Russ J. Jones is the #1
Authority on sequential mailings using a "3-Step Postcard System and
a prospecting and client newsletter. He specializes in using IRA, CD
Holders and Affluent Widows lists. Back to annuity leads and Insurance leads home page
Published by ASJ
Agent Sales Journal
Prospecting is your biggest challenge. You tell us that time and
again — and now, we’re bringing you 52 of the best prospecting
tips that agents and other industry experts have shared to help
you improve your efforts to drum up new business. Implement just
one of these prospecting tips every week for the next year, and
see if your efforts don’t improve!
WHO TO PROSPECT TO
1. Business owners:
Market to more than 12 million owners of private businesses by
inviting them into a conversation about establishing an exit
strategy from their business. When you can have a conversation
with these owners about how to exit their business, you position
yourself to bring a unique, value-added service to these owners.
With today’s recession abating, many of these owners are in need
of this conversation. Your ability to be effective in bringing
them solutions will solidify your role as their trusted advisor
and position you to deliver products and services for years to
2. Your own neighborhood: Take a look at businesses such as dental practices,
veterinary clinics, restaurants, and the thousands of other
enterprises you drive by every day. Their owner-operators need
your insight. In fact, two-thirds of American millionaires
achieved their wealth by owning a small business. Many companies
with as few as 10 employees are worth $1 million or more.
Fortunately, business owners have significant needs that
insurance agents can serve. This includes funding their
retirement and establishing a retirement plan for their
employees. A majority of small businesses also do not have a
properly structured succession plan. They need to figure out how
they will pass their business on, and the simple fact is that
the longer they wait, the more difficult and expensive the
solution will be. Trent Davis, West Des Moines, IA
3. Your current clients:
My best prospecting tip is using the clients that I already
have. Many times, we keep looking for more and more new clients,
but we forget that our best clients are those who already do
business with us.
Let’s set a scenario. You have been in the business for a few
years and have built a block of life insurance sales. Now it’s
time to talk to these clients about disability insurance. Armed
with the same passion and a story as to why someone needs
disability insurance, you can elicit a response far more quickly
and more easily from those who already trust you. Thomas Petersen, Los Angeles, CA
4. Displaced workers:
Many people have been laid off. Each one of these people has an
old 401(k) to roll over. Each is also worried about a lot of
other things like putting food on the table, losing benefits,
etc. We contacted our clients and asked them to invite their
close friends who have lost their jobs to contact us, and we
helped them with a resume-writing service, helped them to
brainstorm about a new job search, and also worked with them on
their benefits and old 401(k) plan. Kelly Campbell, Fairfax, VA
5. The right people:
Don’t chase poor-quality prospects — create a perfect prospect
profile based on your best existing clients, and only target
great potential buyers. You’ll spend much less energy, time, and
money chasing people who are least likely to buy.
6. Your prospects’ advisors::
Who is your ideal client? Maybe they’re individuals between the
ages of 65 and 80 with an average net worth of $1 million+.
Instead of trying to get in front of this audience on your own,
think about who they already work with.
Taking all of this into consideration, try changing your
prospecting focus from “fire” (your ideal client), to “smoke”
(the other professionals they already work with). The key here
is to explain what you can do for their clients in a way that is
familiar to them. For example, if approaching an accountant,
focus on the tax advantages of insurance products as an
alternative to a “risk and consequence” focus.
One very easy way to get in front of these other professionals
is your existing book of business; your current clients probably
have an accountant. Call them and mention you have a mutual
client; I bet they will be more than happy to sit down with you. Mark Johnson, Clifton Park, NY
7. Your own mailbox:
When I had a team of 15 sales reps working for me, we would
respond to every piece of local junk mail. We’d send a note
saying, “You probably never know who opens your mail. Well, we
did. And while we don’t need your help at this time, should you
need ours, this is what we do (adding a small pitch).” Within a
few months, our office gained $12,000 in commissions from
prospects who sent us junk mail.
Dan Seidman, Barrington, IL
8. Strategic alliances::
For life and health insurance agents interested in building
their ability to attract prospects, the strategy of creating
strategic alliances can be very effective. There are five simple
steps to making strategic partnerships work:
1.Identify specific markets you would like to target
for your business.
2.Brainstorm other business categories, industries,
and professions targeting the same markets.
3.Identify business professionals within those
categories with whom you would like to work.
4.Create a win-win value proposition with which to
reach out to those prospective partners.
