* Produced over $1 billion in premium
* Supervised over 500,00 paid policies
* Created and built 3 start-up agencies
As an Executive Insurance Consultant, he’s helped the top Direct Marketers, BGA’s and IMO’s grow and improve both top and bottom-line results.
As Corporate Officer, he helped Transamerica, SelectQuote and InsWeb, Inc. produce record revenue.
In this episode learn:
1) How to effectively develop rapport over the phone.
2) How to differentiate yourself with your value proposition
3) Master qualification and underwriting
4) How to present the rates and what to do in what Todd refers to as the “critical moment”
5) And much, much more.
(The training starts at 21:00)Click Here to View the Full Transcript
Jeff Root: Welcome to the podcast, Todd.
Todd Ewing: Hey. Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and all the good folks out there.
Jeff Root: Yup, so why don’t you share with us what you’re seeing out there in the industry and then maybe go into a little background about yourself.
Todd Ewing: That sounds great. Thanks, Jeff. Hi, everybody. My name, again, is Todd Ewing and it’s a pleasure to speak with you and present and convey some proven techniques to help you grow your business. First, I want to thank Jeff for the opportunity to speak with you. I really appreciate this chance, Jeff, and hopefully we’ll be able to generate some great results; short term and long term.
Jeff Root: Pleasures all mine.
Todd Ewing: Yeah. For everybody out there you probably heard there’s tremendous momentum in our industry around technology and new catalysts of change. InsurTech and in tech companies are popping up everywhere and deep capital is being deployed to reinvent the life insurance arena. Buzz words like innovation, disruption, and transformation are really permeating the landscape for insurance carries, EGAs, IMOs, financial institutions and direct marketers. The direct to consumer experience, D to C as you’ll hear it often referred to is really the paradigm shift for increasing sales.
The consumer and consumer experience, that is known as CS, is truly paramount. It is the kind of new success; knowing who your consumer is, how they operate, what modality in which they want to transact business and how they’re looking to protect their family in terms of the greatest value. When I say value I don’t simply mean the lowest price. I never want to get into price wars because ultimately you’ll lose that battle. There will always be another carrier, the faster gun in the west, that comes up with a lower two cent price per month. We need to look at the overall picture of creating the greatest value for the consumer.
Before I jump into this maybe I can give a little background on myself. I’ve been in the industry for twenty-five plus years. My first real job out of UCLA when I graduated was working for a little company at the time called SelectQuote Insurance Services; probably all hear of that.
Jeff Root: We’re all familiar with them. Yup.
Todd Ewing: Yup. The ubiquitous ads, believe it or not, just … Some of the commercials that are run are ones that I wrote and helped produce fifteen, sixteen years ago when I was there. I guess they legs. In my opinion they’re getting a little stale, but hey, it still makes the phone ring so … My first job was at SelectQuote. I had the good fortune of being promoted fairly quickly to an agent.
I’d never sold life insurance door to door, face to face, knee to knee at the kitchen table. It was all new to me and my training literally was one night. The office manager and president’s wife gave me a huge journal like the Bible. It was an enormous binder. It had all the under writing guidelines in there. She said to me, “Memorize these and you’ll start selling tomorrow.” That was my training.
Jeff Root: Wow.
Todd Ewing: I got on the phone and and my very first day, for whatever reason … To this day I’m still not certain why I was able to be so successful. It just was intrinsic. It was a native talent for some reason. My first day I sold ten applications over the phone.
Jeff Root: Awesome.
Todd Ewing: The most in the history of SelectQuote to that point, they’d been a business for six years, was four in one day. I was the eighth agent to be on the floor and for the next, and this is me patting myself on the back kind of breaking my arm doing so, that I lead the company every day, every week, every month, every year for three and a half years in sales. In fact, they actually had to create a new comp line and take me out of it because I was skewing the numbers so badly. Then after three and a half years I totaled over eight thousand pay policies sold over the phone. One day I sold thirty-two applications.
Jeff Root: Oh my gosh.
Todd Ewing: I think it still may be a record. Back then the carriers were not what we know today. They weren’t the usual suspects. It was travelers, and Midland Mutual Life, and Jackson National, and Federal Kemper which had so many different names, right? The [inaudible 00:04:15]. We didn’t have the luxury of being known to the consumer. It was a brand new experience so we had to create trust and value, unlike today where you go online and type in term life insurance in Google and there’s literally pages and pages, thousands-
Jeff Root: Right.
Todd Ewing: Of people that claim that they can sell [inaudible 00:04:35]. This was before Al Gore invented the internet, right? People were transacting business all over the phone and it was kind of a cumbersome process but in reality it felt so new and unique to the customer they liked, even back then, not having to go face to face with a stranger or disclose personal financial and health data to a friend or relative. That anonymity was to our advantage. After selling I had the opportunity to move into management and quickly rose to the vice president of sales and marketing for SelectQuote. I ended up staying there for thirteen years. It was a great ride, loved it.
This is back [inaudible 00:05:17] when the internet was starting to come online. We developed an internet team within a whole internet platform. We called it [inaudible 00:05:26], the web team and quickly fifty percent of our volume came in through the web. We grew from eight agents when I first started to over eighty agents and our premiums and revenues literally quadrupled. We had a great ride. We became the known direct marketer in the state and they always say, “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.” A ton of companies started popping up there after trying to do what we had accomplished at SelectQuote.
From there I had an opportunity to literally move out of the San Francisco Bay Area and join a company called InsWeb. The CEO called me there, and founder, and said, “Hey, we’d like to move into the life space. You’re just the guy to help us build and start a new one. We want you to teach us everything; direct to consumer marketing, direct marketing, as well as how to close more effectively over the phone.” They already had a P & C, property and casualty, company selling home and auto. I was brought up there to build up a whole new life division for them. We did that and introduced all new carriers and …
Really the transformation that occurred there for me was I wanted to do something a little bit different. I just didn’t want to build a better mouse trap than what we’d accomplished at SelectQuote. We started selling … This is cutting edge back then, we started selling universal life policies over the phone. That became transformative. SelectQuote, in the thirteen years that I was there, the highest premium, the largest case, was fourteen thousand dollars. At InsWeb, in our third month I had a gentleman, one of my agents, sell an eighty thousand and a forty thousand that went paid in the fourth month.
Jeff Root: That’s pretty typical nowadays now that everybody is use to purchasing online and over the phone.
Todd Ewing: Right. Back then it was a challenge to try to get the trust and have people submit payment of that large-
Jeff Root: Yeah.
Todd Ewing: To an unknown company. Today people are buying houses and cars online.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: That’s fairly commonplace. Huge opportunity to do that. We’re also selling non med products which were kind of cutting edge back then as well. I was looking for quicker cash flow and a better consumer experience so we did both. One of the other unique things that we did, and it’s still available out there, I’m shocked my how many direct marketers don’t do this now; that is when you look at a website and you have to go enter your data: you put in your date of birth, you put in what state you’re in, how much coverage you’re looking for, the term length, yadda ya.
