Insurance sales is a tough business. Anyone who thinks otherwise has either never tried it or has received some sort of lucky break. Nevertheless, it can be a lucrative business if you have a strategy, the first of which is finding qualified prospects.
First, a couple of easy definitions: a prospect is anyone you happen to meet, from the person you happen to exchange eye contact with while pumping $4.00 a gallon gasoline or your family member at a weekend party. Without asking, you have no way of knowing if that person needs or wants some sort of insurance. However, unless that person just happens to have insurance on their mind at the time you ask, such casual prospects lead to very few sales. A qualified prospect, on the other hand, is a person who has a need and has expressed an interest.
How do you find such qualified prospects? People aren't exactly walking around broadcasting that they have been thinking about insurance. However, statistics tell us that people are most aware of the need and most likely to buy insurance when some life changing event has recently taken place. For example, you might try life insurance prospecting by reading your local obituary, hospital birth announcements, or wedding/ engagement announcements. Long term care leads could be obtained by contacting people who have family members in a nursing home as such folks are likely to have experienced the high cost of care and the resulting loss of assets that often occurs. You won’t sell disability insurance to those who are already disabled, but their family members will know about the hardship that results from having to wait for the government to supply a disability income. These people, with a little friendly contact from you, make good quality prospects.
While these older methods of prospecting remain valid today, the most successful insurance sales people have also taken advantage of the best programs offering life and health insurance sales leads over the internet. Internet insurance leads have the advantage of immediacy. That is, a person who went on line and submitted their personal information for insurance probably has a need. Sometimes an individual may simply be responding to a pop-up or expressing a curiosity about the way their existing insurance compares with other companies, but if they completed the entire form and included a valid phone number or email address, they have at least an interest in some form of insurance. A little querying on your part will reveal the life event that sparked that interest. Once you know the reason for the interest, you can capitalize on “meeting the need.”
When purchasing internet leads, you want a few simple guarantees from the company. Will your money be refunded for disconnected or invalid phone numbers? Will you be able to apply filters to eliminate prospects who would be unqualified for anything you have? Will you be able to control or limit the number of leads you receive, and will you be able to stop or start receiving leads as needed? How many other agents will have the same zip codes you have? To how many agents simultaneously will the lead be sent? Generally the company sends the leads to agents from 3 to 5 different companies, so it’s a good idea to get a straight answer on your competition.
Does the company include a program that allows for an instant email response to be sent from your address? With nearly any type of insurance, immediacy is important. The “need” a prospect feels for insurance diminishes as time passes.
One final tip on prospecting for leads, especially over the internet. Those working with captive companies have a disadvantage with internet leads because prospects who submit a request usually expect a variety of choices. It’s better to have a “name brand” company that simply asks for the right of first refusal, but allows you to seek out other alternatives if their products aren't quite what the prospect is looking for.