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Editorials by the Skipper

Frustrated Agent

STOP don’t drink the Kool-Aid

We’ve all heard the Kool-Aid “…use our leads and systems and you’ll make $100’s of $1000’s of dollars a year.” Only to find we’re coming up short and over $2000 in debt buying those leads. They didn’t tell you that those leads have been previously worked and continue to be resold to agents even now. Their answer to why you’re not having success “…it’s your fault”, “…you’re not calling enough”, “…everyone else is succeeding.”

Then after asking for help, you’re ghosted. They stop answering your calls, answering your emails and never return your calls. Why? Because they have no idea how to help. They have no idea how to coach you into being successful. They’re being taught to recruit and see who is successful and those that aren’t to just move on to the next person. They’ll ignore your request for a release so you can move on to an IMO that actually can help you. Forcing you to have to wait the six months before you can self-release.

Joining groups such as these is no reflection on you. After all the Kool-Aid message can be quite compelling. The old adage of “If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is” fits perfectly. They’re taking advantage of your situation just to get you contracted and start buying leads.

These IMO’s make lots of money on selling and reselling leads. They also sell point-of-service leads which are from past agents, and now you, whom they ghosted but sold a few policies to replace those polices you wrote. Their attitude is “ethics be damned” replace the polices.

If you were lucky enough to find an IMO to help you succeed, you’re now saddled with chargeback debt and a possible Vector preventing you from future contracting and advancing. I wish there was an easy way around this issue, but unfortunately, there is not. You’re responsible for paying back any outstanding debt.

To avoid this very unpleasant experience, do your research before signing up submitting any contracts. Ask specific questions regarding their leads – “…are they exclusive to me?”, “…are they fresh or have they been already worked?” Ask whether they have mentors you can talk too. How does their mentorship program work? Do they have a release policy and what is it and where is it stated. Note: don’t ask for a release document up-front. If you do the IMO will move on to the next candidate. Respectable IMO’s will not want to work with someone who already wants one foot out the door before they’ve written their first policy.

The best IMO for independent insurance agents is knowledgeable on product, knowledgeable on presentation, has the tools for you to succeed, and can provide the level support you’re looking for.

Life Insurance Needs Analysis

Senior Needs Analysis – Is it necessary?

A question I receive often is whether doing a needs analysis while working the senior market is really necessary. The short answer is without a doubt absolutely.

Most of us work, as primary life insurance markets, Mortgage Protection and Final Expense focusing on the senior market. This is where most of the lead generating vendors focus their lead acquisition. Why? Because the senior market responds.

The senior market contains people already in retirement, soon to be retired or retiring in the next 10 to 20 years. They have experienced the loss of a close relationship either family or friend. They have experienced the loss of retirement savings due to market volatility.

These are the people that lost thousands of dollars in 2008, saw gains up until 2019 and it’s been a roller-coaster ever since. People are looking for alternatives to keep their retirement savings and if you are not talking about it…you’re leaving money on the table.

We should be asking questions by using a Fact Finder that get people thinking about what would happen if a Long-Term Care event took place and how that affects retirement savings. How an unplanned for unexpected death will affect their savings.

Will they need to move into a senior care apartment, or do they want to age in place? Be ready to tell them the cost of each and how that cost would affect retirement monies.

What would it mean to them if they never out lived their retirement savings? What would it mean if they never lost another dime in retirement savings and could grow their retirement tax-deferred? Do they wish to maintain their current lifestyle into retirement?

Those potential clients nearing retirement are thinking…”do we have enough money to retire?” Does their plan cover the cost of increasing inflation? Have they planned for an unexpected event?

Make no mistake, completing a needs analysis takes more time, but it also sets you apart from the agent that focuses on the one need of Final Expenses or Mortgage Protection. If this where your leads are coming from then yes, you must address this first.

So how does the above statement fit into conducting a needs assessment? At the end of your initial presentation say, “…now that we have this covered let me ask…” Start your analysis questioning.

Be prepared to tell them what social security income they can expect, and the limitations of additional earnings should they start taking social security income before they are fully eligible. Let them know how a permanent life insurance policy or an Annuity can help supplement social security income.

A needs analysis does not need to be long just a few questions will lead to more questions. Your clients will appreciate the concern you have in looking out for their best interest. You are their insurance agent. You’re a cut above the rest.

In the end being a cut above means your policies are less likely to be replaced, it becomes easier to get referrals, and will lead to additional sales down the road.