There’s almost always an empty field there. It’s a blank field where you, the consumer, have to enter in how much coverage you want. Occasionally there will be a health button or they’ll be a needs analysis tool, but not always. The bottom line is it’s left blank and you’re allowing the customer to choose how much they want. It sounds good in theory. The truth is out of the millions of calls that I’ve processed, and hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds, thousands of calls that I’ve listened to; the majority, at least fifty percent plus, do not have any idea how much life insurance they need.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: If they do know that number they’re still well under-insured. We all know that. They’re getting two times their income, three times their income. There’s a huge under service of the need for each consumer. What I did is I put in a filter to make their life easier. That started with two hundred and fifty thousand for ten years a term. That was out default. We looked at all the data and I’m a metrics junkie, I study all the numbers. About fifty-three, fifty-four percent of all the leads that were coming in via the internet had a base amount of two hundred and fifty thousand and a term life of ten years.
One day I had this crazy idea. I went to my IT department, I said, “Humor me. Let’s change the base amount. Let’s put it in at five hundred thousand just to see what happens.” Guess what? Fifty percent of the people selected the five hundred, they didn’t change it. They just went with our recommendation. Our premium literally almost doubled overnight. It was amazing. The next step was to move it to a twenty year term. The industry average back in those days for a term sale was about six hundred dollars. Today it’s seven fifty, eight hundred dollars across the board. At InsWeb our apps premium was thirteen hundred dollars; substantially higher than other direct marketer out there and that was one of the primary reasons outside of the fact that we were also selling [inaudible 00:10:00].
We took that data and we were able to codify it and to do a deeper analysis, and algorithm, and really a matrix that whenever they put in their date of birth we had the system coordinate the amount of coverage we thought they should need and for how long they needed it. We were able to take big data, even back then and utilize to create actionable items for machine learning to be able to present …
Jeff Root: Wow.
Todd Ewing: For a younger person a higher base amount and a thirty year term. For a sixty year old gentleman, for example, you might only present a ten year term. But we were starting to customize every one of the processes right up front. It was a great experience for the customer, the carrier all love this because of our premium and our price up ratios, and the agents were making money. It was a win-win-win across the board.
From SelectQuote to InsWeb, directing marketing for now, what, seventeen years. We became profitable on life side fairly quickly so like all good companies what did we do? We sold the agency. I called all the carriers that I was working with, let them know that I was selling it. We sold it off in bits and pieces, and different parts, so that was a really interesting period.
TransAmerica became involved immediately and said, “Hey, you’re just the guy we’re looking for. Can you come down and meet with us? We want to move into the direct marketing space.” I went down to Los Angeles. It’s a well known myth that everybody thinks TransAmerica is in the pyramid building in San Francisco. They’re not. They’re in Los Angeles, it’s their home office. They’re owned by Aegon which is in Cedar Rapids. That’s another story.
Anyway, I was offered the position to be the vice president of direct marketing. They also gave me the title of term life insurance vice president. For the next four and a half years I literally criss-crossed the country forty weeks out of the year promoting TransAmerica’s term and developing our platform for direct marketing. I added fourteen different accounts. At the end we brought in SelectQuote as a partner of ours and we went from zero direct marketing sales to twenty-seven million dollars in direct marketing in three years.
Jeff Root: Awesome.
Todd Ewing: Our term sales … Terms sales, this is all public knowledge, you can find it anywhere, went from forty-eight million back then to over a hundred million dollars, again, in about three and a half years. A great rocket ride. The thing that came out of that for me was an opportunity to see all of the BGAs, IMOs, financial institutions, and other direct marketers who use to be competitors of mine when I was at my former distribution companies. Now they showed me everything. I compiled what I came to call best practices platform. I learned a little bit from everybody; from the AccuQuotes, to the Matrix’s, to the large BGAs, even from the banks and the CPA firms.
Took all that and compiled a whole new approach to how to sell and I brought that out to market and created my own consultancy company called The Insurance Mind and for the last four and a half years now I have worked with the top direct marketers, and carriers, and all the financial entities to teach them how to be more to teach them to be more efficient with systems and effective with their presentations. All done over the phone, all done through the internet utilizing better processing, better systems, and all the tools and technology that are available, and continue to expand.
That was a long introduction but today I am going to share with you what I call the seven habits to successful selling of life insurance. It’s really borrowed from the Stephen Covey famous book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. I’ve customized that and tailored it to practical application, how to [inaudible 00:13:50] and presentation style, tone, and even language that is most successful in closing deals over the phone and online.
Jeff Root: Yeah. I-
Todd Ewing: You have to know … Go ahead, Jeff.
Jeff Root: No, I was going to say, and I’ve seen this before, I just want to make a comment here that back in two thousand and nine you actually trained me and the agency that I was with to sell over the phone. I think we had a twelve person call center at the time and I remember your training and that’s how we got in contact. You frameworks that I’ve seen that you really knew back in two thousand nine, at least, and I’m sure they’re updated today, but the frameworks that you’re going to go through are frameworks that I’ve been using to sell and what I’ve been training agents as well.
I couldn’t think of a better person to bring on a podcast about selling life insurance over the phone. I just wanted to throw that in there, about our history and how you actually trained me, what was that? Seven years ago. I’m excited that you’re sharing this with our audience, first of all. It really is a treat and I appreciate you doing that. Yeah. Keep going. I just wanted to throw that in there.
Todd Ewing: Great. Thank you, Jeff. I appreciate the kind words. I have presented this same … It’s in the seven habits. It’s a component of another presentation and whole nother platform that I utilized called thirty-one flavors, which I can share with other folks offline as we proceed. To finalize the background to myself: I have built three start-ups. I’ve had the good fortune of working, as I said, on both aisle of distribution; from the manufacturing at a carrier, clearly on the direct marketing side.
I’ve sold or helped process over five hundred thousand policies and literally close to a billion dollars in premium over the last twenty-five years. I know a little bit about this. I know all of you listening have your own successful tools and techniques. If I can share with you, and you gain a few nuggets here and there, then this is of value. There may be things that you already know and that’s great. If this reinforces your best practices and the patterns you’re using, outstanding. If you can gleam a few tips that will allow you to close more sales, hey, you’ll be all the more successful.
We’re going to focus in on term sales primarily and we’re going to focus in on the middle market. As you all know it’s vastly under-served and uninsured. There’s a crazy stat out there that says the population is doubled in the last fifty years, right? We’re over three hundred million people now and yet less life policies are sold today than they were fifty years ago. That’s either crisis’s or a huge opportunity. I think the latter.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: I think we as a community, we as an industry, have an opportunity and almost a responsibility to be able to reach and to close more people. The reality is we don’t have a, what I call, conversion problem. Conversion meaning from a person who raises their hand, goes online, calls up and says, “Hey, I’m interesting in life insurance.” We have a closing problem. The process is still too cumbersome. It’s too complicated It’s too laborious so people fall out of the process; the breakage, the waterfall effect is awful.
A hundred people raised their hand and said they want life insurance, the stats all show that online it’s about six to seven percent of those people actually get a policy. What happened to the other ninety-three, ninety-four people? Right? We’re leaving so much low hanging fruit on the vine there. I’m going to share with you some of my best practices that’ll allow you to close more sales here.
The goal of term sales is clearly to monetize a premium that you don’t have to go drive out to their house for a seven hundred dollar premium. That’s not, maybe, the best use of your time but you sure as heck want the lifetime value of that customer. You’re going to want their business partners, their friends, and you’re going to want to ultimately be able to up-sell them to other products, cross-sale them, and to get them for life.
