As the White House and state governments begin to restart the economy by lifting restrictions placed on businesses across America, many agents will return to the field for the first time in weeks. This transition back to work will be the start of a new normal for our country but also our industry. In this episode, we outline some best practices for agents to be successful while keeping their client’s and their families at the forefront.

Show Notes

Know You Will Have to Shake the Rust Dust Off

Starts at 01:40

Getting back into the field will be like working out for the first time in a while:

  1. You’ll realize you need to do it
  2. You’ll ask how did you get to this point
  3. You’ll start working out and it will hurt and feel weird
  4. You won’t see immediate results and you may be sore

The key is to stick to it – it’s a process that you have to trust even if you feel like you don’t want to try again after a bad day. Your mindset is key during this transition.

One mindset to take is that there are no old leads right now. You can mention at the door that you “wanted to reach out because they filled it out a while but with recent events, there are new state regulated final expense programs and several carriers have changed their qualifications and we want to see if you’re able to qualify.” The reality is COVID-19 has brought the need to the forefront but it’s harder for many people to qualify now. The goal is to create curiosity at the door.

Another thing you can do to scrape the rust off is look back at your previous sits to remind yourself of not only what you’re capable of but how you made it happen. Reflect on your schedule, mindset, process, presentation, lead flow, and improvement areas.

Next Steps to Shake the Dust Off

Review Your Training Materials & Carrier Product Guides
Listen to other episodes of the podcast to freshen up (and hopefully learn a few new things!)
Take the Final Expense Insurance Sales course on LifeInsuranceAcademy.org (at a special promo rate for this episode only).

Sidenote: Papyrus is a terrible font – don’t use it. Also, we know how to say Papyrus but Chris is a funny guy.

Chris mentioned that he sometimes has to tell himself, “There’s nothing to feel. Just do it.” You have to keep doing whatever it is that’s hard despite your feelings in order to achieve your goals.

There’s nothing to feel. Just do it.
Chris Ball (and maybe Nike)

Remember that you’re the boss of you. Give yourself a review from time-to-time and have honest conversations with what you’re doing or not doing or area’s of struggle. Write these things down and if you start seeing a theme, then you know what to work on.

When you make the transition, don’t skip any steps to “get the quick sale.” Focus on the fundamentals of life insurance sales and address the each of the five real reasons people don’t buy. If you rush through just to get a commission check, you’ll burn through a lot of leads and opportunity.

Adapt a New Hybrid Approach

Starts at 13:37

An agents approach in the new normal of life insurance sales looks similar to a “before COVID” (BC) sale, but it does have some additions and mindset shifts. Returning to the field and door knocking or face-to-face appointments will be part of the new normal just as before but there will also be a telesales component. Some people will be okay with you coming into their home and sitting with them for a presentation but others still will want the protection of non face-to-face sales.

Be adaptable and listen to what your clients are saying and reading their body language. They will tell you everything you need to know if you pay attention and give them the time. Remember, you are there to be a difference maker and protect them and their family.

We interviewed agents who have already returned to the field and they are reporting that most clients are letting agents into their homes and having normal visits. The key is for the agent not to make it a big deal that instills fear or distrust.

For those who have been doing telesales throughout the stay-at-home period, the transition to the hybrid approach will be easy. One agent reported that getting back into the field has made the transition easier because he was able to continue in his craft and stay sharp throughout this time. Furthermore, doing telesales has made him more confident in door knocking because of all the barriers and fears he overcame over the phone.

You can also implement successful sales points from selling over the phone into your face-to-face presentation. When one agent we spoke to faced money objections, he was able to address it and let the client know about increasing limits to people above certain ages or who have displayed COVID symptoms which established urgency.

For those who did not attempt telesales during stay-at-home, there’s still time to learn and try it out. Go back and listen to our telesales series and then pick up the phone or grab a family member and start practicing. Having telesales in your tool belt gives you more options to pivot when you receive objections, feel confident, and serve more families.

