The hardest part of the job for a life insurance agent is finding good leads. No matter if you know life insurance inside and out and can explain the nuances of your product with impeccable clarity, you can't survive without leads. Knowing how to find and use leads is more important now than ever because sales are increasingly moving online, so that agents are competing with computers for sales.
The life insurance market is notoriously saturated with hundreds upon hundreds of agents competing for the attention of precious few qualified prospects. Getting in front of these prospects before your competition is vital if you want a lucrative, long-term career in this business. Remember that training in the industry, which pays an average $52,180 a year, is said to be only "moderate."
The following methods represent the best ideas to consider for finding life insurance leads. Below each method is a description of how it works, along with its pros and cons.
- In the competitive field of insurance, one of the most challenging parts of being an agent is finding good leads.
- Signing new customers is crucial to having a successful career in the insurance industry.
- LinkedIn is one way to find new leads, but it takes engagement and hard work to penetrate this robust networking website.
- Different lead generation methods will work depending on the agent's sale style, local market, knowledge, and specialty.
Company Life Insurance Leads
Perhaps the easiest way to assure yourself of a steady lead flow as an agent is to work for a company that provides its reps with leads. Many life insurance agencies use the promise of leads to entice prospective agents during the recruiting process. While the idea of not having to prospect for business on your own is alluring, the pictures companies paint about their lead programs are almost always more attractive than the reality.
Working for a company that provides sales leads offers several benefits.
- First, you don't risk your own money on leads that might not convert to sales. Companies that offer leads typically do so without charging agents up-front fees.
- Second, not having to compare lead providers and lead costs frees up more of your day to do what actually makes you money: contacting prospects and selling them life insurance.
- Finally, because your employer is the one spending money on these leads, it has a vested interest in your closing as many of them as possible. This means the company is much more likely to provide support and assistance if you encounter difficulty in the sales process.
However, the fact that company leads have no up-front charges doesn't mean they're free. When you receive leads from your employer, the company almost always lowers your commission in exchange.
If you are just starting out and you have shaky sales skills, this might be a good deal because paying for leads may burn through your money before you earn significant commissions. For good salespeople, however, company leads tend to cost more in forfeited commissions than what they would pay upfront for third-party leads.
Company leads also have a reputation for being old and worked to death. The turnover rate at most life insurance agencies is astronomical: the average new agent lasts less than 90 days. When an agent quits, the company reclaims his leads and often redistributes them to the next batch of new agents. By the time you get your hands on a company lead, it may have already been called by a half-dozen or more ex-agents.
If your company does not provide leads, or if it does but you are not happy with the quality, third-party companies exist whose sole business is selling leads to life insurance agents. The way it usually works is you give the company your zip code, how far you are willing to travel to meet with prospects, and how many leads you want to order. You pay upfront, and the company gives you a stack of leads within your specified geographic boundaries.
The biggest benefit of buying third-party leads is the lead provider, unlike an employer that provides leads, does not take a hefty chunk of your commissions in exchange. For a salesperson with a high closing rate, the lead cost becomes a small fraction of the commissions he earns.
Another benefit offered by most lead generation companies is the ability to specify lead attributes such as age, income, and desired benefit amount.
Some companies offer the choice between exclusive leads, which means they are only sold to you, and nonexclusive leads, which means they also get sold to other agents. Exclusive leads are much more expensive, but you have less competition for their business.
The main drawback of third-party leads is the risk you will experience. You pay for them upfront, which means if you do not sell any of them, you effectively have a negative paycheck for the week. New agents who have not yet honed their sales skills are particularly susceptible to this risk.
Finding Prospects on LinkedIn
To acquire new customers from LinkedIn, you have to know how to use the site to its full capabilities.
Make Your Profile Robust
You want your profile to stand out. By the time a person is done reading it, he should feel like he knows you as a person and a professional, even if he has never met you. First, upload a picture that exemplifies you as a professional. This means no beach pictures, no pictures with friends and certainly no selfies. While you do not need a glamour shot or a top-dollar photographer, you should pay the small fee to have a professional headshot from a reputable studio.
