Want to know how to generate more life insurance leads and referrals?
I hear it every day from agents: “I need more life insurance leads.” We all know it’s a cruel world out there in mailboxes. Direct mail life insurance leads continue to plunge as consumers are flooded with look-alike pieces. Yet, the industry continues to addict agents to programs with “free” life insurance leads.
If it sounds too good to be true…
Redbird believes in helping insurance agents build books of business with staying power. And, there’s no better place to learn from than where I first learned how to sell life insurance, Northwestern Mutual in St. Louis, MO.
3 out of 20 Agents Are in Business
I reached out to one of the two remaining life insurance agents I went through training with at Northwestern Mutual in St. Louis, Joel Cryder. Joel is a top producer for Northwestern, having started with NM in 2009. It would be wrong of me not to shout out to the third, Danny Babitz who is also crushing it as Chief Development Officer for Northwestern Mutual in St. Louis.
It’s no coincidence the three of us have continued to succeed in the life insurance industry.
Both Joel and Danny are top Northwestern Mutual agents in St. Louis and I left to start Redbird which now supports well over 1000 independent life insurance agents across the country, including those from Northwestern.
(Here’s a little secret, we can help teach NM agents how to place outside business (life and disability) when NM products aren’t a fit, it’s easy, just call or email me!)
Leverage the Power of the Al Granum System
The common denominator to our success was we learned how to develop good habits (Al Granum system), and today you’ll get a glimpse into what the Al Granum system looks like and how it’s used to drive life insurance sales.
Joel was gracious enough to take time to reveal a little bit about the NM approach to building a book of business.
And, no surprise, there aren’t any magic bullets.
However, building relationships—not selling products—is at the core of how NM agents build their business on the foundation of the Al Granum system. While NM agents admittedly focus on the high end of the income scale, their approach to how they get there can be applied to any target audience.
Below is a look at my interview with Joel and how he has continued to succeed in self generating life insurance leads through a rock solid referral process.
Drew: What’s the secret to getting life insurance leads and referrals?
Joel Cryder: “There is no secret. It is a lot of long obedience in the same direction. I look at it like I’m continually filling a hopper. Unfortunately it’s a very simple answer but tough to complete. That’s what makes this job hard.”
Drew: What percent of your life insurance appointments are referral leads versus cold calls?
Joel Cryder: “100% of my life insurance leads are referrals. I have made some strategic cold calls but those are very few and far between.”
Drew: How do you approach building a pipeline of life insurance leads?
Joel Cryder: “When I started at Northwestern they gave me the keys to kingdom: work the system and you will be successful. I was dumb enough to be smart enough to see that there was a proven system with a track record that I could follow. The Granum system is what I use. It’s not proprietary to Northwestern. Al Granum (“Building a Financial Services Clientele”) basically took the best producing Northwestern agents and studied their book of business for 20 years, identifying the key components they all had in common.”
Al Granum System Isn’t Quick and Easy, But it Works
Drew: Getting started was tough. Tell us how you got things moving.
Joel Cryder: “From day one we start with what we call a warm market, which consists of people you know. You call them and ask who they know and then you call those people and ask them who they know. Initially I identified about 150-200 people I knew (Northwestern says you need 200 to start). It took me about three months before I was meeting people I didn’t know.”
Drew: What’s your approach when you’re on the phone with a referral?
Joel Cryder: “It’s all about asking for help. Nobody loves to call up a good client and ask for help. It’s uncomfortable, especially as people get more seasoning because they don’t like to ask for help as much. What I’ve been doing the last six months is having referral-only meetings. I call someone and if I connect well with them I buy them lunch and ask them to help me connect to 4-5 good people.”
Drew: This is probably oversimplifying, but is success in generating life insurance leads more about attitude or activity?
Joel Cryder: “Activity is the key at end of day. It’s 90% of the business, maybe even 95%. It doesn’t matter how smart you and are and how great a person you are because it’s not going to work if you’re not in front of people. Activity is what’s been ingrained in me.”