Utilize the phone mid-week with those you’ve not connected with to set appointments or even make the sale. You can also make the sale from their driveway if the client isn’t comfortable with you coming in their home. The new normal could also look like agents working two sets of leads with door knocking direct mail leads within a set geography and then using the other days to call from home on statewide digital leads. The hybrid approach takes the objection of “busy” from the client because there’s plenty of ways for you to fit into their schedule and yours.

The New Normal Approach to Leads

Starts at 27:37

In the new normal, every lead is more viable and valuable than ever. As we said before, a lead is just an opportunity to have a conversation with someone about insurance to protect their family. Due to COVID-19, it’s easier than ever for agents to have these conversations because right now people have a heightened sense of family, love, and fear of losing someone. People fill out a lead for one primary reason: something happened in their life to make them realize that they need to do something to protect their family. With the coronavirus pandemic, everyone on the globe is having this though so all leads are fresh.

One agent mentioned that part of his new door knock is something he carried over from telesales. He’s starting his “door knock distanced dance” by apologizing for the delay on getting the information due to the craziness of what’s going on in the world today. This creates urgency and relatability.

The new normal for life insurance agents will have a great opportunity for referrals and cloverleafs because everyone is thinking about this and wanting to make sure their family and friends are taken care of. On top of that, there’s not much for people to do now so people are available.

Another way to generate referrals is to stop by client’s homes whom you served over the phone so that way you can finally officially meet each other and then ask if there’s anyone else nearby that you can talk to. Furthermore, visit the homes of leads that you weren’t able to get a hold of or sell over the phone. Let them see that you’re a legitimate person who cares and who can be trusted.

Agents in the field are saying that the people they are seeing just want someone to talk to. They have limited mobility and probably haven’t seen many people during this time (including their families). Be a human and ask them how they genuinely how they are doing.

Bart from Georgia mentioned that one thing to be mindful of is to avoid the politics of COVID-19 and government restrictions. Everyone has a different perspective and this create divisiveness or lack of trust. You’re not there to debate rights and liberties but to fulfill their request and protect their family. Stay focused and be a difference maker.

For agents on direct mail leads, the new normal may feel a few weeks off until the leads start to come in. You don’t have to wait! You can either call old leads (because as we said, all leads are fresh right now) or you can order new digital leads that can be quickly generated and delivered for you to either call or go see. Also remember, the new normal for life insurance sales is doing both face-to-face and phone sales and you can attempt both on the same lead until you protect that family.

Protecting Your Clients and Yourself During the New Normal

Starts at 37:09

As life insurance agents, we still have a social responsibility to be difference makers and protect families both financially and personally. That means if we’re not feeling well or have been around others who have been ill, we need to stay home and work over the phone. It also means being prepared when we are given the all-clear to enter the field. Have a mask ready, keep hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes close by, maintain a safe distance, and wash your hands frequently. Be prepared to adapt.

As you entire a market, be observant of what people are doing in that town at public places like the gas station and restaurants. If most people are wearing a mask, you should probably approach the door with a mask. If nobody is wearing a mask, you’re probably okay to approach the home without a mask on but nearby should your client mention it. However, if the state you’re in mandates it, make the sacrifice for your client and wear it to protect them.

Agents from the field like Haydon from Kentucky mentioned he hasn’t addressed it until the client brought it up or until he was further into CORE. Patti from Michigan said her sits were like the old normal including hugs. People have been very kind and has grace with a “we’re all in this together” mindset. Bart from Georgia told a story of a lead who reached out his hand for a handshake and Bart shook his hand. He said it was a big trust building moment from the very beginning. Afterwards, he sanitized his hands and materials like he always has.

Finally, you can download our COVID-19 Agent Field Guide that you can show your clients should they raise concerns about the virus. The guide walks them through how you are taking precautions to keep them safe now while you protect their family later.

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