Today I want to talk about some things I wish I would’ve done differently sooner on in my final expense career.
I’ve been in the final expense business for four years now and I’ve been training new final expense agents in the final expense for about a year and a half and, you know, it’s funny– every agent who’s been in the business a while has a story of how they’ve gotten to where they are and usually it involves ups and downs, points to where the agents think they were going to quit because they couldn’t afford the business or they got just decimated by a prospect that just really took the wind out of their sails, but what you find out is most people get through the hard times– the ones that do massively succeed in this business and it’s really true of any kind of business, not just insurance but anywhere.
And so, you know, I was reflecting on some of the things I’ve done and experimented with and were total wastes of time– well not total wastes of time, but they deterred me from the fundamentals. You know, it doesn’t matter really, even from a sports analogy, you know the best sports players in any field do the fundamentals well and they have it down to a science or perfection. They can run back field with the best of them. They don’t need to do anything, necessarily, dramatic or magical, it’s just they’re very good at the basics and they’re consistent at how they follow the basics and thus is the same for the final expense business.
About a year into the business, I flunked out. I had gotten distracted by a couple of things– the idea of cross-selling, the idea of changing up my final expense marketing method. And I found that what it ended up doing had some marginal success, but it took away from the success in my other endeavors that were tried and true.
Eventually, the point is, I got too smart for the basics and I almost completely lost it getting out of this business and so, you know, the kind of things that I would recommend a new agent to do– if you’re looking at this video, thinking you need to be involved in the final expense field, you like the sound of it, there’s a couple of things you need to remember when you get involved.
The first is is you need to find a system that’s duplicatable and you need to stick to that system without deterrent for at least a year or two years before you even think about tinkering with the program. There’s a lot of smart people who fail the final expense business and there’s a lot of not-so-smart people who massively succeed and the reason the smart people fail is because they think too hard about the details of this business.
This business is simple, but it’s not easy. It’s simple because the products are simple, the people are simple to deal with– it’s a one-call close– and the marketing system is simple, it’s not something that’s dramatic or unbelievable; it’s not some complex program that is secretive, even. You know, most agents that are successful drop direct mail; they get their final expense leads from direct mail for their entire careers. And that’s my point is that for me, personally, I got distracted from the basics of final expense direct mail marketing using a lead piece and I got tired of seeing certain people and I changed the wrong thing.
Instead of changing the area that I was marketing to, I changed the lead piece and the area. So I got varying results, but more importantly I didn’t keep what did work, but just didn’t happen to work in this one particular area.
So my point is is that, you know, looking back, I really wish I would not have deviated as much. I have a side of my personality that needs to have– that’s curious. I want to experiment, I want to try a different angle of things but you can’t do that too early in the game because you don’t know what you don’t know. You have to trust that the final expense system works and the approach you’re using is validated by hundreds, if not thousands, of agents that are successful in this line of work.
And so my point is is that, you know, if you get involved with anybody, regardless of if it was the final expense mentor program, the bottom line is that follow the system that they give out to work. Of course, vet them; make sure they’re actually successful at what they do. But if they are and the system works and there are other agents like yourself who are successful using it, then follow that system. Don’t think too hard about this stuff, it’s not rocket science. It’s very simple. So simple it’s hard in some cases.
So that’s number one, and then number two, there is a major urge among a lot of people to get involved in some sort of cross-selling endeavor. I’m not here to say that it doesn’t work, it does, but more often than not, people who are successful in this business only do one thing and they do it so extremely well, it’s unnecessary to do more than one thing. And that was what you’ll find, really, at all levels of insurance production, not just final expense.
And so once you get involved in this business, you’ll see opportunities for Medicare supplemental sales, you’ll see opportunities for indemnity products, cancer plus products, Medicare Advantage products, and you cannot let that deter you or distract you from your primary initiative which is final expense burial life insurance. So, you know, I’ve seen a lot of agents stumble, including myself, when they got too unfocused.
There’s an old saying and it’s, “Diffusion is the enemy of productivity.” Diffusion of focus– having all sorts of things that you want to do. That right there is a huge deterrent to people ultimately succeeding the way they want to.
The last thing I want to leave you with, beyond that conversation about staying focused on your product and staying focused on your marketing method, the last thing I wish I would have done sooner is work my existing customer base and the reason is that in the activity of selling final expense life insurance, making new clients, you’re going to have people who lapse, things happen to them, but 95% of the agents out there who are your competition, will never talk to their customers again.
This gives you a huge opportunity to one– solidify the sale by doing a review annually or every two years, but number two– getting the opportunity to go back and sell other products or more products. I don’t recommend an agent to consider cross-selling until they’re about a year to two years in, but at that point, if you’ve got a book of two to four hundred customers in two years, boy you’ll sell more life insurance to them, you’ll have the opportunity to, if you are appointed to sell Medicare, you can sell supplemental policies or Medicare Advantage policies because you’ve built that trust with them. Plus, you know, you’ll be better able to get referrals from existing customers.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on sales call with existing customers that it so happened their brother moved in with them, or they’re sister is now their caretaker and they’re otherwise fine with what they had, but they ended up just by circumstance and luck of the Irish that the other person and they were ready to roll. It was easy lay down sales and so that’s my point. If you take the time to see these people, your persistence will be better, but also you’ll definitely sell more insurance because a lot of these people– half of the sales you’re going to make, they’re going to say, “Hey, I just want to make sure we can buy more later on down the line, right?” I tell them, “Yeah, absolutely because I’ll be back to sell it to you.”
Because every other agent– they’re not coming back if they’re even in the business, they’re just not built like that. And so it’s a huge opportunity as time goes on to develop sales and referrals and even cross-sales without the expense of having to buy your own final expense leads. That’s huge. And it sets you apart from every agent out there because nobody’s doing it– I can tell you from personal experience. And this is one of those things I wish I did– geez, I wish I did immediately within the first year of business.
I didn’t go back and see an old customer– it’s embarrassing to say– until about a year ago, maybe even more like nine months ago. When I started making sales off of them and realizing that these people like me and will buy more if I ask them to… I mean, it’s a no-brainer.
I hope you find it useful and I hope that you actually listen to what I’m saying. Not all lessons can be taught, some must be learned through trial and error and these were the lessons for me that hopefully I can bestow some wisdom upon your newbie soul.