Jeff Root: Right. The-
Todd Ewing: We’re going to talk about …
Jeff Root: I want to add onto that, that I’ve been doing this for a long time and just the inventory of what you call these seven hundred dollar, thousand dollar term clients is huge; the rewrites the conversions, like you said, the referrals and everything. A lot of people look at selling term over the phone and just look like, “Oh, seven hundred to a thousand dollar premium? Why am I working for that?” But it really is inventory for your business. I just wanted to add that. That’s like one of the main concepts I try an get to people who are thinking about selling term over the phone, but keep going.
Todd Ewing: Right. If you can do it over the phone efficiently and effectively; a twelve to twenty minute conversation, that’s worth the seven, eight hundred dollar premium. Absolutely. All day long. You just have to have the right tools and processes in place to be able to manage your caseload effectively, but that is well worth the time. If you have to drive out to their house, and spend gas money and time, and pet the dog for potentially a three hundred and eighty dollar premium? No, there’s probably a better use of your valuable time.
Jeff Root: Right.
Todd Ewing: First step is we’re going to go over the seven habits and we’re going to begin with habit one, first things first. It’s called rapport, developing rapport. I want to be ultimately clear here that rapport in my book is not about being nice. It’s not about being their friend. It’s about being an expert. It’s about being the advisor. People buy from people they trust. Think about any of your experiences in retail or any of your customer service experiences.
You’re going to go with somebody you feel is competent, an expert, and somebody that you trust will give you the greatest value, not somebody who is friendly and talking to you about the weather or about where they live. Nobody really cares about that. When they get off the phone that’s not what’s going to resonate and that’s not what’s going to permeate their perception of you. What’s going to resonate with them is, “Wow, I went with somebody that really knows their stuff, and that can help me make this transaction smooth and efficient, and I can get what I really came for.”
Let’s talk about rapport here. This, again, is done over the phone and in some cases it may be with people you know and in other cases it may be with fresh leads that are right off the internet or being paid through an affinity source or other partnerships. I’m going to blend that and assume that, maybe, you don’t know them and they’re more strangers than they are friends. If they’re friends then you can expand on this and make it a little bit more customized and a little bit more personal. Otherwise, here’s the framework for developing rapport.
Habit one. The opening segment of your presentation is truly critical. The sale can be won or lost in the first two minutes. We all know that expression, “First impressions are lasting.” It is true. Most marriages, they will tell you that it happened almost instantly that they connected through their eyes, through the smile, through a handshake; they knew immediately. Same thing happens with telesales. Okay?
An agent must immediately establish credibility, authority, an expertise. You’re going to hear me use those three words a lot: credibility, authority, and expertise. It’s paramount that the customer really visualizes you as a successful and professional insurance expert. You must convey that tone from your first spoken words. Think about it. You are now their personal [inaudible 00:21:15] your mindset. They are done shopping. You’re not here as a quote giver. You’re not here just to provide prices. You really are the expert.
Here are the top ten things within habit one. Every call must contain the following elements: a strong opening line that is clear, articulate, and authoritative. When I answer the phone I use to say, “Hi, this is Todd.” I would literally pause. They knew they were calling SelectQuote. They knew they were calling about life insurance. I didn’t have to say, “Hey, thank you for calling SelectQuote.” I don’t like the expression, “How may I help you?” I know how I can help them. I can help them get a life insurance policy. I wanted that pause in there because I wanted them to speak and fill it in. You all know that expression, “The fist person that speaks loses.” I wanted them to tell me what it was that they were looking for and make them almost vulnerable. It made them say, “I want this and now I’m going to provide a solution for it.”
Jeff Root: Brilliant. Yeah.
Todd Ewing: Yup. The next one, use your name effectively and develop proper pacing. Two sub-points there. When I say use your name I want them to know your name. It’s Todd, [inaudible 00:22:27] Jeff. Hi this is Todd, Todd Ewing. Sometimes I’ll pause and have them reflect on my name for a minute especially if it’s memorable. My wife has a really unique name. It’s kind of like Cher or Madonna, it’s [inaudible 00:22:39]. I wanted people to say to her, “Wow, how’d you get that name? That’s interesting.” It creates a connection. The same thing is true for them. Use their name effectively and we’ll talk about that in a moment.
Develop proper pacing. When I say pacing I mean you need to be clear on not just the style and the words, but really the modality and the timing of your speech patterns. Pauses can be very effective. Like right there and or going faster can move things along to let them know that you’re in charge and you know what you’re talking about. Pacing is absolutely critical but pausing can be very powerful.
The third point here, present your title. I learned this from a company up in Seattle. It was very effective. They didn’t have the highest quality leads so what they did to create authority and to get themselves validity was they said, “By the way sir or ma’am, here’s my license number. I’m appointed in your state. You’re welcome to go to x site and to look up my license number and to see my background.” It just gave them credibility right away. You may not have to do that, obviously, with people you know but lower type of individuals or people that maybe have trust issues it’s a very powerful thing. You don’t want to be in response to people. You want to be upfront and you want to be transparent as much as possible.
The next one is capitalizing upon the lead source. You want to connect to the affinity or partnership. That can be a variety of different sources. If it’s a friend, clearly you’re capitalizing upon that. If it’s a referral, you’re capitalizing upon that. If it’s an internet lead or other some type of source, you want to use that to your advantage. I’ll give you an example of that. Back in the day there was a talk show host called Bob Draker. People listened to him on AM radio. Now there’s Sean Hannity and you can go down the whole list of all the talk show financial guys; Dave Ramsey, they go on and on.
If they’re calling in on that lead source they get finances. They have an interest and a proclivity already towards that. They don’t have to know that you know the lead source. In fact, it makes you more powerful if you can say, “I don’t know if you ever listen to Financial Advisors,” they obviously do, “But they recommend buying term life insurance and they recommend using our service. They recommend me.” You’re creating that partnership an affinity immediately with them by using the lead source.
Jeff Root: Absolutely.
Todd Ewing: Don’t engage in small talk. It’s remarkable to me how many people lower their value and devalue their service by being small time. When you call your attorney or CPA, you don’t want to talk to him about movies and about your dog or about the rainstorm that just happened for more than a minute or so. After that, “Okay, let’s talk about your taxes, let’s talk about your finances.” It shows that he’s busy. It shows that he’s a professional. If you engage too much in small talk they get off the phone with you and they say, “Oh my gosh, I just spent thirty minutes with this guys. I thought it was going to be ten minutes.”
Jeff Root: Yeah.
Todd Ewing: Okay? That’s not being their friend. You have to understand, they don’t want a friend. If they wanted a friend they’d call a different phone number. They want an expert.
Jeff Root: Yeah. It’s not the same as building trust. Small talk does not build trust. It just … I get that and it also wastes your time too. I see a lot of agents get carried away. They said they just had a thirty minute conversation with somebody and they didn’t make a sale. That is not a good use of your time.
Todd Ewing: Absolutely. I learned that the hard way, Jeff. I was on a call with a guy. It was one of my very first calls and I was on the call. He was in Montana and I thought it was fascinating that he was a fly fisherman. Right? I always wanted to … I saw the movie, you know, River Runs Through It. We talked fly fishing for like thirty minutes. I knew nothing about it. He taught me everything I needed to know. Guess what? I sold him, that application never came back. It was remarkable to me. I’d written it down in my notes, “Talked fly fishing, great guy, blah, blah, blah.” He never sent it back in so I wasted forty-five minutes of my life talking to the guy.
Jeff Root: Yeah.
