Life insurance is often a subject upon which neither prospects nor financial advisors care to dwell. Product designs can be complex, and events that trigger benefits don’t exactly evoke the most pleasant images, unlike retirement planning ads that contain sailboats and strolls on the beach. However, the need for life insurance exists across a large segment of consumers who generate income and borrow money. Finding ways to increase life sales reverts back to some time-tested methods and involves a few new wrinkles to help advisors tap evolving markets.

1. Know Your Stuff

Find a product and learn it inside-out. Prospects are impressed with advisors who possess a thorough knowledge of the contracts they promote. Variable universal life (VUL) policy designs and riders are complex, but educating yourself on features, benefits and sub-accounts helps move sales opportunities forward. Aimlessly pivoting between products may muddle the presentation.

Develop the habit of conveying policy benefits to potential buyers in plain terms. Rather than using industry jargon and acronyms, discover a way to engage prospects without sacrificing transparency. Buyers need to know what they’re getting. Less confusion at the point of sale aids in sales successes, as well as policy retention.

2. Hone Your Presentation Skills

Putting prospective clients at ease in an appointment setting translates into improved closing ratios. Before launching into a formal presentation, finding some common interests is an effective way to connect with potential buyers. The sales track should be organized, simplified and most importantly, brief. A 2015 study by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) revealed that a human's attention span lasts eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000.

Avoid dominating the conversation in the sales meeting. Through open-ended questions, involve the prospect in the process and retain interest through interaction. A 2014 barometer survey conducted by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) found that 40% of consumers are intimidated by the buying experience. Candid discourse between advisors and potential purchasers helps ease anxiety and facilitate sales.

3. Have a Story

Many seasoned advisors have relatable stories that humanize the life insurance purchasing process. The tales don't necessarily have to center around tragedy. After all, life insurance policies have living benefits, as well: providing liquidity for emergencies or supplementing retirement income. On the other hand, some buyers are moved by emotion. Parents want to see their children attend college and spouses wish to ease the fiscal burden for their partners. Most advisors have had to deliver a check that helped to stabilize the lives of beneficiaries. Be prepared to tell your story when the proper circumstances arise.

4. Create a Partnership

It's true that the best advertising is free. Word of mouth goes far in building a client base. Going it alone can be cumbersome, especially when your strengths may extend to financial products and services other than life insurance. If this is the case, pursue a symbiotic relationship with an advisor who specializes in life insurance sales. The partnership may spawn a small referral network from which sales increase and split commissions flow. Adopting a team approach and creating synergies lets clients know that you are a committed fiduciary.

5. Leverage Social Media

Successful life insurance sales remain a numbers game. The more prospects you solicit, the more likely you are to close deals. With the crush of digital advertising, social media platforms such as Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) offer an effective means for inexpensively marketing services to thousands of buyers within your geographic area. Take advantage of the fact that most people own mobile devices and log in frequently during the day. The era of "smiling and dialing" is over.