Selling Insurance Online – How to Bowl a Strike

In January 2001, I began selling life insurance online. Direct marketing life insurance was an entirely new concept back then. I am slowly becoming the person people turn to when trying to decide if they want to pursue this career. Someone recently asked me what the ten steps were to establish a successful online life insurance company. Ten steps. Ten steps. How can these steps be made practical and not become tedious?

In January 2005, I began to sub for a bowling league. My teammates gave me simple tips that helped me experience the joy of making strikes. Strikes make you feel great, regardless of whether those ten pins scatter like buckshot or trickle down like dominoes. I was excited to do the same steps that allowed me to bowl strikes. I was suddenly able to see the ten-pin/ten step analogy.

Online selling life insurance is as fun as making strikes. It also has the bonus of making money. You will be able to follow these ten steps with enthusiasm if you have a goal that you are emotionally motivated to achieve. Here are ten steps to follow to achieve the exciting achievement of making “strikes’ in direct marketing life insurance.

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1) Get to know the game. Selling insurance online is different from selling in an office. Many traditional life insurance agents used to say that getting people in the door was the hardest part. The easy part was closing the sale. Selling insurance online is easy. The hard part is closing the sale and getting clients “in the door”.

What are online leads? It all depends on how they got there. They are more likely to purchase if they found you via a search engine. You already have customers and they are likely to return to you for more.

Your leads might have been prompted to request a quotation after reading or hearing an advertisement. Some are “incentive” leads. This means that they have filled out a request for a quote form in order to receive some kind of reward. Some people may not think this type of lead is serious. Most people are required to provide enough information that those who aren’t interested will often give up before they submit their forms.

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To understand how to approach them, you need to place yourself in their shoes. You should respond to all inquiries promptly if you don’t. They may feel that the form or ad was insignificant and will blow you off. You might be seen as a “nudge”, and they may see your ad or form only as a way to get coverage. Because every prize comes with a price, some incentive leads may be open to hearing you. You might be surprised at the insurance price they receive along with their prize.

To build trust and get to know your leads, it takes some conversation. You must respect their time because many people use the internet to save money and time. It’s better to offer the simplest solution possible, unless they have complex needs. No matter how you came across your leads, they asked. You have every right to sell that product. You will make sales with online life insurance leads.

2) Be familiar with the rules. To be successful with internet life insurance sales, you need to know everything about the products available. Leads are not willing to wait to get answers so make sure you give as much information as possible on your first call. It’s important to tell leads that they can delay the quote if they need medical records or a preliminary offer on their health. If someone else gives them a quote, it will likely be incorrect and could result in a negative MIB.

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You will typically find the best rates for people in perfect health with about 3-5 competitors (rated at minimum A by AM Best) who use traditional underwriting. The best rates for people with medical problems will be provided by 3 or more impaired risk carriers. It is important to find out which 3 No Exam insurance carriers provide the highest rates for people in good health and which 3 No Exam options for people in poor health. These options will satisfy almost all needs. Anyone can find the ratings and underwriting guidelines. There are a dozen carriers. This will allow you to approach your leads with wisdom. It builds their trust and allows you to serve them responsibly.

Understanding the underwriting guidelines is important. You also need to be familiar with the workings of each carrier. If they require a preliminary quote, if the application can be completed online, and so on. It is also important to understand which carriers are most suitable for your health condition. Although this sounds daunting, it will be easy to master in 6 months. You will be able to get more hits by knowing the rules of direct marketing life insurance.

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Good equipment is essential. Bowlers who are good at their game know that they can get more hits with the right ball and shoes. A well-equipped office is crucial to generating sales. A small office can benefit from an all-in-one fax machine that includes fax, copier and scanner. With today’s internet apps, a phone headset is essential. While it’s great to have an additional color printer, a black laser printer is the best option. I won’t waste a single sheet of paper on a lead that’s not at least partially interested. It is important to have a computer and a way to organize leads. If your lead provider has software that can manage your leads, it’s a benefit. My Documents, an online planner, and/or Mail Merge are all options. You need a system to keep track of your leads. It takes many leads to make a lot of money.

For the applications you send by mail, I would print business cards and stationery. Also, to include with your policies. Your mail is your best chance to make an impression. Voice Mail is a feature that can be used on a phone. You should have a toll-free phone number and fax number. Adobe Acrobat Professional is required. It is a good idea to have an email address that can be used to identify you when you are insured. If possible, create a website. A good equipment is practical and identifies you professionally, which is an important part of making consistent strikes.