Todd Ewing: I learned from that experience that doesn’t work. Here’s another one. Out of the eight thousand policy holders that I accumulated … I was in downtown San Francisco, one of the most beautiful, great cities to go visit. The number one destination for tourists in the world. Guess what? No body ever called me. Nobody ever knocked on the door and said, “Hey, Todd, you sold me my life insurance policy. Can we have lunch together? Let’s go grab a drink.” Not one. That’s not what they wanted.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: Remember that. Okay? Start tonal modeling immediately. When I say start tonal modeling that simply means not imitating or mocking them. If they’re from the south they’re going to have a different structure and style to their communication. If they’re from New York which I like, I like the fast paces, quick responses, that works for me, I’m going to emulate and I’m going to model what they’re doing. If I’m talking to somebody who is a little bit, maybe, naive or ignorant about fiances I’m going to slow everything down, I’m going to use plain language. If he’s more sophisticated I’m going to use a little bit more jargon. I don’t love using jargon but for that kind of guy I’m going to model after what he’s doing.
The other one is you want affirm their needs with confidence. You want to utilize the data from their online request or how they present it, “Hey, I’m looking for five hundred thousand.” You want to talk about that but you also want to make sure that you have a hint that maybe that’s not the right amount; that you are the expert and you’re going to go over it. Even if they’re clear like, “Hey, I’m looking for five hundred thousand.” Okay, that sounds great. I’m happy to help you look at whatever is going to work best for your family.
You don’t assume that what they mentioned is the right thing. It’d be like going into your doctor … I always think of this as the right analogy, is going into your doctor and saying, “Hey, Doc. I think I have strep throat and I need some amoxicillin.” Nobody does that. You walk in there and you say, “I have a sore throat. My throat hurts,” and you let him be the expert. Same thing happens with all of you.
I like this approach here: ask if they’ve used your service or your entity before to save them on their life insurance. It does two things, this is profound; it’s subtle, it’s fairly manipulative but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. What it does is it says, “Hey, we’re big. You should know us. Have you used us before? We’re kind of a household name.” The second thing it does is it implies that you’re going to save them money. In one expression, “Have you used our service in the past to save money on your life insurance?” You accomplished two important factors. Here is the next one, in my mind is the most defining rod in your call. It separates how and it changed how you’re going to communicate moving forward immediately. It’s this: determine if they’re new to insurance or if they’re adding or replacing a policy.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: Why is that so important? Because it determines who I have on the line. If they’re replacing they already get the value of life insurance. They already bought into the concept. They love somebody. They want to protect something. They’re probably trying to refinance their life insurance either to save money or get additional coverage. You’re changing your whole tone and your whole attack.
If they’re a first time buyer they may not be convinced they really need to do this; they got pressure from their father-in-law, their wife is nagging them to do it, some other reason, right? They had a baby. Something has come up for them. You want to hit upon that hard. You want to hit upon the reason that they’re getting coverage because there’s a decent chance they may even make a sale over the phone but they never send it back in. You’re going to talk differently to them.
For somebody who has already purchased you’re going to use expressions like, “As you know,” “as you recall,” “as you may remember with your last policy.” Whereas the new guys you’re going to slow it down, be very clear, and repeat yourself a number of times to create the greatest clarity. Okay? All right. What’s the reason to buy a new policy? What’s come up in your life that you need to secure new coverage? There are tons of lines and expression you can use [inaudible 00:30:37] determines why they’re getting coverage.
What are you looking to accomplish, what are you looking to protect, what are you looking to cover? Find that line that you use and use it every time, but make it effective so it solidifies the reason they’re getting coverage. You want to determine their [inaudible 00:30:53] as well as their sweet spot about their needs. Most people love somebody. They love their kids, they love their wife, they want to protect their mom. Whatever it may be you want to resonate that. That needs to be a gut punch to them. That’s why they’re doing it, so they can sleep better at night and they can have peace of mind. But you want to determine their pain points and their sweet spots.
[inaudible 00:31:14] I guess which also tells you that you can learn something new everyday is find out the name of their beneficiary and use it often. Right up front this works like a charm. “We’re looking for a five hundred thousand dollars of coverage. That sounds great, Jeff. God forbid, when something happens to you, who do you want the insurance company to write the check to? That check is tax free, by the way. Who do you want them to write the check to?” He’ll say, “My wife, Michelle,” “My wife, Cheryl.” You say, “Okay, so Cheryl is going to be listed as your primary beneficiary. That’s who is going to receive the five hundred thousand dollars. Is that right?” You saw me, I just confirmed that again. I’m making him see and picture his wife. It’s not just some intangible, elusive concept vapor. It literally is you’re buying life insurance for a person.
Jeff Root: Right. You’re also assuming the sale too.
Todd Ewing: Absolutely. You’re going to buy this. Right up front you’re getting this. We’re done with this. You can tell Cheryl she can sleep well at night tonight. Right? Ask for the double. You’ll hear me use that term. Double just means, “Who else are you looking to protect?” Not like, “Do you want to get coverage for your life for your wife?” “Who else needs life insurance. Who else are you looking to protect?” They will make them give you a name.
You should be getting at least one point three, a hundred and thirty percent of all calls should have another person attached to that policy. A husband and wife, a business partner, somebody else, a brother. Some of my favorite sales are asking that question and having a police officer, having a fireman say, “Pretty much everybody in my precinct needs it.” At one point I literally talked … They passed the phone around to everybody in the firehouse. I wrote twelve guys on one phone call.
Jeff Root: Nice.
Todd Ewing: It was awesome.
Jeff Root: That’s great.
Todd Ewing: Establish a timeline for the coverage. You want to create urgency. You say the age, back dates, prices are going up. You have to create some kind of need to make this happen quickly. Find out when their next payment is due, when they’re looking to get coverage, they have a baby, your wife, whatever it is but you got to create that timeline. Don’t let them say, “Oh, it’s going to be” … Even if they say a couple months you say, “Great. You couldn’t have called at a better time.” It often takes several months to get a life insurance policy. Whatever they say you want to affirm that and create a deadline for them.
The next point is probably one of my favorites and everybody who uses it tells me repeatedly, “This works like a charm.” That is tell them, before you start to get a pen, “Mr. Jones, before we start here do you have a pen and paper handy, or if you have your notepad handy? I want you to be able to take some notes here so you have everything in front of you so it’s super clear.” What that does is a few things. Number one, it gets them involved. It tells them, also, that what you’re going to be conveying to them is very important and now they’re engaged, they’re writing stuff down with you, they’re not just passive. It stops the ubiquitous objection about, “Hey, can you send that to me in writing.” Because they now have it in writing.
I learned this. They would say, “Oh, can you send me out those quotes? Can you email that to me?” I said to the guy, “Sir, you have it write in front of you. You wrote it down. It’s Midland at five hundred thousand for this price and TransAmerica for here. I can give you a little more background on each company but anything I send you will say the exact same things you just wrote down. When you get your application it’ll give you all the clarity. When you get your policy you’ll have all the details.” I wasn’t trying to be argumentative but I wanted him to know I’m not a quoter. I’m not just going to email you information. That’s why we’re on the phone here. Tell them to get a pen. I’m going to give you detailed information.
