Selling life insurance online profitably sounds like the holy grail to many agents, and for good reason.
With no commute, no business attire, and no office politics, why would you not want to tap into a boundless pool of prospects from the comfort of your home? We thought the same thing and have been successfully doing so for over 10 years, sans suits.
We all know that working from home takes discipline, organization, and self-motivation. Without a boss telling you to be at work by a certain time, it is up to you to decide when to dial for dollars.
Yet despite the ambitious intentions of many independent agents, we’ve noticed that many don’t make it past the six-month mark.
They burn out, give up, go broke, and return to a call center feeling defeated. So what gives?
The founders of Digital BGA, Nic West, and Jeff Root have collectively sold over 10,000 policies by phone to internet leads placing millions of dollars in life premiums. They’ve been through years of trial and error, have experimented with different lead generation systems and now teach what works to the next generation of internet agents.
What they discovered is that agents who sell life insurance online profitably have mastered two critical areas in their processes.
It is these two distinctions that separate those agents who burnout in under six months and those who make five figures month after month.
Fortunately, these are learned traits and when done properly can skyrocket your productivity and business.
If you’re just getting started in selling life insurance online or are struggling after some time, get ready to take notes, because this post is for you.
#1 Manage Your Cash Flow
The most critical step to understand is that selling life insurance online is a cash flow business. Period.
With life insurance, the sales cycle from lead to deposit can take at least two months. Think about it:
When you get a lead it can take anywhere from thirty minutes to several days to actually sell a product. When an application is submitted, a fully underwritten product can take four to six weeks. Then to get the delivered requirements back and get the policy in force is another week or two. Depending on the insurance carrier’s pay cycle, you now have to wait another week or two before seeing your commission.
If the entire process goes smoothly and you make write the business as soon as the lead comes in, you’re still looking at approximately two months before getting paid.
It is this cash flow cycle that many agents do not understand, and consequently, do not manage correctly.
End result: burnout.
Assuming that an agent who has taken the leap from an agency or a call center to online has enough savings to purchase leads out-of-pocket for a few months, the chance of them still calling it quits once sales come in is high. Why?
One of the biggest problems we see is that agents take too big of a personal cut out of each commission instead of reinvesting some of it back into additional, high-quality leads.
An agent may have a good month, take all their commissions for personal expenditures, but then be left with no leads, no pipeline and are back where they started.
If on the other hand, an agent were to manage their cash flow correctly, they would not only have enough money for their personal expenditures but money to invest in a continuous flow of leads with funds left over to re-invest in marketing.
The rule of thirds. For all commissions that come in, divide up the amount into:
- ⅓ for personal income
- ⅓ for buying leads
- ⅓ for marketing expenses, ad buys*
* This is for internet agents who intend to generate leads through their own websites to earn 100% commissions. If you’re not one of these agents, then consider a 50/50 split in each commission between personal/business.
In addition to dividing each commission check, there are other ways for you to ensure that your monies in and out are working efficiently for you. These include:
- Consistently purchase leads – do not wait until your pipeline is nearing empty before re-filling.
- Get an advance on your commissions – sell carriers that pay upfront versus a 12-month period of time, which allows you to take ¾ of what’s due to you immediately upon placing a policy.
- Focus on carriers that have a quick turnaround time – for non-med products selling through carriers such as North America LifeVue, Phoenix, Sagicore, SBLI, Fidelity, ANICO, and Assurity. For fully-underwritten go with Banner, Protective and Prudential.
- Purchase leads on a credit card – earn points and delay payment until commissions come in.
#2 CRM Automation
The second most critical step for selling life insurance online profitably is to manage leads properly through CRM automation.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, when used correctly, is a sales machine that manages the lifecycle of every lead so you don’t have to.
Instead of using a CRM to its full capacity, many agents just use it as a contact repository and note taker, not as a tool to actually help them sell and stay on top of opportunities.
It’s like if you were to just use a high-powered blender as a cup instead of a machine for crushing ice.
When working for you, a CRM should automatically serve up the next best lead to call so you don’t waste time manually combing through and either cherry picking or randomly selecting them. Using data, your CRM will uncover the right prospect at the right time, eliminate prospecting guesswork, increase close rates and much more.
There are a couple of great platforms that can do this and even specialize in the insurance space, including Velocify and Vanilla Soft. In order to make these platforms perfect for internet life insurance sales, both require a bit of customization, but it is well worth the investment.
From our experience working with independent agents, by not using a CRM to its fullest capacity, the speed-to-contact (time to reach out to a lead) is poor. For every minute that passes by after a lead comes in, the likelihood of an agent closing the deal diminishes.
In fact, calling a new lead within 5 minutes increases the qualifying and sales ratios by up to 400% versus calling within 10 minutes, or worse, hours later.
With internet insurance leads, time is most definitely money.
Especially since most consumers are shopping around on multiple websites and are in a buyer’s mentality.
For those times when you do not close a lead on the first call or get an answer, you need to ensure that your repeatedly calling with the right frequency.
As a general rule of thumb for making calls, every lead in your CRM should be called 2-3 times the first day they come in, 1-2 times the second and/or third day, and one call for the next 3-4 days after that.
With a huge volume of quality leads, could you imagine how much of an administrative nightmare that would be to figure out manually? Your CRM will put this process on autopilot so you know that no lead will slip through the cracks and that you can stay on top of all of them properly. In this regard, your CRM is your sales system.
In addition to assisting with fresh leads, your CRM should help with long-term nurturing sequences and upselling.
Prospects who are not ready to pull the trigger now will most likely be within the next 12 months.
By creating efficient long-term nurture sequences through your CRM, you will stay top of mind for when that client is ready to apply and buy.
Data shows that persistence is one of the keys to sales success, as is consistency. Plus, persistence and consistency displayed through long-term nurturing is a great way to sell additional products and increase referrals.
Whether you can tack on a Simplified Issue Disability Policy, cross-sell a spouse or land a referral, every client has the potential of increasing your cash flow with minimal extra effort. Your CRM should work for you to serve up these opportunities and help you maintain positive touch points in the long term.
So remember, to sell life insurance online profitably, follow these two critical steps:
- Manage Your Cash Flow
- Practice Rule of Thirds
- ⅓ personal expenditures, ⅓ buying leads, ⅓ marketing, miscellaneous.
- Consistently purchase leads
- Get an advance on your commissions
- Focus on carriers & products that have a quick turnaround time
- Purchase leads on a credit card
- Practice Rule of Thirds
- Utilize CRM Automation
- Serve up the next best lead
- Maintain proper frequency and number of attempts per lead
- Assist with long-term nurture sequences
- Streamline up-selling and referrals
Digital BGA has developed a full suite of tools to help internet life insurance agents market efficiently and sell more. See if our technology and resources can help you take your business to the next level here.