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The 5 biggest challenges agents are facing now

Posted by Admin on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 @ 09:24 AM

blog pic Selling insurance is important but challenging work. In a competitive industry that’s changing rapidly, the obstacles are many. But knowledge is power, as they say, so in Retirement Advisor’s recent Advisor Survey we asked your peers to name these obstacles directly. The answers ran the gamut from specific product concerns to looming legislation worries to straightforward sales hurdles that would resonate equally with those who sell houses or medical equipment or tax planning advice.

Following are the five obstacles that independent insurance agents say are the most significant they’ll face this year, along with suggestions for how to meet them head-on.

  1. Lead generation (50.59%)
  2. The economy (44.71%)
  3. Health care reform (35.29%)
  4. Industry legislation (20.0%)
  5. Cap rates on indexed annuities (20.0%)



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Tags: health care reform, Sales Leads, sales advice

Do you want a happy client?

Posted by Admin on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 03:01 PM

blog pic Years ago, when I had just launched my speaking career, a friend shared the concept of the sold (and thereafter abused) customer with me. Now, the word abused may be a bit strong, but his point was well taken. For many customers, the pre-purchase experience is vastly superior to the post-purchase experience.

My belief is that customer service starts the moment the customer even thinks about doing business with you. Customer service isn’t just what happens after the sale, it’s also what happens leading up to the sale. And once it starts, it should continue through the entire life of your relationship with the customer.

Recently I had the pleasure of experiencing sales expert Joey Coleman present a speech on the “first 100 days.” This refers to the first 100 days after a customer pays for whatever you sell. The period of time between when the customer decides to buy from you and when he receives your product or service is when he is most likely to question his purchase. During this period, the customer may come to feel abused or neglected.

For example, you may have bought something on a website which took take several days or longer to arrive. Or you may have signed a contract to build a home but been forced to wait months before construction began. Coleman posits that your best opportunity for customer loyalty comes during these first 100 days. Of course, you need to manage the long-term experience, but this initial period is crucial.

The idea of the first 100 days is to create as many touch points as possible, which will enhance the experience for your customer. This is known as proactive customer service and it is the best recipe for customer loyalty.

So take your already-great customer service up a level by adding intentional customer interactions which will confirm in your customer’s mind that she has made the right decision to do business with you.



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Tags: Customer Retention, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships

The Secret to Overcoming Price Objection

Posted by Admin on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 @ 09:15 AM

blog pic Ok. This is false advertising. There is no secret to "overcoming” the price objection. The truth is that the price objection cannot be overcome. That is because it isn’t intended to be overcome. It is meant to be resolved through thought facilitation by a sales person. The sales person’s role is to help the prospect work through the price concern as opposed to attempting to overcome it.

First, can we agree that it isn’t really an objection? It is a concern. I know that many sales books call it an objection, but it is not. It is an attempt by the prospect to resolve financial questions in their mind. People want to feel good about decisions they make and that is why concerns are brought up.

The mistake many sales people make is that they think they understand the prospect’s concern when the price issue is initially raised. A fatal flaw, indeed! The truth is that the cause for this concern isn’t initially known. A myriad of possibilities could be causing this to come up now such as:

  • Is it a question of how much use they will get of the product?
  • Is it whether or not they can afford it?
  • Is it that they saw a similar product at a cheaper price?
  • Or is it a sales person being hyper-sensitive to the mere mention of price?

There are others, but you get the point. The bottom line is that without knowing what is causing the price concern, you can’t possibly help the prospect work it through. To share a personal example, I live in Minnesota where owning a boat is commonplace. To me, however, it is expensive. It isn’t the price of the boat, or the cost of maintenance, or even the price of the slip. It is the fact that the season for boating is so short that I don’t feel I would get enough usage out of it to make it worth the financial investment.

On the other hand, I bought Peg Perego, motorized cars for my three kids. Each one had a $300 price tag on it. Expensive to some, but cheap to me. Why? Because I’m rich? Hardly. No, it is because my kids use them, a lot! From my perspective, it’s worth every penny! If I get significant utility out of something, I can justify the price in my mind. At the other end of the spectrum, like most parents, I have also bought tons of toys in the $20 price range that have been used once, maybe twice. After that, the toys are never touched again. To me, that is expensive.

