5 ways life insurance agents are increasing sales in 2014

Recently, we asked hundreds of producers to tell us how they expected their life insurance sales to fare over the next 12 months, relative to the previous year.

The answer? The overwhelming majority is planning to see a nice bump.

Among the survey respondents, 28.1 percent said they expect their life insurance sales to increase substantially. Another 44.6 percent said their sales should increase somewhat. In fact, only a meager 0.4 percent forecasted a substantial decline.

In the next 12 months, do you expect your new life insurance sales to:

Answer Options

Response Percent

Response Count

Increase substantially

28.1%

377

Increase somewhat

44.6%

598

Remain about the same

24.2%

325

Decrease somewhat

2.6%

35

Decrease substantially

0.4%

6

answered question

1341

skipped question

0

What’s making life insurance producers so optimistic? After all, U.S. application activity for individual life policies this year is down 2.3 percent compared to 2012, according to the MIB Life Index. The economy’s still shaky in many areas. The government is still dysfunctional in all areas.

So we asked producers to tell us what they're doing to turn those cheery sales goals into reality. Here are five of their top answers.

 tax stress


Harnessing tax worries

It’s no secret the U.S. government has some … uh … cash flow issues. Congress can’t agree on a budget. There’s a major debt ceiling fight coming up. There’s Social Security. And Medicaid. And Medicare.

Payment for all of our government’s obligations will have to come from somewhere, and most people agree that at least part of the bill will be passed on to citizens in the form of new and/or higher taxes.

According to the producers we surveyed, that threat has clients increasingly turning to life insurance, with its income tax-free death benefits, tax-deferred cash value growth and tax-favored access to cash values through withdrawals.

And life insurance products’ popularity stands to increase because that tax-favored treatment looks like it’s here to stay, at least for the time being. NAIFA recently asserted that new life insurance taxes wouldn’t be happening anytime soon. And even if changes are made down the road, existing policies could very well be grandfathered in, some experts say.

Given all that, “The demand for prospects to have a way to get tax-free income without market fluctuations has increased dramatically,” one producer said.

 marketing


Improving marketing

In a field where the bulk of agents are offering the same products for similar prices, how can a producer stand out from the crowd?

Smart marketing helps — and it’s what many of our survey respondents said they’ll rely on for a sales boost in the year ahead. Some are beginning to push life-insurance-for-retirement-planning strategies. Others say they plan to try their hand at seminar selling.

And among the few producers who said they’re expecting a decrease in sales this year? At least one blames it on “lack of marketing.”

handshake

 

Embracing strategic partnerships

It’s not what you know but who you know, amiright? And that’s doubly true in a sales profession that’s heavily dependent on referrals.

No wonder, then, that many of the producers we surveyed said they plan to see an increase in sales as a result of new relationships. Some say they’re forming partnerships with financial planners. Others are joining professional associations to get to know fellow agents or local centers of influence.

crowd

 

Adding more clients

Sometimes increasing sales means taking the most basic step of all: finding more clients.

Among the producers we surveyed, several were planning to boost sales by expanding into new markets. The most popular audiences producers want to add to their client mix? Business owners and — now that the housing market is rebounding in many areas — new homeowners.

 

Focus


Working harder

By far, the No. 1 reason agents cited for expected sales growth in the coming year was simply “better focus.”

It might seem silly, but things like time management and goal setting are huge in a business with flexible hours and, often, no direct boss. And, let’s just admit it: we all could use a little more work and a few less cat videos in our day.

(But here’s one for the road anyway. Meow.)

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