Selling life insurance is hard.

It’s also necessary.  Because unlike other lines of insurance people are required to buy…

Life insurance must be sold.

People won’t buy it on their own and a website or an 800 number can’t replace an agent.

A lot of agents tell me prospects don’t see the value in life insurance. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to hear about it.

Of course they don’t!

Nobody wants to think about dying! Our brains are hardwired against it.

But it’s your job to make prospects think about it so they can make smart decisions to protect their family before it’s too late.

I don’t have any magic bullets for you. 

Sorry, but there’s no secret tips here to make people love life insurance because I don’t live in a fairy tale and neither do you.

However, you will find a bunch of sales ideas to help you get prospects in the right frame of mind to understand the value of life insurance and feel good about paying money for something that is a lot easier to just ignore.

None of these ideas will make your job simple and you’re probably already doing many of them.

But if there’s one or two ideas in this list that can help you sell more life insurance then I’ll sleep well tonight knowing we helped make more families safe.

Here’s 22 ways to help prospects see the value of life insurance:

1) Strike At The Right Time

There are a few times in someone’s life that they’re particularly open to having a discussion about life insurance.

If you find prospects based on their current life situation you don’t have to work as hard at selling the value of insurance.

Think about creative ways to find people who:

  1. Just got married or engaged.
  2. Just had a baby
  3. Just bought a house
  4. Just lost a friend or loved one
  5. Just had a significant birthday 40,50,65…
  6. Just changed jobs.

2) Don’t Call it Life Insurance

Call it mortgage protection, or something else like income protection, family coverage, tuition guarantees…  Whatever.

The point is that people have a typical reaction to hearing the word life insurance, and if you want to get their attention you need to use words they’re not as familiar with.

Also, it’s great to emphasize what’s being actually being insured. After all, life insurance doesn’t really do much to protect your own life!

3) Let the Math Tell a Story

Have prospects figure out how much money their family would have to live off each month if they didn’t have life insurance.

How much money would be coming in if you died and there were no insurance?

Exactly how much?

Could the bills be paid? Could your family stay in the same house? Eat the same food? Drive the same car?

Let the story unfold.

The key thing is getting the prospect to answer these questions themselves. If you feed the answers they won’t internalize the value of life insurance.

Three years salary doesn’t sound too good when you do the math, does it?

4) Tell a Story

Tell prospects a story about a family that needed life insurance and didn’t have it, or maybe a story about a family that did have coverage and how important it was.

The better you tell the story, the easier it is for your prospect to see the value in the coverage.

If you’re telling a story about a particular family and you can show a picture of them (with permission of course) it can make your story much more impactful.

Don’t make up a story though… you don’t need to.

5) Have Someone Else Tell a Story

Even if you’re a good story teller, you won’t be able to tell someone else’s story better than they can.

You can find tons of videos online of people explaining how life insurance either saved their family or the lack of it destroyed them.

Check out The Life Foundation’s YouTube channel. I was at a conference where they had a young girl speak about losing her parents and the difficulties it placed on them and I swear there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I cried like a baby.

Think about creative ways to share videos like this. Can you email them to prospects? Make a video that runs in your waiting room? Post them to social media?

6) Talk to the Whole Family

It’s a whole lot easier getting Dad to see the value of life insurance when you’re talking to him about it with Mom.

Think about ways to get more meetings with multiple members of the family instead of just one.

How many times have you talked about life insurance with the only person on earth who won’t benefit from the policy?

7) Talk About The Kids

Everybody loves talking about their kids and it’s also a great way to build rapport.

But what you might not always consider is that the more you talk with a prospect about their kids, the more you’re firing the neurons in their brain associated with taking care of their family.

Neurons that are highly charged from lots of conversation like this will play a stronger role in the decision process.

If you talk, at length, about everything related to your prospect’s kids you won’t even need to mention how the life insurance effects them.

8) Talk About What They Do For Their Family

I love talking about all the things I do for my kids.

Did I say talking? I should have said complaining…

Pick ‘em up here, drop ‘em off  there, do the laundry, clean up, help with homework, coach the team, fix their bike, etc. etc. etc.

A conversation about the things your prospect does for their kids accomplishes lots of things:

  • It activates the “parental protector” part of their brain that makes decisions based on family security.
  • It shows prospects all the things their kids would miss out on if they weren’t around.
  • It reminds prospects they somehow get enjoyment from doing unpleasant things for their loved ones (like paying for insurance they’ll never benefit from)

9) Use Assumptive Conversation

Talk to prospects about life insurance the way you would talk to them about buying milk.

The question is not whether or not to buy it. The questions are what kind do you want, and how much?

When you assume that all responsible adults in your prospect’s situation buy life insurance they will too.

10) Put the Prices Out There

When it comes to young healthy people, life insurance really isn’t that expensive when you consider the potential payout.

Make sure your prospects know how cheap some policies can be.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to compare the cost of a perfectly healthy young adult with that of an average middle aged adult to demonstrate importance of buying young.

11) Letter From a Dying Person

I wish I had this for you but I don’t so I’ll just describe it.

I was in an agency about 5-6 years ago and they had a letter posted for visitors to read.

The personal information had been blacked out but the letter  came from a person who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was requesting a pre-payment of her life insurance.

The letter was short but emotionally gripping and it made the thought of living with a terminal illness very real to me.