5.Reach out to those prospective strategic partners.
Skip Weisman, Poughkeepsie, NY (from the ASJ article, “How to
Use Strategic Partnerships to Boost Your Prospecting”)
9. Creative marketing::
Barbara A. Pietrangelo, Ada, MI
Contact centers of influence (CPAs, credit unions/banks, and
attorneys, for instance). These people can send you a tremendous
amount of life, long term care insurance, and annuities. Many
banks and CPAs carry their insurance license and will be glad to
split business with you. Don’t forget that your first and
primary goal is to gain their trust. None of them will want to
work with you if they see you are only there for your benefit.
Brandon McDowell, Newport Beach, CA
11. An informative Web site:
You don’t want a pretty Web site that doesn’t generate leads and
doesn’t get you results. Your Web site must be informative
(e.g., free report, whitepaper, etc.), give a clear call to
action, have your phone number clearly displayed, and include a
sign-up box where visitors can provide their email or contact
information so you can communicate with them regularly over
Bill Losey, Wilton, NY
12. Tried-and-true methods::
Invest in traditional advertising mediums, such as billboards,
newspapers, TV, and radio. Networking groups are also a worthy
advertising investment. These groups are a great value for the
money. Membership dues aren’t too expensive, and it’s a good way
to generate referrals and leads. Members can cultivate
relationships with other business owners and community leaders,
showcase their business, share ideas and, in some cases,
exchange leads. Other than the time spent putting together an
occasional presentation and membership dues, participating in
these groups is like free advertising.
H.Q. La, Portland, OR
13. The media:
Cultivate a relationship with your local media. Pick up the
phone or send an email to let reporters know of your area of
expertise and how you can help them fill pages. Do not be too
pushy, and do not look at the press as another means of
advertising. Be yourself and be informative.
Mark Snyder, Medford, NY
The longer my career is, the more I enjoy plain old networking.
Networking is like golf — it’s about progress, not perfection.
The longer you do it, the more fun it becomes. It yields
cumulative results. People get to know you and what you do
better and better, as you build a history with them. You
actually start looking forward to attending events, seeing old
friends, and meeting new ones. It’s certainly a lot cheaper than
other forms of advertising.
Honey Leveen, Houston, TX
15. Business directories::
Leads are important to every agent, and lead-generation programs
are very expensive. I began my career many years ago in an area
where I did not know anyone. I was introduced to direct mail and
could hardly afford the money required to begin a direct mail
program. At that same time, I was introduced to the city
directories that are found in many public libraries. These
directories provide an alphabetical listing of all the residents
and businesses in a given area. In addition, they contain a
street directory that lists every resident of a street.
I would write all this information on a card, and I had five
cards made for each appointment. During my meetings, I would
always attempt to develop a fact-finding interview, and through
the course of the meeting, I would ask if they knew their
next-door neighbor and would mention their neighbor’s name. I
would tell them I was about to call on their neighbor, and would
they mind if I used their name when I did? Most of the time,
they would grant their approval, and my appointment ratios with
these types of contacts was always more than 50 percent
Rick D. Miller, Tampa, FL
16. Your competitors:
Go to your competitors’ Web sites, or look at their literature
where they brag about existing clients and target those as your
prospects. Better yet, do a search on who is linked to their Web
sites and target those companies, as they are prime prospects.
Dan Seidman, Barrington, IL
[Prospecting is] an age-old problem. But the most successful
people are the ones who can use referrals as the lifeblood of
Vince Ashton, executive director of HealthPass (from the ASJ
article, “Health Agents Confront Issues of Affordability,
18. More referrals::
The best way to find prospects always has been, and forever will
be, a referral. If you had enough referrals, there would be no
need for ad campaigns or seminars; you wouldn’t even have time
for them. I have seen retail advisors who get five to 10
referrals a week and wholesalers who can barely handle the
incoming phone volume of people seeking them out.