The other thing is god forbid you don’t make the sale, they now have a piece of paper, a link to you that connects you and hopefully they’re writing down your name and your phone number as well. People are pack rats. They won’t throw it away. When they need life insurance again they’ll call you.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: Okay? The needs analysis, I don’t need to tell you all this, is that so many people on the phone become just quoter takers. They say they want two hundred and fifty thousand, you say, “Okay, great. Do you want fries with that?” You have to be able to say, “How did you arrive at that amount? Did you talk to a financial advisor? Did you talk to your CPA? How did you come up with that? Is that what your wife was looking for?” Make sure you create a little bit of almost doubt in their mind that that’s the right amount. You can up-sell everybody. Everybody chooses the wrong amount in my opinion.
You don’t want to oversell them. I always think you want to be bullish about your industry but you want to be almost bearish about how you present to them. Don’t try to sell them more than they need. That use to be one of my favorite lines; “I don’t want you to spend a penny more than you need on this life insurance, but I want to make sure that you have just the right amount.” I didn’t look like I was a sales guy. I looked like I was trying to get him the right amount without overspending.
Your needs analysis must go beyond the mortgage protection. I know that’s obvious, but you’d be shocked by how many people just say, “Oh, what’s your mortgage? Okay. Great. We need a hundred and eighty thousand dollars of coverage.” That’s just not the way life insurance is designed. As you all know it’s really meant for indemnification to put them back to where they were, to replace their lost income. Let’s continue to hold to that [inaudible 00:36:23].
Lastly, take control. Hold yourself as a financial expert worthy of not being rushed. So many people get on the phone and they demand, “Hey, can you just give me a quote for five hundred thousand? I’m just looking for a ten year term,” and they expect you just to be spitting out a price. Don’t go there, don’t let them do that. Do not let them rush you. They wouldn’t rush their doctor, they wouldn’t rush their attorney. Hold yourself in that regard. Remember you are a successful, valuable professional. They’re lucky to have you as their agent.
I was so cocky on the phone just because I had so much success that I really would say to the customer, “Today’s your lucky day, Mr. Johnson.” He literally would say, “Why?” I’d say, “You know what? The truth is because you got me. If you got anybody else in the country, or even anybody else within our company, you probably wouldn’t save as much money and you wouldn’t get the right amount of coverage. I’m not going to have you pay a penny more than you need. I’m on your side. I’m here to help you. I treat everybody like I try to help my mom and my dad.” They bought it, they loved it, okay? All right. That’s habit one.
Jeff Root: That’s habit one which is … Habit one, developing rapport and just to kind of go back to what you said about grabbing a pen, I hope everybody has a pen available and is taking notes because this is like a fire-hose of value right now. This is only habit number one. We still have six other habits?
Todd Ewing: Yes, sir.
Jeff Root: All right.
Todd Ewing: We may not even get through all of them, Jeff. We may have to pick up another one. I mean-
Jeff Root: Yeah. We may have to break this into two episodes. All right. Let’s go into habit two.
Todd Ewing: I usually do forty-five minutes per habit and then I have whole training sessions around those. But anyway, we’ll march on. Habit two, your value proposition. You’ll hear me refer to is a value prop, val prop. It’s essential that you differentiate yourself, and your company and or entity that you work with, from the competition. If you’re the sole proprietor, great. Then you can really personalize it. You need to be thinking about these two questions: why should this customer buy from me? What’s in it for me from a customer perspective? What’s in it for me? That’s what everybody thinks. Why should I buy it from you. How are you different, how are you better? You need to be consumer centric with your thoughts.
The other thought I’m having is you must believe to be believed. I know you all sell good products so really be passionate about what it is. If you’re selling a more expensive one then know the value, know the other intrinsic qualities associated with that which makes it more expensive. If you’re selling Banner, and you’re selling AIG, and you’re selling North American, and all the lower price term products. Great. Tell them, “Hey, “We have the lowest cost product in the industry. You’re not going to get a better rate anywhere else.” Remember the primary objective of the value proposition is to establish your trust and to codify your authoritative position. the customer needs to feel confident that your experience and your expertise will generate their best outcome.
After your needs analysis and before we launch into the health questions, you got to do the following things, there are five points here: one, use transitional lines to launch into your company background or to your personal background. It may be something … I’m going to give you a couple examples. “Since you’re new to life insurance let me tell you a little bit about my background and how I work.” Then you extrapolate from there. Here’s another one, “Or since you’re looking to save money on a new policy, let me tell you how we make it easy to get your best prices, save you some money so you can take your wife out to dinner, and not overpay on your life insurance.” Or, you may have [inaudible 00:40:02] or seen us in a paper or whatever your lead source is. [inaudible 00:40:06] easy.
You want to have your value proposition right up front, what’s in it for them, are they new or are they [inaudible 00:40:14]. Transitional lines and it has to be seamless. It can’t sound like a commercial. It’s got to be informative and yet it has to be conversational. Point number two, give your company history, give your personal background, three points that make you strong and trustworthy.
When I was at SelectQuote, for example, when I was at InsWeb, when I consult with all these other direct marketers we use some of these three or four points: we are one of the nations largest insurance brokers, we’ve been in business since nineteen eighty-five, nineteen sixty-three, whatever it is. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of folks, people, find their best buys. You can say that without any compliance issues; “find their best buys.” We offer unique, and innovative, and best of class products. We make insurance simple, easy, and affordable.
Know your three bullet points. I have a whole outline of [inaudible 00:41:10]. There are probably forty different lines and fifty different points. I want you to find your own three. We can talk about those another time, but know your elevator pitch like the back of your hand and make it powerful. You have to believe to be believed.
Point number three: segway into the company value propositions. What differentiates you and your service? Did you know there are fourteen hundred insurance companies in the industry? We work with the top providers that offer the best combination of quality, service, and price. You need to have power phrases attached to the carriers that you work with. We only represent the top one percent of the marketplace that offers a high quality protection at the lowest prices.
That’s funny I just said that. I’ve use that fifteen years ago, twenty years ago. I still have it memorized. Right off the top of my head. It’s crazy, I’ve said that so many times. We only work with the top one percent of the insurance companies out there that offer the highest quality protection at the lowest prices available. You’re not going to get a better price anywhere. I’m going to save you time and money and make this entire process simple and easy. Then what I say to them is I do a tie down. Everybody would say, “How does that sound?” I think that I don’t like that line. That’s just me I would say, “Does that make sense?” I started training the person on the other end to start saying what? Yes. They’d say, “Yes.
Jeff Root: Trial closes. Yup.
Todd Ewing: Absolutely. Trial closes. I love it. Fourth point: create urgency. They need to get protection. Females, by the way for those of you who are listening out there, the fairer gender, they do better than almost anybody on the phone. The reason behind it is one, I think women like talking to other women. Men trust women. They don’t feel like their in competition with another male. They don’t feel like, “Oh, this guy is trying to boss me around.” We’re use to listening to our mom and we’re use to listening to our wives. It works really well and women can be bossy without being negative. They can almost be surprised, for example, if they’re not buying enough or if they don’t have any already. They can almost be shocked like, “Wow, really? You don’t have any coverage? Okay. Good. I’m glad we’re getting this handled. Your wife is going to be really happy about this.” It works like a charm. Okay.
Create urgency. Life insurance rates are at an all time low. You know that. Rates have dropped fifty percent or more over the last fifteen years. You want to talk about that. You want to create urgency around their birthday. Most people … I’d say the majority, ninety plus percent, don’t know about save age back dating. You want to use their birthday in any way, shape, or form either upcoming or six months after to create an urgency that rates are going up. You can even use the expression, “Hey, there’s rumor that prices are going up.” There’s always a rumor that prices are going up. Use the save age and back dating tools [inaudible 00:44:03].