Drew: At Redbird we talk about finding snipers when we are hiring new life insurance agents. How do agents become snipers at generating life insurance leads?
Joel Cryder: “It’s being prepared to ask for referrals. We do homework. I’m trying to grow my business not only from a revenue standpoint but grow into a better client base… folks who make more money. It would be easy for me if all I did was simply ask my current customers who are the good people they know. However, I’m not going to grow my practice the way I want to by just staying in those same lanes of traffic.
“There’s only so much capacity you have in a work week and I want to get into a better marketplace. That’s where it gets tough. I’m trying to set up my environment so these are the only kind of people I ask for. If I only get referred to A or A+ prospects then pretty soon that’s what my client base will look like.”
Use Social Media to Help Present Referral Lists to Your Insurance Clients & Prospects
Drew: How has social media helped with your life insurance referrals?
Joel Cryder: “Thanks to social media I know a lot of people you know without even asking. We use LinkedIn. In meetings I will tell clients that we did a little market research and ask them about the people we saw that they are connected with. I write those names on a piece of paper and simply slide the sheet around to them with a pen. 99% of time they will literally grab the pen and start crossing people off. And then they’ll see guys they like. I always ask if they have good contact number and to tell me a little more about them.”
Drew: What are the “numbers” of your business?
Joel Cryder: “My definition of a client is someone who engages in our process and meets with us regularly. I typically meet with clients twice a year. I have about 300 clients right now and roughly 60 percent of those have multiple products with me. Over a lifetime the typical Northwestern client purchases seven times.
“For planning, at the start of each year I reverse engineer my year: if I do X number of meetings and referrals per month I can get a good idea of what I should be able to produce. We assume for every 10 referrals we get that we will meet with three and one will become a client.
“In the end it’s all about the science of Al Granum. I’ve got to have 15 meetings per week to sustain my business. To get those 15 I’ve got to have 25-30 on the calendar every week because Al Granum says about half of those will cancel. That’s a lot.”
Drew: You said earlier that activity is significantly more important that attitude. We’re curious, what is your attitude toward this business?
Joel Cryder: “For me, at my core, I love to help people, love to talk and meet with people. And, I like when people tell me they have problems.”
If you want to master the process of life insurance referrals and generating your own life insurance leads, then follow a process. As you can see there is no secret sauce to generating life insurance leads and referrals. Joel just walked you through exactly what he does and how he measures his activity.
If you’re up for the challenge, go snag a copy of the Al Granum book and learn exactly how the system works.
- (Updated Nov 2017) Prosperity Life releases new term to 100 with only 2 health questions: Prosperity life recently released their new PrimeTerm to 100 product that is nearly guaranteed issue. They will write term insurance up to $35,000 which is inforce to age 100, and, you can write this term to 100 for clients up to age 80 (maximum issue 30k). What’s the best part about it? There are only three health questions which makes this almost guaranteed issue if you have clients with pre-existing conditions. Below are the three health questions to qualify for the Term to 100 product with Prosperity Life.
- Within the past two (2) years have you been advised by a licensed medical professional to be admitted to a nursing home, hospice, extended care, special treatment facility, required the use of oxygen equipment to assist in breathing, or do you need ongoing personal assistance performing your activities of daily living (ADL’s), eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking) and continence?
- Within the past two (2) years have you been diagnosed by a member of the medical profession with any cancer (excluding basal or squamous cell skin cancer), heart attack (myocardial infarction), heart surgery, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or have undergone major organ transplant surgery?
- Have you been advised by a liscense medical professional that your life expectancy is less than 24 months?
This term to 100 product can be sold over the phone using a voice signature. If you’re interested in getting setup to offer this to your clients, please reach out to us at [email protected]
- 10 ways to kill your deal. Sometimes these “blocking and tackling” articles give us a blinding glimpse of the obvious, but this one caught our eye. So many times agents do a good job of getting prospects in the boat but things keep them from closing the deal. This article provides important points to keep in mind as you’re taking your client through the sales funnel. Source: LifeHealthPro.com