I’m a huge fan of cross-selling. One appointment, multiple sales? Yes, please. However, many newer agents shy away from cross-selling, fearing they’ll come across as high-pressure hucksters and blow the whole thing. If that sounds like you, take my advice: give it a try. Cross-selling can be as low-pressure as you like, and your clients will love you for bringing it up. Really, they will!
Here’s the thing: to successfully cross-sell, you need to know a little bit about your client. Sitting down with a Med Supp client and bringing up a final expense policy might sound like a good idea – but if that client already has a $500k policy elsewhere, that FE policy isn’t going to sound like a very good deal at all.
Successfully cross-selling requires a good fact finder. You can download our fact finders from the ILIAA members’ only section, or wing it on your own with a legal pad – either way, your goal is to learn what you can about your client’s health status, financial picture, and current insurance situation. With that information you’ll be able to spot uncovered risks that might benefit from further examination. Perhaps your fifty-five year old life insurance client has a small family and no long-term care insurance, or your final expense client has $10,000 in a CD earmarked for her grandchildren that would do much better inside an annuity. A thorough fact finder will reveal situations like these to you, and will help you illustrate them to your clients.
Of course, you don’t want to talk yourself out of a sale. Use your fact finder to first illustrate to your client how you can solve their initial problem. For instance, perhaps the fact finder for your life insurance client shows that they have two five-year old children and a mortgage. Term coverage would cover the temporary concerns of childcare, education and housing should your client pass away while the children are still at home and the mortgage still carries a balance. A convertible term policy could then be turned into permanent insurance after the kids have moved out. Or, depending on your client’s financial picture, perhaps additional permanent insurance could be locked in today at a lower rate. If your client’s primary concern is life insurance, then this is the sort of stuff we want to look at first.
If the fact finder for our hypothetical life insurance client were to reveal that no cancer coverage is currently in place, then we could bring up an additional discussion of critical illness or cancer coverage. While life insurance benefits can be accelerated in many cases, this depletes the benefit and can result in disadvantageous financial situations down the line. Cancer insurance is highly affordable and pairs well with a life insurance policy for someone with no such current plan in place. Pointing this out and making a professional suggestion isn’t just the profitable thing to do – I’d argue that it’s our ethical responsibility as agents to recommend coverage when we feel it’s necessary. And if you’ve ever known anyone with cancer, recall how stressful that battle can be and think about this: would receiving a check on diagnosis for $50k make it a little easier? This is especially true for our hypothetical client who has two children and would likely need childcare and time off of work, neither of which are covered by health insurance plans.
Cross-selling also forms a deeper relationship between you and your client – it takes you from being their insurance salesperson to their trusted advisor. Managing multiple facets of your clients’ insurance picture is a great way to earn their loyalty, and it’s profitable too.
In short, cross-selling doesn’t have to be a high-pressure experience. Work with your client to fully understand and interpret their financial, health, and insurance situations. Illustrate to them where they might benefit from greater coverage, and address the concerns that you can address. If not everything can be covered today, that’s okay – educate your client and understand that you’re forming a long term relationship. Situations change, and when you review your client’s insurance picture in six months they may be in a better position to take advantage of additional coverage.