I love taking a little money out of my pocket and giving it to the guy. What I mean by that is by literally back dating if and when it’s appropriate you save them twenty dollars a month. Guess what? You have a customer for life. There’s bulls, bears, and pigs. Pigs get slaughtered. Don’t be greedy. A hundred percent of a smaller amount is much better than zero percent of a larger amount.
Last one, transition into the carrier inventory. They don’t know who you are. They didn’t know who [inaudible 00:44:33]. They didn’t know Todd Ewing They just know TransAmerica, Prudential, MetLife. Use name brand companies. “All the companies that we represent are rated A and above and they provide the most comprehensive coverage. These are companies you know and trust like MetLife, Prudential, Banner Life Insurance, North American.” Okay? Provide the companies in their state. There’s a little trick that I just used there and I’ll share with you more in a little bit and that is the power of the third position.
The power of the third position means whenever you’re rattling off four or more items, whatever you put in the third slot has proven to be one of the most memorable. I don’t know why the brain operates that way but it does. You say, “MetLife, Prudential, Banner, and TransAmerica.” You lump all those companies in together. They’ve never heard of Banner but they’ve heard of the other four, now they think Banner is a household name. It’s a trick but it works. You can chose the most coverage, best deductible, lowest price. We have it all.
The five things again: transitional lines, company story, segway into val prop, create urgency, and you transition into your carrier inventory. You need to let them know what companies you have available so when you introduce a company to them later they’ve already heard of it. You cannot make this a commodity. It has to be personalized and they have to feel like they’re getting great value. All right.
Now we’re going to go into habit three which is probably the easiest one to master because it’s simply asking the health and lifestyle questions. However, it’s shocking to me how many people shortcut this. What happens is you get a preponderance of AOTAs, approved other than applied for. AOTA: approved other than applied. There’s lots of names for it. That’s the one I use. Okay. You field underwriting is the determining factor for product selection.
It’s absolutely essential that you master the carrier’s specific nuances. You can’t just throw it against the wall and hope it sticks. This is how you speak with conviction and demonstrate your expertise. This is your knowledge base. This is the doctor asking you all the questions. This is your attorney using all the expressions to ferret out what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. You got to think like a medical doctor with skill, tone, and knowledge.
Here’s some real world facts around this: according to [inaudible 00:46:50] data from two thousand and thirteen, the top three reasons for AOTAs in the industry are height and weight, hypertension, elevated cholesterol HTL ratio. The majority of AOTAs aren’t lab surprises. It’s because we’re not asking the right questions-
Jeff Root: Interesting.
Todd Ewing: Not being thorough up front.
Jeff Root: Yeah. I didn’t know that.
Todd Ewing: Yeah. The industry average for ATOA is, just across the direct marketing platforms, is twenty-five to thirty-five percent. A third of the people are getting a price higher than what they thought. Here’s the worst part of that: only fifty to sixty percent, on average, of those AOTAs go paid. Think about it in a football analogy. You just marched all the way down the field and you literally fumble at the one yard line.
Jeff Root: Wow.
Todd Ewing: Wasted everybody’s time. In contrast, eighty-five to ninety-five percent of approved and applied go in force. Even if you wrote a standard or a table two, if you got them the right rate up front they’re going to get it. If you said, “Hey, you sound like a really good guy.” You don’t ask too many health questions, you ask if they smoke, and height, and weight. But you never ask them about depression. You never ask about their driving record, private pilot, scuba diving, some of the ancillary one offs.
They come back and they get a standard. It’s only thirty dollars more a month. Guess what? They tell you to go pound sand. They don’t take it, they’re now upset, you lost a client and you’re sure as heck not getting a referral. Do it right the first time. Okay? All right. You know what’s crazy? Only sixty percent of the apps submitted are preferred plus to every carrier. Only thirty percent of the clients ultimately get that rate. Can you see the disconnect?
Jeff Root: Huge disconnect there.
Todd Ewing: It’s crazy.
Jeff Root: Preferred plus, I mean, probably … If thirty percent of that sixty percent, probably the top ten percent are only getting preferred plus.
Todd Ewing: Yeah. But we take everybody, “Hey, Mr.” … Let’s just go for it. If you do it over the phone you don’t have the luxury of looking at him even the people that look at you [inaudible 00:48:49]. It’s shocking. They didn’t have a C-PAP. They may be shooting up insulin and they still try to write on preferred. It’s crazy, right?
Jeff Root: It’s one of the things we all deal with in competing is people quoting preferred plus when they are not even close to that risk. Then again, if you’re doing everything you’re saying there shouldn’t be any competition. This is why this is really valuable right now.
Todd Ewing: Absolutely. On every call it’s really your [inaudible 00:49:15] responsibility to inform and educate them. You need to do the following: you need to explain the reasons and ask all of the required questions. But you need to preface it. “In order to get you the best rates in the marketplace I need to ask you some health and lifestyle questions to determine which company is going to offer you the best price based on your personal situation.”
Often times I would use an analogy of auto insurance. For example, if you’ve had a DUI or speeding tickets or if you’re a perfect driver, it’s really important we know that because every company looks at you differently. Some are more generous, some are more tight, some will D you if you have some other issues and some will reward you. I want to match you with the right company. You need to get that line, that expression down pat. You cannot just rush right into it.
We had an agent at SelectQuote who also became a sales manager, became a great agent but when I first was the vice president of sales and I had to listen to his calls, he was horrendous. Because he would almost start off the call with, “Hi, this is Jonas. How’s your health?” “Hi, this is Jonas. How’s your health?”
Jeff Root: Funny.
Todd Ewing: There was no rapport, there was no value proposition.
Jeff Root: Yeah.
They would say, “It’s great.” He’d go, “Okay. Well, based on that I can get you up to” … He’d use jargon. He’d be on and off the phone in three minutes, not make a sale, and he’d wonder why. We changed all that. We changed it. We created habit three for him. Convey the expertise as you match the right product and price for their unique needs. Do not make this a commodity. The advantages of doing this include more sales, you’re building a rapport, you’re increasing your credibility, and you’re distinguishing yourself from the competition. They’re one click away, remember, from LifeQuotes or E-Financial, and TeleQuote, or SelectQuote, or Matrix, or … I could go down the list. A lot of those companies now are showing bait and switch prices.
They may be overweight, or taking blood pressure medication, or what have you but they look online and nobody is telling them they need this information. They see two hundred and fifty thousand for ten years for thirty-eight dollars a month and you’re telling them it’s fifty-three. If you don’t explain why they’re going to go try to buy the thirty-eight dollar one and it’s going to come back and it’s going to be seventy-four.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: They should have bought the fifty-three dollar one. They would have got the best price. Now they got screwed. Right? It’s your job, it’s your responsibility. You’re going to improve the customer experience. You’re going to reduce your AOTAs. You’re going to increase your [inaudible 00:51:40]. Okay? You want to get at least four companies that you named, that you represent, and you want to soften the question section with the transition. Here’s the line that I use again, “Every company looks at your background differently so I need to ask you some questions to match you with the right company that will offer you the best value and the best price for your situation.”
Key reminders here: don’t lead the witness. Respect their condition and don’t rush. When I say don’t lead the witness that means you can’t say, “You don’t have any health problems, Right? Nothing like diabetes, or cancer, or heart conditions?” You’re now creating an environment where they don’t want to disclose that. You just need to ask the questions very clearly and don’t have a reaction.
