How MGAs Can Help Their Agents Sell More
By Wilma Anderson

Many sales organizations are accustomed to giving their agents sales training and providing agents with leads. This is good, but it’s only a start.

Over the years, the industry has developed an infrastructure to train agents how to sell life insurance and financial products. Most agents can adeptly conduct a sales interview and overcome typical client objections. But when it comes to selling LTCI, most agents are more or less on their own. Plus, the nature of selling LTCI is very different than with most traditional insurance products.
Agents who persistently fail to sell LTCI will become discouraged. Just as destructive to their morale is when they make a sale, but fail to get the case through underwriting because the agent didn’t know how to health-qualify the prospect.

Sales organizations need to be aware of agents’ ambiguous attitudes and conflicts. On one hand, agents want to sell LTCI because of its attractive commissions. But many don’t quite believe in the product and don’t know how to make the face-to-face sale. And while selling to the 60-plus crowd is challenging enough, it can be even more difficult to sell to younger people and explain all the new options in plain English.

You can’t expect agents to know how to sell LTCI without someone showing them how to avoid the most common client objections that can derail the sale. If you really want to build up your LTCI sales production, then you need to give agents the proper tools to do their job.

Training options
By Karen Henderson

“We learn…. 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we say or write, 90% of what we teach.” — Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience, as revised by Bruce Ryland.

How do we learn? What training works?

In order to answer these questions, it helps to know about our own individual learning style. One way to determine a learning style is to know whether we are left or right brained. The neocortex, the thinking brain, consists of two parts – the left and right hemispheres. We each have both, but generally one is dominant. It is always dominant unless you have worked to develop the other side of the brain. It will always be the one you revert to under stress.

The left-brain is analytical, linear and factual. It deals with words as words, and tends to see the trees, not the forest. Left-brain individuals communicate and learn best by using logic, words and numbers.
The right-brain is holistic, sees patterns and is metaphorical and intuitive. It tends to see the forest and not the trees. Right-brained people tend to pay attention to the tone of the voice, the nuances and the nonverbal expressions rather than the actual words being spoken. They are creative and emotional.

Whether you are left or right-brained, the ideal method of client communication is whole brain communication, gained in part through an understanding of the concept of emotional intelligence. According to “in the business world, we’ve relied solely on the rational mind – measured in IQ – for its analytical and reasoning power. While the rational mind is important for business success, research shows that emotional, social and communication skills are what truly help individuals perform. It’s EQ – the emotional equivalent to IQ – that enables us to recognize and move toward opportunity and meet life’s challenges. Emotional intelligence is whole-brain thinking that determines if we make lemonade when life hands us lemons. It determines whether we live from our life’s passion or just pass the time away. And, it determines whether we work in harmony and collaboration or in discord and isolation.”

Along with the above each of us also has a preferred learning methodology. Research indicates that: 35% of people are mainly visual learners, 25% mainly auditory, and 40% mainly kinesthetic.

Visual learners process information through what they see. They think in pictures and have rich imaginations.

Auditory learners process information through what they hear. To them talking is a learning function. They enjoy listening, but also like to talk things through.

Kinesthetic learners process information by experiencing, doing and touching. They try things out, touch, feel and manipulate. They express their feelings physically. They like to move around and gesture when speaking, and may be poor listeners. They learn by role-playing.

Others prefer self-paced learning on demand.

Once you know how you learn best, you can choose the method that suits you:

  • Seminar with visual support
  • Individual coaching/role playing
  • Distance learning/independent study

Remember that your clients too have their own styles for learning and absorbing information. According to the Health Insurance Association of America:

  • 31 percent of LTCI buyers said they bought for logical reasons
  • 69 percent said they bought for emotional reasons

This indicates that the purchase of a living benefit product is primarily an emotional experience/buy; the more successful sales approach uses stories and relationships – right brain – more than statistics and logic – left-brain.