If you want to grow your referral base, it’s very simple — just
help people get what they want and avoid what they don’t. If you
help them and forget about yourself, they will send referrals in
George MacAllister, Boston, MA
19. Other agents:
The best prospecting-related advice I’ve ever been given came
from a fellow MDRT member and my roommate at an MDRT Annual
Meeting. Whenever he is introduced to a new MDRT friend or
reconnects with a fellow MDRT member he has not seen for some
time, he asks them this simple question: “What are you currently
doing to get in front of new prospects?” He then listens to them
share their best prospecting techniques. It turns a simple
introduction into a way for him to hear the best ideas on
Robert N. Garneau, Bedford, NH
20. On their birthdays::
The best prospecting technique I have used is to contact people
on their birthday. I have picked up more business by contacting
people on their birthday to wish them well than any other
prospecting technique. By simply picking up the phone to pass
along my best wishes, one thing leads to another. This is such a
simple idea, but unfortunately not a lot of people really
utilize this idea. Mark A. Silverman, Miami, FL
21. When you can:
Set aside time on a regular basis to attend to prospecting.
Don’t wait until you run out of prospects or suddenly need more.
Discipline your prospecting so it’s something you do every day,
every week. I schedule time for prospecting each day, and I have
specific goals for the number of calls I make and the letters I
send. At the end of the week, I look back and assess how well I
kept my activity on track.
WHERE TO PROSPECTT
22. Where your target market is:
You can earn an unlimited number of qualified prospects by
networking with those people and organizations connected to the
type of client you are looking for. For example, if you work in
the senior market and your specialty includes helping applicants
qualify for veterans benefits or Medicaid, then networking with
assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, and
nursing homes will allow you to create a stream of referrals
that have been pre-qualified by those who know what you do and
what a prospect looks like to you. Networking is probably one of
the easiest methods of prospecting to initiate. You are talking
to people for whom your services may make their job easier, and
it does not cost them anything (other than time) to provide a
referral service for you.
23. Community service opportunities:
Being active in my community and volunteering personal skills to
nonprofits has generated a wealth of prospects. No doubt having
your heart in the right place and generously giving of your time
can build relationships. As those relationships develop and
trust strengthens, prospects (and fellow volunteers) soon become
clients. Robelynn H. Abadie, Baton Rouge, LA
24. Big events::
This business is all about being in front of people, so it’s
time to get out of your office and start attending
multi-prospect venues and events. You should always accept
invitations to attend community, spiritual, or charitable
events. However, you must make these events a productive use of
your time. Do some research prior to the event. Who will be
attending? Whom do you want to meet?
25. Associations and societies::
Professional associations and societies are competing for
membership dues, creating a need for new, valuable member
benefits. Ask your current clients what associations they belong
to, and set a meeting to go speak to the executive director.
Discounted disability and/or long term care insurance can be
offered at zero cost to the association, and it helps them
attract and retain members while opening you up to a large group
of people that have a need for your services and trusted advice. Brian M. Johnson, Clifton Park, NY
26. At their office:
When visiting a business owner in a professional building or a
strip mall, at the conclusion of the appointment, ask the
business owner to introduce you to the neighbors on each side
(or upstairs or downstairs). If the neighboring owner is not
present at the time, get their name and telephone (business
card) and follow up with a phone call telling them you were
introduced by their neighbor. If properly executed, this
technique can increase your appointments. Hugo Castro, Miami, FL
27. The gym:
For me, the best prospecting is social prospecting at the gym.
When I walk into the gym I have a suit on (so they know I am in
a professional career). However, when I approach individuals on
the gym floor, I am in shorts and a T-shirt, putting us all on a
level playing field as far as appearances go. When people work
out, their guard is down. As I meet people and get to know them,
and in turn let them know what I do, the eventual question or
request for help comes up, and I’m more than happy to formally
sit and chat.
HOW TO PROSPECTT
28. Narrow it down and follow through: Identify clients who fit within the target demographic for a
life settlement (age 65+, life expectancy between 25 months and
17 years, no terminal illness or chronic/catastrophic
conditions, owns life insurance policy with at least $250,000
face value — most commonly a universal life policy). Conduct a
planning meeting with your client to determine their current
insurance needs and review their existing life insurance
coverage. Determine if their current coverage amount and the
policies continue to meet the needs for which they were intended
and if those policies are performing in accordance with the
needs and expectations of the insured. If it is determined that
any or all of their coverage is not meeting the performance
expectations, then a life settlement transaction may be suitable
for consideration, and you can recommend that a settlement
should be further explored. Larry Simon, San Diego, CA
29. Don’t lose touch:
Keep in contact with past clients. I just had a call from a
former customer; she had kept my contact information and wanted
quotes on health insurance. People enjoy being remembered on
their birthdays or Thanksgiving, and that would be a great time
to include a business card. Penny Collins, Scottsdale, AZ
30. Take a different approach:
I am a long term care insurance specialist, and when I deliver
the policies to new clients I tell them two things. First, I
tell them I genuinely hope they never have to use this new
policy. And second, I tell them not to keep me a secret. That
usually gets me a puzzled look. Then I continue by telling them
that I know that sometime over the next few months or years, the
topic of long term care will come up in a conversation with the
people they know. “And when it does,” I say, “I hope you feel
confident enough about our relationship and my services to
mention that you have someone who really knows the subject and
might be able to help them in the same way I helped you. Here
are a few of my business cards in case you find them more
convenient to use in that situation.”