Some other price concerns center on whether or not the prospect can financially afford the product. A good sales person will facilitate the conversation that helps the prospect to recognize the options available to them for financing the purchase.

In other scenarios, the prospect has seen the same product, or a similar one, at a lower price. The human mind tries to make everything into an easy to understand commodity. When I worked in employment background screening, prospects would compare a $9.95 database search with a comprehensive courthouse search. The comparison of the two was apples and oranges. The strong salespeople were able to explain the difference in a way that led prospects to see that they needed the comprehensive search. The $9.95 search can be perceived as very expensive since you rarely catch any bad guys with it.

The worst case is when the salesperson does not believe that his product is worth its price tag. If this hits home for you, I highly encourage you to look to be somewhere else. If you don’t believe in your price, I guarantee you that no one else will either. If you believe that all sales ultimately come down to price, help me to understand this:

Why doesn’t everyone buy generic drugs?

Why do people buy bottled water when they can get it for free from the tap?

Why doesn’t everyone drive a Yugo?

Why are people buying satellite radio when there are plenty of good stations available for free?

How come most people have cable or satellite television when they can get a dozen tv stations for free?

Why isn’t everyone shaving with a single-blade disposable razor?

Why isn’t everyone drinking generic coffee?

Why isn’t everyone fighting to sit in the last row at the ballgame?

Why do people even go to a ballgame when they can watch it comfortably for free in their living room?

How did your company get any clients at all...unless you are the low price provider?

I think you get my point. Thus, you really do believe that someone will pay more if they feel the purchase is worth the price. Maybe you can’t afford the product you are selling. That is a completely different issue. There is a great expression that goes along with that. "Don’t spend the prospect’s money.” You don’t belong in their shoes, so don’t put yourself there. You never truly know a person’s financial situation.

Look, no one wants to get ripped off. And everyone wants to brag that they got a good deal. So, if you can master the discussion around the pricing concern, you will inherently have more sales.



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Tags: price objection,, plan g mep supp,

2015's 50 best ways to generate leads

Posted by Admin on Thu, Feb 05, 2015 @ 09:55 AM

blog pic As you start looking for new business in 2015, you need fresh ideas for generating leads. has compiled the 50 best lead generation tips from submissions by readers and industry leaders, that can help you have your most successful year yet.

  • Pick a niche. Pick a niche and focus on it 100 percent. It can be a health issue like multiple sclerosis or an occupational risk like helping pilots. Lots of agents are taking this approach and seeing fantastic results.
  • Find 25-year-old health insurance prospects. Chasing the elusive Millennials as they are about to age off their parents' health plan at age 26? This is a highly desirable insurance risk, and a competitive market segment.
  • Use Facebook to generate leads. Create a group targeting a very specific audience. Since Facebook has so much data on its users, you can access that data as an advertiser. Take this a step further and create a niche website targeting that audience, too.
  • Stop asking CPAs for referrals. You want leads from CPAs? Then stop asking them for referrals and instead focus on helping them deliver more value to their clients by allowing them to offer proactive and holistic advice.
  • Network strategically. Networking should be limited to two types of groups and events: (1) Where you can interact with prospective clients and, (2) Where you can interact with professionals who work with your prospective clients.



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Tags: Sales Tips, Leads, Sales Leads, sales advice

Google & Amazon could change the way we buy life insurance

Posted by Admin on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 @ 09:34 AM

blog pic Ask more than 50 industry leaders for their thoughts on the life insurance market, and you’re bound to get a wide range of answers. But if there’s one thing on which many of them agree, it’s that change is coming. We’re not talking small product tweaks here; we’re talking industry-shaking revolution. In an age when technology is advancing rapidly and consumers demand immediate, customized attention, this is necessary. It’s also pretty exciting.

A LIMRA study conducted last fall asked a diverse mix of life insurance executives, distributors, reinsurers and other financial leaders this question: Do you believe an outside source like Google or Amazon will be a disruptive force in the life insurance market in the next five years? Fifty-seven percent said yes. Moreover, a 2013 LIMRA study revealed that 21 percent of middle market consumers would be willing to buy life insurance online from a non-traditional source such as Google or Amazon.

