The strategic approach on how to begin working neglected or orphaned clients.
You are a successful insurance professional. How did I know that? Because you are taking the time to read this blog and you likely have hundreds to thousands of clients. You clearly have been successful at marketing and closing life insurance prospects. However, as you know, it can be a never ending treadmill… Sell, sell, sell…, spend, spend, spend….more leads, more leads, more leads. Most would agree it’s the life of an entrepreneur.
Here’s some good news. It’s time to maximize your original investment. You have an abundance of premium paying clients and it’s almost a crime to ignore them. Most agents and BGAs will tell us that they’re working their existing client base, but when pressed, it becomes very clear that is not exactly true. Most of the time it is their plan, but not yet perfected. Usually the answer is they plan on hiring “someone” to work their existing clients.
It’s great to have a “plan”, but you’ve got to have a “game plan”. Develop a true marketing plan that is prepared to engage your existing clients on various topics. There is simply too much money on the table to not put your best effort into reselling your existing clients. So how do we start?
THE GAME PLAN
- Assemble the right team.
- All your clients must be in a marketing database / CRM.
- Before you begin you must run current paid-to-dates (PTDs) on each of the client’s policies.
- Make your annual call to the client.
- Send Letters: anniversary letters, conversion letters, countdown letters, contact us letters.
- Email Campaigns: product reminders, marketing ideas, and giveaways.
Assembling the right people for the right role
When we discuss staffing for a client management project with agents, their usual reply is something similar to this “… We plan to hire someone to manage our clients…” One person is never enough, even the smallest book of business will require at least two staff members. Let’s just assume for discussion, you have 500 clients. Your staffing needs would look something like this:
-ADMINISTRATIVE PERSON – A new administrative person is needed to enter or update client and policy data into your CRM. Paid-to-dates (PTDs) will need to be run for each client before you make a phone call. Marketing letters and emails must be designed and launched each month. Client service (beneficiary changes, etc…) also must be accounted for because these clients will need to make changes. Last but not least, the new sales must be processed and exams ordered. All typical stuff that is required with new business transactions.
– SALES PERSON – This is an important piece of the puzzle. The sales person is basically an agent. He or she will need to have the same qualities as all your other agents in your office. However, because your existing clients are not asking to buy, this person must have a unique combination of customer service skills and the ability to close the sale. They essentially must be able to discover or uncover a need that the client was not even aware of prior to your phone call. Also keep in mind, that this person will need to be thick skinned because 95 out of 100 calls (actual conversations) will not have any interest in making a change this year. So, just like any good sales person, they can’t get discouraged by hearing the word “NO”.
After 30 years, we can assure you that the person who is successful in sales is not the same person who is in charge of your administration. It will require two very different skill sets to be successful working your in force clients. While many believe these roles can simply be divvied out to existing personnel, it is our experience that the only way either role can be successful is if existing clients is their primary focus.
Database / CRM
Step one is to be sure all your clients are in a functioning CRM. Ideally, this will include all the normal client information such as name, address, phone number, email, and date of birth. Then you will list all the policy information in the CRM. This information should include company name, policy number, policy description (i.e. 20 year term), annual premium and the policy date. It is critical that this information is accurate and that your CRM can function with merging client data into marketing letters and emails. The data, and the ability to merge data into the marketing promotions (i.e. anniversary letters & countdown letters), is one of your most valuable tools. Besides the annual phone calls, your use of letters and emails will be at the center of unlocking this revenue stream.
Think about it this way… You are not just going to make calls to the client, you’re going to strategically combine letters and emails with your phone calls to increase your chances of delivering your message to the client.
The next step is run your paid-to-dates (PTDs). That’s right, if you have 5,000 clients, you’re going to have to run 5000 PTD’s… Ugh. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but remember there is a lot of money to be made. The reason that PTD’s are important is because you are going to be calling, and mailing these clients discussing their policy. If the policy lapsed 4 to 5 years ago, you need to know this before you start communicating with the client about a policy that might not even be in force.