If they say their height and weight, they’re a big guy, so what? You can almost imply, “Hey, I’m a big guy too. I’ll help you find a company that’s really lenient with that.” If they’re taking blood pressure don’t have a reaction to it, just the facts. Think about it like a doctor. He’s not going to have a reaction every time you tell him about an ailment. Just gather the data but make sure you ask all the questions. Don’t let them rush you. This is your field underwriting. Don’t rush through the questions.
Jeff Root: Right. I’ll also add here that there are questionnaires out there that you can get from your BGA or IMO of all the impaired risks so you know exactly what to ask. If they have diabetes or something you never heard of, you can followup, sound like an expert, and get the right information so you do qualify them correctly. I just want to add that in there as well.
Todd Ewing: Absolutely. You’re perfectly right, Jeff. The other component of that is … This is your expertise. Anybody can know a prop, “Okay, it’s guaranteed for ten years. You can [inaudible 00:53:23] blah, blah, blah.” There’s nothing to that. You’re product knowledge is in your underwriting and knowing where do you go with a diabetic, where do you go with a blood pressure who also is overweight and takes a little bit of depression meds? Where do you go with family history? Do you know that like the back of your hand?
You want to be able to write impaired risk cases. You want to know that underwriting. You want to … It seems like a third of the population is diabetic. Master diabetes for sure. You want that client. All right. We’re just going to go through one more and that’s habit four. It’s my favorite one of all of them and then we’re going to pause at that point. Habit four is the fun part. It’s presenting the rates. It my opinion this is why you got into sales. This is why you’re not in customer service. There’s nothing better than closing a sale that only you make happen.
Think about it like this: it’s the high five, fist pumping, popping the sales for ceiling that comes with winning and being the best. I love that feeling like, “Hey, if he would have talked to anybody else he would have walked out. When he came to me I wrote the application.” Okay? The reason we master habits one through three are so you don’t have to think. Hear that again. You don’t have to think during the question section. Instead you spend your energy listening to the client so you know how to best present the right company and rate for their unique needs. The bottom line goal is to get the customer to say yes.
Every rate presentation absolutely must include the following … We can spend hours on this. This is the coaching, this is the magic. I call it the dance. Meaning the dance where we have the partner out there on the floor, the music starts, how do you dance with them? Is it a fast song, your put your hand on their shoulder, you put it on the small of their back. Do you hold hands? Do you touch their hair? What do you do? Do you move your feet a lot? What is the dance? The only way you know that is because you know your partner, you know the customer. Okay?
Every rate must include the following, here we go. I say this, “I got everything I need based on everything you told me. While we’re searching for the best rates I’m curious, Mr. Johnson, Joe, whatever, what’s most important to you? Are you looking for the highest quality protection? Do you want the top rated company? Do you want the rock bottom, lowest price? You want the fastest processing, the quickest way to get a policy? Or some combination of all of them? The greatest value. What’s most important to you?” Why do I ask that?
Jeff, the reason I ask that is I want to almost back them into a corner. I want to know what his pain point and what his sweet spot is. Whatever he tells me, I have that answer. It’s already in my arsenal. If he tells me he wants the lowest rate, I have Banner. I have whoever the lowest rate available. If he wants the fastest one I have a non med product. I have Fidelity, I have [inaudible 00:56:12], I have Phoenix, I have [inaudible 00:56:14], I have whomever right? Principle. If they want the highest rate then I have an A plus plus rated company. If they want a combination of all it’s whoever is working best for you at that time. Find out what it is they want. If they back out after you give it to them [inaudible 00:56:32] like you. [inaudible 00:56:34].
It works every time. Find out what it is that they want. Okay? Point number two: summarize their health profile and the factors that the carrier is considering. Here’s how it works: “Okay, Jeff. Based on everything you told me what I’m doing while the system is looking for the best company with the best rates here, I’m trying to find a company that is going to be the best for you for the blood pressure and for the fact that your father passed away before the age of sixty. Companies take that into effect and I want to make sure I match you with the right company. Does that make sense?” The guy is going to say, “Yes, it does.” I just told him what I’m doing and literally talking out loud, and thinking out loud, and expressing it to him.
Summarize their health profile. If they have issues [inaudible 00:57:23]. You say, “Great, you’re in awesome shape. I’m going to find you the best rate in the country.” That’s critical. Number three: you want to reiterate the desired coverage amount, the term, the beneficiary. “Okay, Jeff. Here. We’re looking for five hundred thousand coverage. That’s for your wife, Shelia. She’s going to receive the check, god forbid something happens to you. It’s for fifteen years of protection. That means the rate won’t change and the price won’t change for the next fifteen years. We’re going to get this policy for you as quickly as I can. I need just need to make sure I find the right company.”
I preface everything. I’ve created this whole picture for this guy. Hopefully he’s been writing it all down. Now I say, “Okay, if you have that pen handy here’s the best rate for you.” I’m almost making them wait on pins and needles. If you notice I don’t just blurt out the price. I took time to convey what it is that they want, why we’re going with this, and now I explain the name of the carrier and the background before I give the prices.
I give the name of the carrier and the background: “The company, Jeff, that’s offering the best value for you is TransAmerica. I’m sure you’ve heard of them.” I already mentioned them earlier, right? That’s in parentheses. “TransAmerica. You know they’re an A plus rated company, they’re the big pyramid building in San Francisco. They’ve never failed to pay a debt claim in the history of their company. They’ve been around for over a hundred years with five hundred billion applicants. They’re still one of the greatest companies out there.”
Whatever your spiel is about that company, know that. You’ve got to present it with conviction. Now he’s written down TransAmerica, Prudential, MetLife, whatever company it is that you’re working with. He’s on baited breath wanting to know what the price is. Here you need to give both the monthly and the annual rates. Almost everybody does their bills in monthly prices. It makes it a twelfth the size as well. Instead of being a thousand dollars it’s eighty-three dollars a month. Give both monthly and annual prices.
Point number seven, the most critical moment. I can’t teach this in five minutes. This is over and over, repetition, listen to the call, channeling it, understanding who your consumer is. Critical moment, do you give A or B choice? Do you use the undersell method? Do you work the power pause? Do you go for total silence? Do you tell them what to buy? Do you ask them if they’re ready? Do you use the assume consent approach? There’s so many different tactics here that are effective. You have to know your customer to know which one to deploy.
For me, I use two or three of them. I use the power pause. “The best rate for you is TansAmerica. It’s eighty-three dollars and thirteen cents a month or if you pay it annually you can get a four percent discount and it comes out to a thousand three dollars.” I would simply wait and not say a word. One time I literally waited for, I think, forty seconds for this really analytical guy. That’s a long time on the phone to pause. Guess what? After forty seconds he came back and he said, “All right. That sounds good. What do we need to do?” The power pause. First person that speaks loses. That’s one approach.
The other one that I like and I use a lot is the A B approach. “Okay, Jeff. Based on everything you told me I keyed that all up. Do you have that pen handy? Here’s the two companies that are pretty close together.” Now I would choose the lowest rate available and then I would choose a name brand company that’s quite a bit more. Back in my day it might be Midland Mutual Life, for example. “Okay, based on everything you told me, Midland is coming in with the very lowest rate available in the entire country. Midland Mutual Life, they’re an A plus rated company,” and I give the background, blah, blah, blah. “Their rate for five hundred thousand is this and this annual.
