Long Term Care Insurance Leads
The vast majority of long term care insurance policies sold today are derived from leads. This is nothing new, but there has been a big transformation when you drill down to the types of leads utilized. Agents used to say, “Give me a lead, any lead, and I can sell it,” and often, they could. This is no longer true. Now, there are good leads which have a strong chance of being converted into a sale and bad leads which require a great deal of effort for a disappointing result. It is increasingly important to have access to the “good” leads. And it is increasingly important for an agency such as Northstar to guide brokers in their quest to obtain these “good” leads.
There seems to be a hierarchy of types of leads, ranging from good to bad. It goes something like this:
- Referrals…This continues to be the lead most likely to be converted into a sale. The key to obtaining referrals is to ask for them from most anyone you can. There is a technique to obtaining referrals, however, that goes beyond just asking. A good relationship must be established first, so that trust is high, and the timing to ask has to be right.
- Association or credit union leads…Associations and credit unions can be a very good lead source if they contain the right demographics. These demographics include well-educated members, relatively old, with better than average incomes. Members can be prospected either by direct mail under the endorsement of the entity or by blast email. There often is the advantage of a modest premium discount.
- Employer groups…These can be excellent leads if the employer participates in the premium payments. This is more likely in the case of an executive carve-out. If the group is a voluntary participation group, then the right demographics come into play in the same manner as for associations and credit unions. If the group has a large number of employees, it is far better to refer the sale to experts in group sales who have the experience and technical expertise to increase the number of participants. Although guaranteed issue is disappearing, there are usually significant underwriting concessions by the participating carrier.
- Internet leads…These are either great leads or quickly go nowhere, and can be a very efficient use of the agent’s time. The key to successful internet selling is to have a way technologically to respond to the lead within minutes of receiving it. The prospect is usually requesting information from several sources found on Google or some other search engine. The first responder is the most likely to get the sale. The agent must have the ability to complete the sale remotely, either by phone or by screen-sharing via computer. Those agents who become adept at internet selling prefer it over kitchen table selling, and find it efficient and less costly. Selling over the internet broadens one’s geographic distribution as well.
- Partnership leads…These types of leads seem to convert to sales better than other direct mail leads. Some forty-two states now have Partnership policies, and they are increasing in popularity. However, the lead does not necessarily result in the sale of a Partnership policy. The lead is a door-opener, allowing the agent to present a plan he or she believes is most likely to satisfy the prospect’s needs, which may or may not be a Partnership policy.
- Other direct mail leads…These can still produce a decent response rate if they are brief, targeted properly, and are well-edited with good lay-out. However, they are achieving a lower response rate than in previous years and often have low conversion rates.
- Old leads…These used to hardly be worth resurrecting, but things have changed. Because long term care insurance premiums have tripled in the last twenty years, the buying decision is often a lengthy one. It can take up to two years to convert a lead to an application. There is an increasing need for drip-marketing and patience. Drip-marketing requires a good database with email addresses. We are just beginning to learn how to do this type of marketing with the use of technology, and have a long way to go to perfect it, but it will be an important future sales producer.
It’s great for a broker to be able to affiliate with an organization such as Northstar in order to get advice on how to obtain better quality leads. We even offer a discounted direct mail lead program and have access to internet lead providers. Get in touch today, you’ll be glad if you utilize our expertise.