Five years later and I can still remember holding it in my hand.

I’m not sure if you have any letters like that available, but if you do it can be a very powerful tool for helping people appreciate the value of life insurance.

12) Ask About the Last Funeral They Attended

One of the reasons people don’t see the value of life insurance is because our brains are hardwired to ignore the possibility of us dying.

Think about it. I will die, you will die, everyone you know and their great great great grandchildren will all die someday and yet few of us are really bothered by it.

That’s our brain working hard to ignore the things that won’t help us live longer and reproduce more.

When you ask someone about the last funeral they attended it immediately activates the part of their brain that understands and accepts that death is going to happen, and maybe a lot sooner than we expect.

When was the last funeral you attended? How did it make you feel? Would you want a similar funeral?

13) Don’t Use Ignorable Statistics

Don’t use statistics that suck.

Sucky statistics are those that people can’t relate to.

I don’t care that 8.78 out of 1,000 people die each year. I don’t care that 155,000 people die every day.

I can’t relate to these numbers. They mean nothing to me.

So I have a 1 in 12 chance of catching a disease with a 30% treatment rate over the next 5 years…


14) Use Emotion-Rendering Statistics

If you’re going to use statistics, make sure they effect your prospect in a deeply emotional way.

Tell me how much it costs to bury me. And don’t just quote some statistics, show me some invoices from local funeral homes.

Tell me what percent of widows have to go back to work or pick up another job after losing their spouse. And then ask me what my spouse does for a living.

Tell me what percentage of children who lose a parent go to college versus the normal rate.

No I don’t have numbers for you here… Do I have to do everything?

15) Use Social Proof Statistics

Don’t tell prospects that 3 in 10 homes in the US don’t have life insurance.

That just gives them an excuse to join the club.

You want to make people think that everyone IS buying insurance, not the other way around.

Tell your prospect that 19 out of 20 homes with six-figure  incomes have life insurance and they better join the in-crowd. (I made that stat up so don’t quote me)

And there’s nothing wrong with developing your own statistics based on your own book of business (as long as you explain that).

In fact it’s probably better because your book is more representative of your prospect than national statistics.

16) Talk About Surprising Deaths

A few days ago James Gandolfini, the actor who played the main character in “The Sopranos”, died.

He was 51 years old and while he wasn’t exactly the picture of health, it was nonetheless very surprising to just about everyone because of his age.

Talking with your prospects about a recent death in the news or in your local community is a good non-confrontational way to remind your prospect that “hey, you never know”

Gandolfini’s case is particularly effective for a situation like this because he died of natural causes and that is easy for anyone to relate to. I don’t think you’d get the same effect with a drug overdose or wreckless behavior.

17) Associate Life Insurance With Being an Adult

If your prospect is a young adult who has never had life insurance don’t forget that the feeling of being a responsible adult is a powerful benefit to them.

Make sure you emphasize it.

Tell them you’re impressed with such a high level of maturity at such a young age.

18) Segue From Conversations About Other Lines

When you’re selling another line of insurance like auto, home, health, etc. use examples and tell stories that include death.

“If you’re killed in a car accident this is how much your insurance will pay out…”

“Is that going to be enough? What else do you have in place?”

19) Associate Life Insurance With Wealth/Social Status

Let’s be honest, everyone can’t afford life insurance.

It some ways it really is a luxury product. I don’t have any stats but I’m very certain there’s a direct relationship between wealth and amount of life insurance.

Make sure you remember that during the sales process.

Are you treating your life insurance prospects the way they’d be treated at a luxury car dealership? Or like they’re getting their phone fixed at the Sprint Wireless store.

20) Stop Selling “Peace of Mind”

Okay, I’ll probably take some heat for this but I can’t stand when agents tell people to buy life insurance for “peace of mind”.

I get it and I understand what it means, but it’s such a cliched and BS term that it’s come to mean nothing at all. (in my opinion)

Do people really stay up at night worrying about not having life insurance?

I don’t think so.

I think people buy life insurance because society says its the responsible thing to do and because it feels good.

That’s why I did.

I guess this is really  just my opinion, but I have plenty of life insurance and to be honest, I’d get more “peace of mind” having the extra money in my wallet.

21) Tell the Story of Your First Death Claim

Most experienced agents have a story about the first time they delivered life insurance benefits.

It’s obviously not pleasant to think or talk about, but your job as a life insurance salesperson is to make people think about and prepare for something they’d prefer to ignore.

If you don’t have a story to tell yet, you will. It’s the inevitable consequence of being good at your job.

And I promise  the person who receives that check won’t mind if you used every idea in this article to sell their policy.

22) Don’t Ever Forget Why

It’s way too easy in sales to get wrapped up in all the techniques, quotas, close ratios, contests, commissions and everything else your carriers throw at you.

Don’t ever forget why you’re selling life insurance.

To protect families.

Everyone needs life insurance but most people won’t buy it without your help.

It’s not glamorous. But it is noble.

Don’t ever forget that.

Here’s what to do next:

  1. Make a short list of the ideas here you can add to your selling process and keep it handy.
  2. Review your list after each sales interaction this week and evaluate whether you used every opportunity to help your prospect see the value.
  3. Build sales Karma by sharing this article with one agent or sales manager you think would appreciate it.
  4. And please click the “Like” button so I know if you want more material like this.

I hope this helps you protect more families,
John Carroll