Shifting from a Captive to an Independent Insurance Agent

Guidelines for Shifting from a Captive to an Independent Insurance Agent

When it comes to selling life insurance, there are essentially two routes to consider – the well-trodden path of the captive agent or the expansive horizon of the independent agent. Each road has its unique landscapes and potential pitfalls. Let’s journey through both to help steer your career decision.

Embracing the Captive Lane

Being a captive agent is like cruising down a familiar lane, under the banner of big names like Northwestern Mutual or New York Life. On this road, you get a deep dive into a specific product suite, which often leads to a more profound expertise. Everything is streamlined. From one rulebook to navigate to a simplified process, there's a clear route. Moreover, the massive brand campaigns of these giants amplify your reach, giving you a sort of reflective glow. It’s comforting to have systems tailor-made for sales and service. Plus, there are those added perks like health benefits. But it's not all smooth sailing. You're restricted to a limited menu of offerings, which can sometimes make it hard to fit unique client needs. Also, if you ever decide to switch lanes and go independent, you might have to bid adieu to your renewal income.

Navigating the Independent Highway

The independent Agent route? Think of it as a multi-lane highway. You have the freedom to align with various insurance brands, usually facilitated by an insurance marketing organization (IMO). This route grants you a certain autonomy, allowing you to choose carriers that fit your client's needs best. You get to be the unbiased advisor, with no particular brand leaning. It's a journey that might even let you pocket higher commissions. Plus, you're not just an agent; you're an entrepreneur with a chance to explore new markets. But with freedom comes responsibility. The challenge of juggling multiple carriers can be likened to administrative gymnastics. It's not easy being a master of all trades, and sometimes, you might find yourself grappling with ever-evolving product suites.

When you embark on the journey of independence in the insurance arena, you're not merely changing lanes — you're stepping into the shoes of a business mogul. You're not just an agent tethered to a desk; you're the visionary behind an enterprise. Let’s dive deeper into this transformation.

Charting the Transition

Considering the leap from being a captive agent to an independent one? The shift is more than just a career move; it’s a personal journey. Start with a moment of introspection. Do you find solace in the security of the known, or does the allure of the uncharted pull at your heartstrings? Your answer will shape your trajectory.

Once your heart and mind are in sync, the real work begins. Plunge headfirst into researching carrier options, and align with those that mirror your aspirations. Picking the right Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO) is pivotal. You'll want a partner that not only provides access to multiple carriers but also offers unwavering support as you navigate the independent seas.

And as you transition, your brand might call for a revamp. This could range from updating your website to redefining your service offerings. It’s akin to repainting your business facade, ensuring it truly represents the new you.

  1. Mastering Product Terrain: The world of independent insurance is vast, with myriad products and tools to get acquainted with. Dive deep into the offerings of various carriers. Understand the intricacies of each policy and stay updated with agent resources. In this dynamic landscape, knowledge is your compass.
  2. Streamlining Digital Interactions: Today's insurance world thrives on digital efficiency. Ensure you’re integrated with essential carrier platforms. Such digital synergies don’t just elevate client experiences but also boost your operational efficiency, making real-time tracking and support a breeze.
  3. Charting Your Financial Map: As a business owner, foresight is essential. How will you source insurance leads? What budgetary allocations will sustain and grow your venture? Proper planning can be the difference between merely floating and truly sailing in the business seas.
  4. Embracing the Learning Curve: Transitioning to independence is a journey filled with challenges, from understanding administrative nuances to decoding market dynamics. But remember, turbulence is a part of any significant journey. Your dedication, commitment to continuous learning, and perseverance will be your guiding stars.
Legacy: Crafting Independent Legacies

At Legacy, we're not just about navigating the independent route; we're about paving new ones. We simplify product quoting, handpick lead vendors to align with your aspirations, and offer personalized mentoring. Our training spans from basic to advanced markets, and we're always there to guide you, even for big-ticket case handling.

Stepping into the world of independent life insurance may feel overwhelming, but with the right guidance, tools, and mindset, it becomes a journey where every mile is worth the ride. With Legacy by your side, let's craft a journey that leaves a lasting mark.

Agent Working Thier Book

How to work your book of business

As an independent life insurance agent, every time you sell a policy to one of your prospects you’re adding to your book of business. Over the years, you’ll add hundreds of clients to that list in your book. What you do with that list will determine your financial future as a life producer.

As an independent life producer starting in the final expense, or mortgage protection market, if you’re working hard, you’re adding on average of 200 clients a year. These two markets present themselves as one visit closes. The adage of “one-and-done” couldn’t be more wrong.

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Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
 

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