How to Sell Final Expense | Final Expense is BOUGHT, Not SOLD!

I was reading an article on a final expense life insurance think-tank type of organization’s website, where the author was discussing the long-term projections of the intermingling of technology with the traditional approach of selling face-to-face in the final expense burial insurance business.

In the process of describing the changes the final expense business is going through, the author mentioned a familiar phrase that most life insurance agents have heard: “Life insurance must be sold, it is not bought.

Regarding the final expense niche, I have to take the opposing side to that “old wife’s tale” of a claim.  Let me explain.

In the final expense business, agents normally deal with people who are fifty and older, much more commonly older than sixty; all have had health problems, and most are on a fixed income.  Our prospects are at an age where their friends have died, even their spouses have died, certainly their parents have died, and they all understand the pain and the cost of what it takes to bury somebody.


The type of person that responds to these cards already is sold on why they should have life insurance, or sold on why they should have some kind of policy to protect them.  You don’t have to persuade this type of person on why final expense life insurance is important – they already get it!

What you need to sell your prospect on is why YOUR life insurance is better than the alternative options.  This subtle, differentiating factor makes a dramatic difference in how you use and run a final expense business in a couple of different ways.

First of all, acknowledging that you are prospecting your final expense leads for BUYERS who are already SOLD on burial insurance means that you realize that final expense is a numbers game.  Understand that this doesn’t mean presenting, learning how to fact-find, and how to present things in language that elicits excitement and urgency is not important; what it means is this business is about finding the people that “GET” it and  understand the reason and necessity for final expense life insurance.

The other thing an agent realizes is that a successful final expense sales career is about identifying as quickly as possible if a lead is a suspect or a prospect.  A suspect is somebody who replies to a lead card and may have a marginal level of interest, but DO NOT fit the requirements and parameters of becoming somebody who’s a PROSPECT, which is somebody who is highly likely to buy because they fit the prerequisites for someone who would fit what we have to sell.

It’s our job as a sales person to identify if the lead that we’re sitting in front of actually matches the requirements for us to actually do business with them, and a very skilled final expense salesman will pre-qualify upfront as quickly and as succinctly as possible whether or not this particular person actually matches the requirements of somebody who would likely buy.

Let me give you a real live example of this.  I ran nine appointments, and sold six applications.  The very last appointment I ran was a final expense direct mail lead card.  I sat down with a husband and a wife; they told me up-front that they’re just kind of looking around to see what this is about, and didn’t really any interest.  Those are what we call “knee-jerk reactions” – you still continue the presentation and not let that kind of initial reaction deter you.

I gave my presentation, asked for their business, and still had absolutely zero interest. At that point, I realized this person is a suspect, NOT a prospect.  The husband didn’t have any urgency to buy, despite me showing them something that would fit the budget range they said was comfortable.  The husband had already experienced heart attacks, open heart surgery, stints, defibrillators– all before the age of fifty!  This guy is literally at death’s doorstop at fifty-one and he still doesn’t get it.

If this guy is TRULY a prospect for final expense life insurance, he’s going to do it now.  If he doesn’t get it by now, DESPITE his horrific health experiences, I can’t fix stupid and will not spend time on a guy who doesn’t understand the necessity for burial insurance because this guy, of ALL people, should get it!


Further, there’s no way that I’m going to spend an hour with this dude to sell him on why he should have life insurance.  If it doesn’t fit his budget, if he is not open and engaged in the sales process, I’m not wasting time on a loser that flat-out DOES NOT CARE.

This is a prime example of what this business is about.  You notice I did nine appointments.  I sold six applications.  I didn’t put a gun to any of these people’s heads to buy from me, and I guarantee you when I sat down with these people they knew it was about life insurance, they understood the necessity for life insurance, and once we found something that fit their budget and I sold them on the reasons why they needed to buy from ME, they bought.  It was that simple!

And the last thing that this shift in perception brings with how to sell life insurance is that people not only need to be sold on what policy is BEST for THEM, but they need to be SOLD ON YOU as the expert in this burial insurance business.  The person that sells the insurance is THE primary factor of whether or not they’re going to buy.  People need to trust somebody with their life insurance decisions.  If they don’t like you, to some extent, they probably won’t buy.  But if they don’t trust you, they sure as hell ain’t buying from you and so that’s why when you sell insurance, you’ve got to make them trust you as the expert, as somebody who gets it and who will do the job, and provides the best solution for that particular customer — that’s what salesmanship is about.

I remember some sales guru said once is that sales about finding your man, find your guy — the guy that “gets” it — that’s what the final expense burial insurance business is about, and I urge you to keep these thoughts and wisdom in perspective and remember that when you’re out there running a bunch of appointments with a bunch of deadbeats and thinking there’s something wrong with you.  More likely than not, if you know what you’re doing in this business and you’re running the appointments, it’s the deadbeats, not you!