Selling life insurance to friends and family is how many agents and advisors jump-start their business in the early days. Most of them don’t like it, but it’s better than getting punched in face on a strangers porch while cold knocking doors! 🙂
It can be an excellent strategy if you’re prepared for the unique nature of selling to folks who trust you for a hundred different reasons that have nothing to do with insurance.
I originally wrote on this topic on Insurance News Net, but wanted to add some new things failing agents and advisors will appreciate.
Selling to friends and family is exactly how I started and, guess what?
All these folks are still my friends! But, it didn’t make it suck any less when I was doing it.
Selling to friends and family can be a slippery slope. On the one hand, friends and family want you to succeed. They will answer your calls (for a while) and give you their time (for a while). What more could you ask?
But here’s the catch: They hate to say no. So, they do the next worst thing: they string you along (with good intentions). What started as a positive, turns into a death march that never seems to end.
So why am I advising you to sell to friends and family?
While getting to “yes” is our ultimate goal, learning how to deal with “no” may be the most important skill in insurance sales, or any kind of sales for that matter. Here are some of the common objections you will face when selling insurance. After each one, insert the friends and family deal-killing thought: “But I’ll listen to them because they are my friend.”
- I don’t need life insurance.
- I need to think about it.
- Let me talk to my wife/husband and get back to you.
- I can’t afford any insurance right now.
- I already have insurance through work.
- There is such a small chance I will be disabled.
- We have family money.
Friends and family don’t want to say no.
They will stall, waffle and kick sand for as long as you’re willing to take it (and feel bad about it).
Your job — both for your wallet and your peace of mind — is to accelerate the process by laser-focused fact-finding up front.
- Establish yourself as an expert.
- Keep the chit-chat to a minimum.
- Leave “friend/family” at the door.
- Learn how to read a room.
You’re at the table because of your relationship, so leave the relationship at the door. Your goal is to help your friend or family member see you as a trusted advisor… help them conclude that “it’s not personal, it’s just business.”
Reading the room when selling life insurance
Now, to reading a room.
You’re not born with this skill. For all the personality, smarts and knowledge you think you have, your biggest weakness is improper use of eyes and ears.
Prospects generally will tell you everything you need to know in a meeting if you’ll just pay attention and listen.
New life insurance agents and financial advisors, no matter what market they serve, make the fatal mistake of focusing on their needs rather than those of the client.
Focus on getting the second meeting
Getting to a second meeting is the initial goal in most of my sales opportunities. And, if I did my job correctly in the first meeting, I have multiple opportunities to bring back ideas in the second meeting.
Working with family and friends will help you build thick skin and strengthen your ability to take rejection in stride.
It’s true that they may not have purchased from you, and they may not have given you referrals, but they will help you build a foundation which, over time, will allow you to keep standing back up after being knocked down.
Why do insurance agencies require selling to friends and family first?
Are you ready for the answer that most people don’t want to give you?
Selling to your peers is a great way for an agency to determine if you are going to succeed or fail. Simple as that.
If you can’t succeed prospecting to your friends and family, how will you be able to grow your business beyond your natural market? I’m not saying this is always correct, but in many cases it is.
As I stated above, it’s about building positive habits and friends and family are a low risk way for you to do that.
Those of you who agree with my opinion are likely the ones who started just like me and built a successful foundation of residual income.
I hated it as much as the next person, but I knew it was a necessary step to ensure my success long term.
Alternatives to selling life insurance to friends and family
As much as I believe every agent should start their career selling to friends and family, I know it’s just not realistic.
Yes, it is possible to sell insurance without having to make a list of your friends and family. The alternative is buying consumer leads which are prospects who have responded to a variety of marketing campaigns and expressed interest in speaking to a licensed agent or advisor.
If you have recently told yourself, “I love to sell but hate selling to friends and family”, then you should consider becoming an independent agent.
Below are some great sales verticals in the insurance business which have an abundance of consumers requesting information on a daily basis.
- Indexed Universal Life
- Mortgage Protection Insurance
- Burial Insurance
- Medicare Supplements
If selling to friends and family terrifies you, then don’t do it and utilize one of the many insurance sales programs full of new people looking for your advice.
We as life insurance agents and financial advisors are tasked with impacting people’s lives.
Learning to get over the fear of “no” is the first step toward helping people.
Let your friends and family help you build your skills. Don’t be discouraged when they give you unlimited access to their voicemail; it’s part of the game. If you’re scared to death of marketing to your friends and family, you can always buy leads assuming you have a budget. We work with hundreds of agents who buy leads weekly in order to hit their weekly sales presentation goals.
And, don’t lose sight of priorities. They may not buy, but they will always be your family or friend.