The other choice is with a company you’ve heard of called Travelers Life Insurance. [inaudible 01:01:06] company, blah, blah, blah. Their rate for the exact same coverage, exact same length of coverage is x. A hundred and thirteen dollars a month or thirteen hundred dollars annually. It’s totally up to you what you want to buy.” Then sometimes I would use a pause there.
Other times I would say, “You know what? Jeff, for my money and to really try to help you the most here, I’d buy the Midland. They’re the exact same rating, they’re the exact same policy, there’s nothing different in the policy. It’s exactly the same and, yet, you’re saving thirty dollars a month. Why spend more money than you need to? If money is no object then buy the Travelers. You know that company, whatever. It’s entirely up to you.” I’m using assumed consent there. I am absolutely implying and inferring that you’re going to buy one of them.
Jeff Root: Yup.
Todd Ewing: You get that? This is a dance. You’ve got to listen up front. Do you do the A B approach, do you do the power pause, or do you tell them what to do? If you have that level of trust and conviction, excuse me, you can literally tell them, “Okay, based on everything you told me the company I’d go with is Banner. They’re an A plus company, they’re this, they offer the best value for your situation, they’re the lowest price, blah, blah, blah. They’re the fastest.” Literally tell him what it is to buy.
You have to know which direction you’re going to go. This is the one part, in essence, that’s kind of unscripted; that doesn’t follow a traditional flow. It only works if you’ve been listening the whole time and know who your customer is to figure out which dance element you’re going to use here. It’s a critical moment. That has to take practice. Listen to tons of calls, profile them and see which one do you deploy at that time.
You have to allow for the customer response and manifest their affirmation. Once you present the rate you need them to say, “That sounds good,” or, “What do we need to do?” Or, “Let’s go with that.” You need a confirmation for them to make the sale themselves. You don’t want have them to feel like they were sold. You want them to feel like they bought it. Huge difference. Huge difference and you need them to say, “That sounds good.” You’re working towards that the entire time. Listen, if you’re getting a pattern of objections here you have to go back and you have to go remaster habits one and two, and even three to make sure that you’re clear on underwriting, why they’re getting the rates that they’re getting.
If you’re getting patterns of objections, “I need to think about it,” “I’m going to talk to my spouse,” “Can you send it to me in writing,” “I’m still shopping.” Whatever those are and there’s like twenty of them, right? You have to make sure that you go back and figure out where is that objection coming from and what do I need to refine in my presentation of habits one, two, and three so when I get to habit four; the dance, the presentation, I don’t get those. I do not believe, and let me re-emphasize that, I do not believe in trying to overcome objections. It’s too much work. It’s exhausting. It’s no fun at all. Who wants to fight with your customer?
Everybody thinks, “Oh, I can overcome objections.” Why have objections? If you do your job properly they should say, “Hey, thanks. I really appreciate it. This sounds great. Let’s do it.” That’s when you’ve done a really great job. Okay? Lastly, the close. All right. They say, “That sounds good.” Here’s your line, something like this: “Great. In order to get this policy for Cheryl it’s a simple process. Here’s what we need to do,” and you lead right into habit six. Habit five, if you haven’t figured it out, is handling objections. I don’t like to spend a ton of time on that because I don’t want you to have objections. Habit four is the dance, the presentation. Habit five is the presentation.
Habit six is really setting it all up while securing the sale. Habit seven is the wrap up and the tie down and getting confirmation that they are going to complete the process and actually give you referrals. We’ll get into that at another time. But one through four makes the sale and habit four is the fun one. That’s the one that you can literally play and put your own stamp, your own mark on it. Habits one through three, in all honesty, [inaudible 01:05:10] yourself in the car, you can practice in the mirror. You can do all that. You can almost have habits one, two, and three a dialogue with yourself, being the customer as well because you are in control.
The expression I use is PACE: professionalism, accountability or authority, control, and expertise. Professionalism, authority, control, expertise. You are in charge. Practice habits one, two, and three over and over so when you get to habit four you become the master. I don’t know about the timeline here. Jeff, I’m [inaudible 01:05:48] as I indicated. We can spend so much more time in depth and going through each on of the habits. We have habits five, six, and seven still to cover.
In closing I want to let everybody know that I love what we do, I love our industry. It is absolutely possible to transform your business model. There are tools and systems out there. It’s not about that. I did most of my sales using a piece of paper and a pen. There was no internet. We were using DOS back then. You can sell over the phone literally by talking to people. You can use a recorder, a pen and paper. If you have a platform all the better. I can help you build that. It’s all about the presentation. It’s remarkable to me that [inaudible 01:06:31] between the top agents and the bottom agents at every agency [inaudible 01:06:37] hundred eighty thousand, the next person is barely scraping by at thirty thousand dollars.
One person can sell thirty-two apps in a day like me. The girl sitting next to me sold three. The exact same day, the exact same leads. It’s all in your presentation. Hone that, master it. Really become the guru of the seven habits. Again, I’m here for you, I’m available to help build and enhance your model, expanding your distribution, increase your margins, and grow your business. You can create new heights with this technology available and with the tools that I provide. Jeff, if I may, I’d like to give them maybe my contact information. They can reach-
Yeah. Yeah. Give them your contact information and also let our listeners know exactly who you’re working with as well; if you’re working with individual agencies, BGAs, individual agents, and what you do with them.
Todd Ewing: Sure. Everybody, first let me give you my contact information. It is toddewing, may name. T-O-D-D E-W-I-N-G one, two, three. [email protected]. Again, [email protected]. Feel free to shoot me over a quick note. I do offer a complimentary consulting session with everybody. It’s fairly quick to determine and to define what it is you’re looking to accomplish, the model that you’re working on, how we can enhance it to help you build it. I have my own consultant team. [inaudible 01:08:09]. The top direct marketers across the the platform, LifeQuotes, E-Financial, Matrix, QuickLife Center, EndQuote.
You name it, I’ve worked with them. I’ve also worked with top BGAs and IMOs. I’ve been partners with [inaudible 01:08:26] brokers alliance, summit alliance. I’ve worked with almost all of them. They utilize me to help them build out their systems and tools and to effectively teach them how to be more successful, closing more deals. This is what I do. Feel free to reach out to me. We can set up an opportunity to go deeper to new opportunities and how we can work together to be successful.
I want to thank Jeff for this opportunity. There is a very good chance we’ll pick up another session and complete habits five, six, and seven with a quick refresher on all the seven habits. Then I also have another platform called the thirty-one flavors that give literally over thirty-one unique tips and tools that are different from the seven habits; how to close more sales and be more effective on the phone. Again, thanks again and I look forward to talking with you all again.
Jeff Root: Awesome. I appreciate everything you’ve shared with us, Todd. We’ll get you back on her pretty soon. Hopefully we’ll wrap this thing up and everybody, if you need some help, if you’re stuck, Todd is there. He is very accessible. I’ll have all the links to his email address and his website over at the show notes at selltermlife.com. Appreciate you, Todd, thanks a lot.
Todd Ewing: Thank you, Jeff. We’ll talk again.
Jeff Root: Okay.
Todd Ewing: Bye now.
People in the episode:
Mentioned on this episode:
- Subscribe via iTunes
- Tune on Stitcher Radio
- Grab the RSS Feed here
- Or use the player at the top of this page