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4) Invest in your game. To get strikes you must go bowling. You also need to work leads in order to make sales. This means that you must set aside enough time and/or funds to work at most one lead per day. It may take up to 2 months for commissions to start coming in and 6 months for you to start seeing good statistics. You need to be able to track how much money you’re spending on each lead. If you can increase your lead volume and increase your application placement rates, you will be able to continuously increase your profits. This will also help you control your expenses.

After a while, most agents hire assistants because they realize that selling more is a way to make more money. Assistants make it easier to sell. It’s possible to get so busy selling that you no longer want to do anything else. You must be able follow up on leads, track your commissions and fix your computer. This is just the beginning. Keep your fingers on the other stuff but let someone else handle it. Then, you can aim for those strikes.

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5) Always start on the right foot. Bowlers differ on whether to approach the lane with the right or left foot. Internet life agents and bowlers also disagree about whether it is better to contact your leads by phone or email. However, if you send an introduction email to your leads immediately after they have been assigned to you by the internet life insurance agents, it is clear that a phone conversation is the best thing to do. Your leads expect a call and you can become a real person to them much quicker by calling than email. You can ask the right questions to get a quote and, in most cases, close the deal on your first call.

If the lead doesn’t respond to my calls within 24 hours, I send them an email. I tell them that I tried calling and that I would love to meet with them to get their thoughts and provide a quote. I will send them another email with a guess at the price based on what they have provided. This is the email that draws out leads. They will respond only to this email and will not respond to any subsequent emails.

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You might keep calling for longer than you should, as you may just keep missing people and finally catch them at their home. You should set a limit on how many messages you leave. Otherwise, they may consider your attempts to contact them harassment. It is best to get strikes by calling your leads within minutes of receiving their contact information.

6) Always aim from a good angle. If you aim at the strike pocket, you get a strike. There are many reasons that Internet leads can create that pocket. These are some:

A) Looking for life insurance at a fair price

b) They are looking for the best price.

c) Being unable to find life assurance elsewhere

d) Having experienced a life event that prompted them to consider life insurance

e) Wanting life insurance but not wanting to meet with an agent

f) Wanting life insurance but not looking for any hassle (e.g. exam)

g) Wondering if they are getting the best deal? Most people do this with Term and ignore their UL, which could be their greatest obstacle.

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h) Hopefully their spouse/parent/etc will accept their request

i) curiosity

How can you locate that pocket? If you approach them wrongly, they will quickly lose interest. I ask the person for their first name and introduce myself to them by my full name. I then tell them that I am responding for a quote on life insurance from our website. The introduction, which is done in a casual, friendly tone, almost always leads to a reply. That’s the goal of the first goal: to get them to respond.

If they respond with “I don’t remember filling it out”, I ask them if their pouse did it. Then, I give them some information about myself so that they can verify that someone knew them and filled out the form. Every response is a good sign! Any response can result in a sale. If they don’t respond, you can still thank them and move on to the next person who really wants your products and services. It is not a sin to answer their questions with the best possible product and service.

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After they have replied, you can start chatting with them. If they do not respond, I will say something like “I needed more information from you to find the best quotation.” I always start with something very basic. E.g. If they have checked for diabetes, I’ll tell them, “I see that you’ve marked that you have diabetes.” What age were you when that happened? I will continue to do that, remaining professional and trying to convey empathy through my voice until we have covered it (or until they stop talking about it… you can always return to it). If they don’t have any health issues, I will usually ask them how much insurance they want me to quote and then move on to the risk factors. You should be sensitive, respectful, and direct when guiding them to the information they need in order to correctly quote them. If the application is denied or contested, we do not do anyone a favor.

You will learn their strike pocket and make an appeal to them during that conversation. You might convince them to wait for a quote or to fill out an application right away online. It is possible to sell life insurance online directly to family members.

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I always tell them at the end of each call that I will send them an email with all of my contact information, even if they have just closed the sale.

7) Follow up. After you have received the application, you must submit it and follow the carrier’s guidelines to issue. Your brokerage may be of assistance in this. You must also guide your clients so they don’t get lost. To keep my clients informed about how things are, I send them emails every week with underwriting applications. Once you have learned about the requirements, you can use it to contact your clients and let them know that you are still in control of the situation (or to ask questions). You will strike when you follow through!

8) 9) 10 Don’t lose sight of taps. The most popular “taps” in bowling are the 8, 9 and 10 balls. Taps are pins that remain standing after you strike the strike pocket. You might not get affirmative responses from up to three out of ten direct marketing life insurance leads that you receive, if any. While you can pick them up, don’t lose heart. The strikes will fly if you get the first 7 pins/tips sold online.

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