All of this points to the fact that insurance may very well be on the verge of becoming a whole lot sexier. Andreessen Horowitz recently included insurance on a list of the 16 tech trends it’s most excited about for 2015. The scope of opportunity is huge, and companies outside the industry are starting to notice. But that doesn’t mean these newcomers will corner the market. It may very well be the stalwarts of the industry who capitalize on all this potential and deliver the products consumers need, in the way they need them.

Why is the market ripe for disruption now? Here are five reasons.

  1. Consumers need life insurance, but aren’t buying enough of it.
  2. People are starved for time.
  3. We all want to engage differently.
  4. Technology is providing insight that we’ve never had before.
  5. Consumers love crowdfunding.



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Tags: insurance projections, google insurance,, amazon insurance,, future of insurance,

8 ways to beat procrastination

Posted by Admin on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 10:57 AM

blog pic You’re probably looking at your to-do list and getting a little bit anxious. There’s a lot to do today and, it might seem, not enough hours in the day to do it. Breathe and take a step back. Prioritizing will help you figure out what’s most important to do right now … or was tackling the most difficult task first, the right way to do it?

A recent infographic from NeoMam Studios, a U.K.-based company that specializes in creating infographics that merge data from various sources, reveals that as many as one in five adults may be chronic procrastinators. The infographic gathered information from sources such as,, and other publications.

And, get this: Contrary to popular belief, procrastination doesn’t necessarily equal laziness. Inaction is often caused by anxiety, fear of failure or negative perfectionism, according to the infographic.

But how you can stop the stress of not getting things done? Having faith in yourself, living in the present and setting realistic goals you can successfully achieve are some of the steps to stop procrastination in its tracks. And though NeoMam focused their inforgraphic on helping students break the vicious procrastination cycle, if it works for pre-teens that are full of energy or for neuro-surgeons in training, these solutions can work for you too. We have condensed the list to eight steps:

  1. Know yourself

  2. Commit to tasks

  3. Be realistic

  4. Self-talk positively

  5. Swiss-cheese tasks

  6. Don't indulge fantasies

  7. Plan for obstacles

  8. Help yourself, reward your progress and learn to forgive yourself



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Turn Your All-Star Clients Into Brand Advocates in 5 Simple Steps

Posted by Admin on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 @ 11:07 AM

blog pic A single voice can be a powerful tool, and in sales, the strongest voices belong to your customers.

According to MarketShare’s “Quantifying the Role of Social Voice in Marketing Effectiveness” whitepaper, offline word of mouth has a direct impact on financial outcomes, even more so than social media or traditional marketing. That means that vocal advocates for brands influence sales — period.

As a great salesperson, you need to build a foundation of brand advocates who will provide you with referrals. The result: more loyal customers and more sales. But you can’t pay for advocacy — it will only devalue your brand, and it’s unethical. Instead, you have to build strong relationships organically with your leads and clients through personal, healthy relationships.

Connect With Leads on a Deeper Level

The process of building brand advocates starts with establishing meaningful connections with your leads. Keep in mind that every salesperson is vying for potential customers’ attention, so you must make a memorable impression to stand out.

That being said, rather than viewing leads as potential sales, view them as real people, and act accordingly. Be friendly and personable; ask questions to learn more about them on a personal level, and share things about yourself that they’ll remember. Knowing your leads — their habits and preferred ways of doing business — will eventually turn them into your best clients because they’ll know that you view them as more than just another source of revenue.

Once those leads become your customers, go through your client list and identify your all-stars. These clients are passionate about what they do and have strong business ethics. It’s also important to pay attention to clients who contact you with great feedback and questions. After all, they care about your business enough to help you improve your business practices.

Turn All-Stars Into Advocates

Once you’ve identified your all-star clients, encourage referrals by letting them know how much you appreciate them. Here are a five ways to inspire your clients to advocate for you:

  1. Ask for their opinions. Let your best clients know that their opinions matter by asking for constructive feedback. Whether you’re testing a new product or service or trying to improve current processes, gather input from your clients. This will not only help your business, but it will also forge stronger relationships because they’ll recognize that you respect their input.

