How to Sell Life & Health Insurance

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Life and health insurance sales can be one of the most challenging and rewarding careers available today. It offers unlimited earnings potential, including the possibility of residual income, since agents frequently get a share of policy renewal proceeds long after they sell the initial policy. However, selling insurance requires a great deal of time, work, dedication and a lot of rejection. As a result, a majority of new insurance agents fail within the first five years. Both life and health insurance are primarily sold by commissioned sales people, working independently or quasi-independently. Successful agents will be comfortable speaking with strangers and asking for their time and a chance to review their insurance needs.

  • Obtain an insurance license. You will need to enroll in a state-approved insurance licensing course, either in person or online, and take the state life insurance licensing examination. Expect to spend one to two weeks of intense studying, depending on your level of pre-existing knowledge.

  • Interview with one or more insurance carriers. You can choose to be a captive agent with one of the "career" companies, in which case you will primarily represent only one carrier, or you can be a broker representing a variety of carriers. Career companies frequently offer more training than broker agencies do, but your experience can vary widely depending on the specific office and manager. Look for an agency that offers training, mentoring by senior agents and a proven record of success in sales.

  • Get appointed. Each carrier you represent must formally appoint you to sell its insurance products in a given state. You can be appointed with many different carriers. Career agents may be appointed as a "captive" agent with one life insurance company for the first three years, but represent several health carriers, or vice versa.

  • Call or visit everyone you know and ask for the opportunity to review their insurance coverage.

  • Prospect every day. The willingness to prospect every day is the biggest determinant of success--especially for new agents with limited natural markets.

  • Qualify the prospect early. Establish by direct questioning that the prospect can afford the insurance and can medically qualify. If your client is uninsurable due to a medical condition, thank them for their time and go make another appointment. If they cannot afford coverage, you may check back later if their situation is temporary or delete their name from your follow-up list.

  • Establish the need. Ask, "If you die tonight, who needs money and how much?" Then wait for the client to answer. If you are selling health insurance, ask him, "If you have a $50,000 medical event and you need treatment, how will you raise the money?" Then wait for the client to answer.

  • Show a solution. Once you have established that the customer can qualify and needs the coverage, and you know his budget, show him the two or three best solutions that will solve his problem. Let the prospect choose which one he wants.

  • Close the sale. When the client picks a solution, reinforce the decision by saying, "I think that's a good choice. I just need a couple of signatures and a check for one month's premium to start. Can you spell the beneficiary's name for me?" If they start spelling the beneficiary's name, you have a customer.

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