy to sell as they need this product
Selling final expense insurance is doable without money for leads
Do your due-diligence and decide if you should start as a captive agent or as an independent. The only reason to be captive is to get hands on, face to face training in addition to discounted leads. If you have already sold life insurance products, you don’t need to start as a captive. Give us a call at 888-501-1375 or hit us up on our contacts page. I will be more than happy to go over our first year commission levels, intensive online training program, and our multiple lead programs. Selling final expense insurance is a lot easier than you may think. We don’t make you give up a lot of points for our training, hence, your chances for success are high with us. Are you a talented closer with experience selling life insurance products? If so, this might actually be the easiest move you’ll ever make.