Life and protection insurance has to be sold. I was told that way back in the 1980s when I started out in this industry and never really thought much of it as I was a Life Assurance Salesperson.
Nowadays it has more ramifications because most people in our industry don’t regard themselves as salespeople – they’re advisers. It’s a play on words, yes, but it also has a deeper implication.
Many advisers are reticent to sell protection, preferring to advise it. And mention the whiff of overcoming objections, and they’ll shiver with horror.
Yet protection still needs to be sold, clients or customers are simply not going to rock up, sit down with you and buy insurance. So if you feel they need it, would benefit from some and you can sleep properly at night knowing this then you need to sell it.
The first strategy you’ll need to handle is dealing with objections but not in the old 1980s way. You need to pre-empt them, and I’ll explain how.
When you boil them down there are only four objections for anything specifically protection:
- No Money
- No Time
- Won't Work
- Don't Trust You
Clients are never going to use these words, but they serve as useful summaries of the category of objection.
“No money” means they have the affordability, but they would rather spend it on a new car, Sky TV or a gym membership. “No time” means they want to get their mortgage underway, right now is not the best time. “Won’t work” means they can’t agree with you that they need cover. “Don’t trust you” means they don’t want to buy it from you; they will probably go online later that night to buy.
The secret is to pre-empt these four objection categories before they rear their head in the mortgage sales process as a problem. Here are some ideas:
Classically, good advisers will talk budgets. They discuss expectations of surplus income that the client can steer towards both the mortgage and protection plans. Done early this sets the client’s mind towards paying some extra direct debit towards protection. Really insightful advisers combine the two, so a single budget is allocated towards their “mortgage” which includes proception.
Needs careful handling. You need to sow the seed for protection and have a problem conversation for 20 or so minutes before any application for the mortgage is submitted. Ideally, the applications for the right protection are completed at the same time, but this is often pushed back. Instead, many advisers add an extra layer to their sales process to complete the protection application after the mortgage has been applied for. This works. Essentially there are three crucial steps to selling protection:
Sowing the seed – completed right at the beginning when you are positioning your mortgage advice service, making it crystal clear that you’ll be looking at a total mortgage service.
The problem discussion. Handled during the factfind once you’ve established the protection “gap”. The client needs to be coached in appreciating the problem to them personally and how this can be solved. This problem discussion can occur after the main factfind if necessary, maybe a 20-minute Zoom call.
The medical submission, which can be done at any time to gain commitment well before the formal application. Naturally, a formal proposal needs completing at some stage to ensure protection is in place before Exchange of Contracts.
This issue can be defrosted by having a coach-like conversation around the problems the protection “gap” will cause the family or individual. Carefully tailored to their lifestyle and situation, the client needs to vocalise the problem themselves through careful questioning. That way they’ll appreciate the need and want to do something about it. Merely showing them a glossy life office brochure and telling them they need cover, won’t wash. They won’t see the need or want to solve the problem.
If you have this problem, you won’t even sell a mortgage unless you’re the only broker in town, and this is hugely unlikely. Furnish the three secrets to trust – intent, common ground and credibility early and often to gain trust.
That’s all you need to do. Have a decent sales process, some steps to cover, don’t lose your own personal belief in protection and ask yourself the question “If you were in the market for protection, and you needed a mortgage, surely you would use you to do it” Wouldn’t you?