  2. Acknowledge them. Publicly acknowledge and honor your advocates in email newsletters or on social media. You can even feature them on your website. These clients will know they’re valued and will be more willing to refer you to their network.

  3. Spend time with them. As you work to build deeper relationships with your best clients, it’s important to spend face-to-face time with them. Take them to lunch, host exclusive events, or invite them to spend time with your company’s leadership. Face time with your best clients will build your relationship and increase loyalty (and their willingness to refer you).

  4. Provide them with early access and sneak peeks. Keep your advocates in the loop by letting them in on company news in advance. Sneak peeks and early access to new services and products can go a long way in making clients feel valued and important.

  5. Give them exclusive discounts. Honor your top customers’ loyalty by giving them price breaks and exclusive discounts. This will encourage them to continue doing business with you and motivate others to become top-valued customers because of the associated perks.

Turn your clients into advocates by making sure they feel a sense of ownership when they interact with your products. Building solid relationships with your top clients by spending time with them, providing exclusive information and discounts, and asking for their input will increase brand loyalty and encourage them to become your biggest word-of-mouth salespeople.



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Tags: Building Client Relationships, sales advice

Follow these lead generation tips for more business in 2015

Posted by Admin on Thu, Jan 08, 2015 @ 11:50 AM

blog picWith so many strategies and schools of thought out there on how to generate new (and returning) clients, building one’s book of business can seem like a daunting task. Lead generation is not just about investing time and effort while providing as much value as possible—it’s also about making sure your value is conveyed up-front. Otherwise, your message is falling on deaf ears. Take a look at how these three advisors have generated more business by investing in their current clients, covering all the planning bases, and partnering with pivotal centers of influence.

Retention brings acquisition

For Michael Morrow, CFP, of Morrow Financial in Ontario, Canada, focusing on current clientele is the best way to keep his business growing. Ninety percent of his efforts go to looking after his clients, which he says keeps his retention rate high and brings in referrals. “If I improve my client retention from 97 percent to 98 percent this year,” Morrow says, “that means I lost 1 percent fewer clients this year. In 10 years, that is 10 percent fewer that I didn’t need to replace.”

The holistic picture

While holistic planning means different things to different advisors, Jeff Warnkin, CPA, CFP of Avon, Ohio, says it involves integrated planning so that “the clients don’t have to go to four or five different professionals and get all sorts of potentially conflicting advice.” Warnkin, alongside his colleagues at The JL Smith Group, offers tax preparation as well as Medicare Supplement assistance to his clients, which in turn creates leads for his retirement and financial planning practice.

Adding value and influence

When it comes to Warnkin’s value-add events, what used to be lunch-and-learns are now dinner-and-learns. “I’ve found that almost all of my retirees are busier when they retire than when they were working,” he says. “We were getting the same people to lunch-and-learns, only about 12-15 people total. Once we switched it to an evening dinner-and-learn format, it immediately jumped to 30-40 people. These dinners are first and foremost client appreciation events where we give back and let them know we appreciate their loyalty and trust,” Warnkin says. “One of the things that suffers when people retire is their social interactions. Here, clients make connections with each other, and that’s going to translate out into the community, as well.”



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Tags: Sales Tips, Sales Leads

Happy Holidays from Precision Senior Marketing

Posted by Admin on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 @ 10:53 AM

blog picIn celebration of the Holiday, our office will be closed Wednesday December 24th through Friday December 26th. We will resume normal business hours Monday December 29th.

We want you to know that we truly value your business and appreciate the opportunity to serve your needs. Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season and an even better 2015.

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Tags: Holiday Blog

Long-in-the-Tooth Dental Advice

Posted by Admin on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

blog picTerry O’Brien, 73, a retired administrative assistant in Billerica, Mass., recently had to make a tough decision about her dental care.

“I always took care of my teeth,” she said. But even so, she was told she needed a crown — an artificial cap — at a cost of about $2,000.

Since she and her husband lack dental coverage, she opted for a less expensive filling. She worries, however, about how she will fund dental care long term. “I’ll make 100, I bet,” she said. “But I wonder how long my teeth will last.”

