By holding your life and health insurance licenses, you have the ability — and the choice — to sell any number of a variety of insurance products, including life insurance, annuities, long-term care, Medicare supplements, travel medical insurance, disability insurance, etc. Personally, I’ve chosen to focus the last decade of my career on the sale of fixed annuities — a decision that’s certainly served me well. In fact, I have grown our brokerage agency’s annuity division from $10 million in fixed annuity sales in 2001 to more than $240 million of sales in 2010. I can think of only one secret to this degree of success: focus. I’ve chosen to do one thing, and I’ve done it well.
I would challenge you by asking: What’s your focus? Of the thousands of insurance agents I’ve worked with over the years, the most successful have adopted a specific title for themselves, such as Financial Advisor, Senior Advisor, Estate Planner, Long-Term Care Consultant, Retirement Phase Expert, etc. So, what do you call yourself?
To this day, I distinctly remember a statement my grandfather made more than 20 years ago. At the time, I was working in our agency’s mailroom with an intern from a wealthy family in the Atlanta area. The intern was explaining to me and my grandfather that his grandfather was working with an estate planning specialist who was putting together a plan with life insurance to protect his estate. My grandfather asked the intern, “Why is your granddad working with him instead of asking us for help on his life insurance case?” The intern replied, “Because he’s working with a specialist who works on estate insurance cases and deals more directly with people like my grandfather on a regular basis.” My grandfather looked him dead in the eye and asked, “Son, do you know what the white stuff is that surrounds chicken shit?” The intern looked at him in awe and said, “No sir, I don’t know what that is.” My grandfather said, “It’s chicken shit. That ‘estate planning specialist’ is just an insurance agent.” My grandfather was right; that estate planner was just an insurance agent. The only difference was that he promoted himself as a specialist and because of it, made a very nice living working only with wealthy families.
Just as that estate planning specialist did 20 years ago, our most successful agents are doing today: They have separated themselves from the competition by specializing in one area of the sales process, specifically the retirement years. In fact, our top agent last year wrote more than $100 million in fixed annuities. He accomplished this feat by separating himself from the competition and promoting himself as a retirement phase expert. He explains his niche to seniors by describing their previous insurance agents as “family practitioners.” At a time when seniors need safety most, he encourages them to start working with a specialist during their retirement years. He asks, “Does your current advisor work with clients in their working years or does he only work with clients in their retirement years?” With this question, he does two things:1) He sets himself up as a specialist and 2), He separates himself from his competition by working only with seniors.
Now, I realize that not all agents can drop all their clients to focus on only one demographic, but I would encourage you to consider it. The number of seniors entering their retirement years is growing dramatically. A little over a year ago, one of our agents started selling Medicare supplements to seniors turning 65. He sent direct mail pieces to every senior in the state of Georgia turning 65 during each month. A year ago, his list was around 5,000 seniors a month. Today, that list has grown to more than 6,000 a month. And the opportunities are only growing; there’s no doubt that baby boomers have a huge need for retirement phase advisors who specialize in safe-money investments during this specific time in their lives.
Separate yourself from the competition by focusing on seniors in their retirement years. Offer these clients one of the best products available in the financial world today to meet their specific needs — a fixed annuity. They’ll appreciate their purchase for years to come, as well as the insurance agent who sold it to them.