At our office, no client is ever called without running new PTD’s for all the client’s policies. If the client has 3 policies and the spouse has 2 policies, you will need all 5 PTD’s before you make the call. Otherwise, you could be giving a client incorrect information and then you have a problem. Once you have the PTD and the client is in your CRM, you’re ready to make your annual call. Granted, if you have thousands of clients, it can take you weeks or even months to get all these clients in working order. Our suggestion is that you set a reasonable number (i.e. 100 clients per day) as your daily goal. After you get the first 100 clients ready, then you will start making your calls. The good news is that the first 100 clients you speak with, you can expect to make 5 to 7 sales.
There are many other factors that we will cover at a later date, such as what if you don’t have the client’s phone numbers. These topics and many others we will address with greater detail in upcoming blogs. For today’s discussion, we are going to assume that you at least have a decent amount of active phone numbers for your client or that you have already received responses from our “If we can’t get reach you” letter we spoke about in our earlier blog.
Now it’s time to call the client!
CALLING THE CLIENT – It’s easier than you think…
Assuming you are calling clients who have term insurance, you need to know four basic bits of information:
- Company name (Transamerica)
- Face amount ($500,000)
- Annual premium ($2,200)
- At what age will there premium increase (jumps at age 64).
That’s it. You only need these four basic facts about the policy to have a meaningful, intelligent conversation with the client. In our sales training we require our sales staff to draw “a box” on each PTD and put these 4 things within the box.
This is your building block for the call. Once you have this basic information your trained sales staff can feel confident about making the annual call.
The next question is usually what do I say to the client? Here is a script we have used for thousands of calls each year. It works with any client whether they have a policy that is one year old or 20 years old. Remember, this is used for term insurance only.
STAFF: Hello Dr. Jones, this is Ashley with Insurance 360, we handle your Transamerica policy.
CLIENT: (Client may or may not respond you just keep the conversation moving.)
STAFF: The reason I am calling today, was to go over a few details with your policy. I will be BRIEF.
STAFF: You have a Transamerica policy for $500,000. You are paying $2,200 a year and it’s good till you are age 64.
STAFF: Everything looks great on your policy. I don’t have any suggestions, but I wanted to make sure that you haven’t had any questions since the last time we spoke?
CLIENT: (Hopefully the client will engage at this point, if not before, and you will have a meaningful conversation. Your goal is to get the client talking. If not, don’t fear, we have not even asked our closing question, yet.)
STAFF: How do you FEEL about your coverage ending at age 64?
(THE FEEL QUESTION… let the client answer. This is not a yes/no answer that they can give as a reply. Let the client talk!)
This is the best script we have ever used. It is simple, yet effective. Obviously, season sales person can roll with the conversation as it develops, but there are a few things we need to emphasize:
– Never get too chatty at the beginning of the call.
– Try to “mirror” your client once he engages in the conversation.
– NEVER EVER say the words “annual review”. These two words just scream you’re wasting my time. Nobody wants to review their insurance.
– Keyword – “BRIEF” – defined as short in duration. Using “brief” early in the conversation can help ease the client’s reluctance to take the call.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR COVERAGE ENDING AT AGE 64?
This is the Power Question. It is so simple and allows us to build up on the client’s response. Often, this is where the sale is made. Using the clients age (64) is another key part to the sales process. If you tell a client he has five more years before his premium increases, there is no urgency. However, using their age to describe when the premium will jump (increase), makes it even more personal. With this question about age, in a matter of seconds they will often think more in depth about things such as their mortgage, retirement, college expenses, etc.
An additional concern that agents have expressed, is that they are embarrassed to make the call because it is been years since I last spoke to the client. In some instances, they have never contacted the client since the date of the original sale. No problem. Because our script it’s not a sales script, we will never asked the client to buy. We are not selling anything. We are simply calling to begin (or continue) servicing their policy every year. So even if it is been 10 years since you last spoke to the client… You can begin to rebuild the trust.
The good news is that 12 months from now, when you make your second call, things will be much easier. And when the time comes, you will use the same script to ask them the important question… HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR COVERAGE ENDING AT AGE 64?
At insurance 360 we are here to partner with you to help you be as successful as possible with your existing clients. Over 65% of our clients buy at least 2, 3, or more policies from us during their insurance buying lifetime.
Let’s breathe new life into your existing book of business!