I see the need for my clients to plan for long term care, but I haven’t had too much success in offering solutions. What suggestions do you have for someone like me looking to build their long term care practice?
Specialist in South Carolina
Long term care insurance can be both a rewarding and frustrating business. On the one hand, there are few professions more fulfilling than helping families secure peace of mind with a long term care plan. On the other hand, it can be devastating watching a family member or client wait just a little too long to get a plan. Worst case scenario is that they are unprepared when they actually need care. However, it can also be devastating when clients wait until they can no longer qualify for their preferred insurance plans.
I have worked with many of the top long term care agents and agencies in my career. The recipe to their success contains two key ingredients. First, they have a robust pipeline of leads, prospects, or referrals. Second, they have the long term care expertise to help the majority of their qualified prospects move forward using a consultative sales approach.
In the first of this two part series, I will outline five tips that agents or advisors can take to harness the power of today’s technologies to expand their marketing pipeline. In the second part, I will discuss tips for developing a consultative LTCI sales approach. Along the way, I will share personal anecdotes about launching my own long term care insurance marketing company to help agents serve their clients.
Tip #1—Use Inexpensive Technology to Save Time
“Roads? Where we are going, we don’t need roads.”—Doc Brown, Back to the Future
Technology allows the savvy advisor to save time. The challenge is that there is no roadmap that defines which technologies to use.
My first tip is to break down your marketing process into steps. Begin by analyzing repetitive marketing tasks that you do the most. Replace those tasks with time saving tech solutions. Spend a lot of time educating clients? Produce short videos or webinars. Having trouble following up? Use email templates and automated sequences.
Insurance marketing fundamentals are still the same as they’ve always been. To help an insurance client you need to prospect, build trust, educate, consistently follow up, and deliver a compelling value proposition. The technology allows you to execute these steps quicker and easier than ever before.
Tip #2—ABC means “Always Be Connecting”
The old slogan of Always Be Closing has been replaced by a new mantra. The hard sell is dead. Use a consultative approach and continuously educate your prospects. To get there, you need to build a robust prospect list and stay top of mind. With the internet you can be connecting with more clients without geographical limitations. You can also stay in front of them 24/7.
In my business we partner with agents and agencies to help them with their long term care digital marketing without changing their contracts. For this business-to-business world, there is no better platform than LinkedIn.
Years ago I began networking on LinkedIn by connecting to centers of influence. I realized that every financial professional is impacted by long term care. I built my direct network to 30,000 LinkedIn connections, which is the maximum that LinkedIn allows. Now many top advisors find me to be their center of influence in the realm of long term care planning.
You can achieve the same results by digitally networking wherever your prospects spend their time online. LinkedIn, Facebook, email groups, online forums, the list is endless. The key is to proactively outreach, connect, share thought leadership, and stay engaged in the community. The process is similar to networking in person.
Tip #3—Digitize Your Relationship Management
Once you connect with prospects or clients, make sure to create and maintain a customer relationship management (CRM) database. Sound complicated? Well, it’s not too difficult. All you need is an Excel spreadsheet with their first name, last name, email address, and phone number.
Your CRM is the foundation for your marketing outreach. You can use it to send personal emails, broadcast emails, invitations to webinars, identify who has visited your website, and much more. Not to mention you can reach out to your prospects at exactly the right time when they are engaged with your content.
Tip #4—Mission-Driven Messaging and a Servant Mentality
Your online persona should match your real personality. The biggest mistake I see from agents in their marketing is trying to overtly sell their services before getting to know their connections. Would you walk up to someone on the street, hand them your card, and blurt out, “Call me if you need insurance?” Why would you do it online? Similarly, you want to be positive in your messaging, easy to approach, and take away the fear for someone to reach out to you.
In fact, a better way to engage with your audience is actually to reach out to them first. Every time I post on LinkedIn, I think about how I can serve my network of connections. This approach builds trust even if I have never actually met or spoken with them before. This leads to a fascinating marketing phenomenon. When I finally outreach to my connections, it’s like we’ve been good friends for years. They appreciate the value that I have provided to them. That’s the power of digital marketing.
Tip #5—Have Fun with Your Marketing
If you don’t enjoy the process of marketing, your audience won’t enjoy watching it either. Choose the type of marketing that suits your personality.
I’m an educator by nature. I didn’t start off as a natural presenter, but I enjoy the thrill of sharing new ideas with large audiences.
I chose to get out of my comfort zone and launch a long term care webinars series for agents and their clients. It’s not that much different than the live lunch or dinner seminar. However, the audience can be much larger, the cost is lower, and you can record and send a replay to anyone who comes through the door. Clients share the videos with their friends and family. As a result, I have presented on hundreds of webinars and reached tens of thousands of agents.
I also enjoyed speaking with agents and listening as they share their insurance strategies and client stories. So, I launched a video series called The Insurance Experts. I interview agents online for five to 10 minute awareness videos. It is low cost to produce and provides me with endless content to share, new relationships to build, and a personal education from the best in the industry. If I enjoy producing these videos, then I know my audience will enjoy watching them.
How to Build Your Long Term Care Marketing
My top five tips are to use technology, always be connecting, digitally track your prospects, have a servant mentality, and have fun with your marketing.
Give away your knowledge and you will find that you can build more lasting client relationships than you could ever imagine.
(Reprinted from the CLTC Digest in cooperation with Certification for Long-Term Care, LLC, www.ltc-cltc.com. Email Amber Pate at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more than 20 percent discount on CLTC training for Broker World subscribers—just mention code BWMAG.)