Older Americans face such situations often, because many people over age 65 lack dental insurance. Only about 10 percent of retirees have dental benefits from their former employer, according to Oral Health America, a nonprofit advocacy group.

And 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries had not seen a dentist in five years, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in 2012. The main factor is the cost of care, said Tricia Neuman, a Medicare policy expert with the foundation. Continue reading the main story Related Coverage

Traditional Medicare, the federal health program for older adults and people with disabilities, doesn’t cover routine dental care or dentures. Some Medicare managed care plans offer coverage, but it is often limited to preventive care like cleanings. Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people, may cover some dental care for adults, but benefits vary by state. Individual plans are available, but they typically cap payments at low levels and may not cover any advanced treatments, like implants to replace lost teeth.

That means most older Americans must pay for dental care out of their pockets.

According to 2013 data from the American Dental Association, which surveyed private dentists, the average cost of a basic examination is about $45, while a cleaning is $85. X-rays are another $27; a tooth-colored filling is $149, while a silver filling is about $125. Costs vary widely, however, depending on the market.

Artificial implants average about $4,000 per tooth, the A.D.A. found. But the bill can be much higher, after adding anesthesia and related treatments like bone grafts. Implants involve inserting a metal screw into the jawbone to serve as the foundation for a replacement crown.

Implants are an economic impossibility for some patients, said Beth Truett, chief executive of Oral Health America. But, “If they can afford it, they are a great solution to maintaining not only that tooth, but the teeth around it.” A full set of teeth for an adult is 28 (32 if you still have your wisdom teeth), and you should have at least 22 teeth to eat properly, she said. Once a tooth is lost, nearby teeth bear additional strain and it gets more difficult to chew; that leads to a cycle of poor nutrition and further tooth loss, she said.

Ed Decker, 69, a retired hospital pharmacist in Ashland, Mass., said he had poor dental health his entire life and had budgeted to make dental care a priority. “I think my family was born with marshmallows instead of teeth,” he said. Ultimately, he lost so many teeth he couldn’t chew, and had 10 implants, at a total cost of about $50,000. He was able to pay for it, he said, because of successful investments recommended by his financial adviser. “When you put in an implant, it’s like having a natural tooth,” he said. Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

Judith Jones, a professor at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine and an authority on dental care for older people, recommends that after age 65, the bare minimum level of care needed is a professional examination and cleaning at least once a year. Poor mouth health has been linked to other ailments, like heart disease and diabetes.

Patients should brush at least twice a day for two minutes, she said. If older people aren’t able to do it themselves, family members or caregivers should assist them. Basic mouth hygiene, including daily flossing, is important to maintain healthy gums and remove tartar and plaque, which traps bacteria and can lead to infections.

People also need to be aware of the possibility of being pressured into unnecessary treatment. To find a reputable dentist, you may want to ask your doctor or your friends for a referral. And be skeptical of treatment that sounds overly aggressive. “If you go in and they want to replace every filling in your head, you should get a second opinion,” said Athena Papas, co-head of geriatric dentistry at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

However, she noted, patients who haven’t been to the dentist for several years may have a real need for restoration work, particularly if they are on multiple prescriptions. Some medications can cause a reduction in saliva, which can promote development of cavities.

One way to limit costs for replacement teeth is to have implants on the lower jaw, and use dentures to replace upper teeth, said Dr. Papas; it’s easier to keep upper dentures in place.

Older adults on tight budgets generally should avoid cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening, dentists say. But many dismiss the idea that older people don’t need to spend on oral care because they are near the end of their lives. Patients who are in their 80s, but who are fit and have a healthy lifestyle, can benefit from technologically advanced dental care “because it is estimated that they will have another 10-15 years of life span,” Helena Tapias-Perdigón, an assistant professor at the Baylor College of Dentistry at Texas A&M Health Science Center, said in an email.

Some dental schools offer discounted treatment, although some require deposits and may have waiting lists. The American Dental Association lists accredited schools on its website.

You can also ask dentists if they offer a payment plan. But read the fine print of any discount program, said Jim Quiggle, a spokesman for the nonprofit Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, since some programs offer little in the way of true savings.

Looking for Competitive Dental Plans to Offer Your Clients?


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Tags: dental hearing and vision insurance, dental advice, dental

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