Next, take the time to write a thoughtful summary. Your summary section should provide rich details about your professional background. This is where you tell visitors who you are, why you got into life insurance sales and what you have accomplished in the field. Without a thoughtful summary, many visitors do not continue scrolling to read the specifics of your job history.
Speaking of job history, do not simply list job titles and dates of employment. This section should read like a resume, with bullet points highlighting your accomplishments in each position, but make your writing more casual and conversational. This does not mean devolve into text-speak, but you want your visitors to feel like they are having a conversation with you over coffee, not reading a boring rundown of your professional accomplishments.
Do Not Simply Join Groups, Engage
The site's group search function allows you to find groups related to your industry, your college and even your hobbies. Simply joining these groups is not going to build your network or get you leads.
By joining the discussion and contributing thoughtful comments, you gain the trust of others in the group and establish yourself as an industry expert. When you are considered an expert, professionals in related fields feel confident sending business your way; having someone like you in their network makes them look good by extension.
Offer Your Knowledge for Free
The LinkedIn forums provide a place where you can offer industry advice to those searching for it. Make use of this function, but do not come across like a pushy salesman. As you answer more questions and contribute more knowledge, you can expect people to contact you for help based on the expertise you have shown.
Maintain Relationships With Your Contact List
If the only time you contact the people on your list is when specifically asking for leads or referrals, you are doing LinkedIn wrong. Reach out to those on your list when they need help with something, or simply to say hello, wish a happy birthday or congratulate on a recent promotion.
When these contacts have life insurance businesses to refer to, they are most likely to send it to the agent with whom they enjoy the most active and meaningful relationship.
Watch for Important Life Changes
Sometimes a seemingly trivial social media post can provide an important clue that a person needs your services as a life insurance agent. Take the ever-present sonogram picture, for example. A new arrival signals a huge increase in a person's financial burden over the next 18 years. This is an ideal time to reach out to this contact, once again in a non-pushy tone, congratulate him on the big news and let him know you are there for anything he needs.
Networking With Other Professionals
Networking with other professionals provides a great way to procure life insurance leads without cold calling, relying on overworked company leads or spending your own money.
Example of a Professionals Networking Group
These groups are often diverse. Your networking group might feature a personal injury lawyer, a tax accountant, a chiropractor, a personal trainer, a plumber, a physical therapist, and you, a life insurance agent.
Suppose the personal trainer in your networking group is guiding a client through a set of bicep curls when the client makes an offhanded comment about a recent medical scare and then says his kids would not be able to afford college if he were gone.
The tax accountant might be helping a client with retirement budgeting when the client casually mentions his savings are insufficient for a proper burial. If the networking group functions like it is supposed to, both of these professionals have your business card on hand and use the opportunity to recommend your services to their clients who obviously need them.
In exchange, when one of your clients comments about needing a plumber or wanting to get in shape, you return the favor by recommending a group member.
What are some pros and cons of company leads?
On the pro side, company leads typically are free so if you're starting out you don't risk your own money on leads that might not convert to sales. Not having to compare lead providers and lead costs frees up more of your time to sell life insurance.
On the con side, they may be old and worked to death. When an agent quits, the company reclaims his leads and may distribute them to the new agents. By the time you get your hands on a company lead, it may have already been called by a half-dozen or more ex-agents.
How should you leverage LinkedIn to generate leads?
Use a good professional profile photo. Make your job history read like a resume, showing bullet points of accomplishments and not just a list of previous employers. Write a good summary with rich details about your professional background. And don't simply join groups—engage! Join the conversation.
How does an agent maintain a personal touch to find leads?
- When checking your contact list, reach out when people need help with something, or simply to say hello, wish a happy birthday or congratulate on a recent promotion. When these contacts have life insurance businesses to refer to, they are most likely to send it to the agent with whom they enjoy the most active and meaningful relationship.
Join a networking group, where folks from diverse professions help each other with needed services and contacts. Different lead generation methods will work depending on the agent's sale style, local market, knowledge, and specialty.
The Bottom Line
The good news is numerous methods exist for finding life insurance leads. As for which of these methods is best, the answer depends on the individual agent. Different lead generation methods are going to work better for you than others based on your local market, level of competition, sales style, and the niche you are targeting.