31. Have an effective referral technique:: Like most advisors, I have found that referrals are the most
valuable prospecting source, but I have always found it
difficult to get clients to provide names of people to refer me
to. To combat that, I have found that if I provide the names of
people that we have in common, they are much more amenable to
acknowledging that they know the people. Plus, I can be referred
to the kinds of prospects I want to, rather than leaving it to
their discretion. Daniel W. Worthington, San Francisco, CA
32. Encourage personal introductions: People like to help. But, I have found they shy away from
seeking help. The “I can do this on my own” mentality is common.
In our business, we go to great lengths to find ways for clients
to recognize that working with multiple micromanagers is one
reason they are confused and frustrated.
I offer a different experience that combats confusion and
frustration, because my approach is visual and helps clients see
firsthand the benefits of owning life insurance. While talking
about detailed, comprehensive data, I tell them not to be
surprised that I’m jotting down names as I’m learning about
their world — frankly because these people are important to
them. As clients learn more, excitement is common. When this
happens, the prospecting begins; we’ll review the names, and
they’ll tell me who I should avoid contacting. Dean Harder, Zionsville, IN
33. Be persistent:Lenann McGookey Gardner, Albuquerque, NM
34. Use specific products::
In my mind, your best prospects are the clients that you already
have. That’s why I recommend taking time in every life insurance
planning scenario to introduce the idea of whole life insurance,
when appropriate. Whole life insurance is not only a great
product that has guarantees that look better every day in light
of our current economy, but is also permanent and very flexible,
thereby cementing a client relationship that permits you to
return to the client year after year to meet their evolving
needs. Richard St. Jean, Boston, MA
KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING:
35. Focus on the five senses:
First impressions are everything. Be sure that you are
consciously aware of what your clients will see, smell, touch,
taste, and hear when they meet with you.
36. Reconnect with wholesalers:
These professionals are equipped with educational tools,
real-life stories, and a wealth of resources you should not
37. Create an advisory council.
After all, your clients know you better than any prospect.
38. Rebuild your tax-planning knowledge: Sign up for a tax-planning refresher course.
3.9 Get the facts:
Always make sure that you know where everything is, and what
it’s worth, before ever implementing a strategy.
40. Document, document, document:
Keep records of every conversation with clients, write memos to
files, and put your advice in writing.
41. Be a leader:
Your advice, empathy, and integrity are needed more than ever.
Make sure that you always place your client’s interest first.
Marc S. Freedman, Peabody, MA
TAKE IT STEP BY STEP:
42. Ask your current clients for referrals: Your clients are your best source of new business — but you must
ask. Tell them who you are looking for, and then ask them to
make the introduction.
43. Attend networking events once a week: Go where you clients go, and meet others. Pay for events and put
them on your calendar. Go to build relationships and learn about
other people. Networking events are not the place to sell. Your
purpose is to make connections and learn how you can help
44. Build a strong presence on LinkedIn: Include articles and short presentations. Your goal is to share
information. Let people find out about you. Before you meet with
a new prospect, check their profile on LinkedIn.
45. Always prospect:
When we’re busy, it’s difficult to focus on prospecting.
However, everyone has time to make one more call a day. That’s
at least 20 more calls a month. We all have time to prospect,
but you must make the time.
46. Hire someone to do administrative
tasks:Joanne Black, Greenbrae, CAA
47. Build connections with all family members: My practice has been successful in developing a marketing
program geared toward teaching parents how to talk with their
children about money to engender financial literacy and money
values. We have mapped out age-appropriate lesson plans up until
the child’s 18th birthday., collecting the dates of birth of our
clients’ children and sending the parents these lesson plans on
their child’s birthday. We then give them step-by-step
suggestions on how to implement this plan throughout the 12
months that follow until our next suggestion. The end result is
an ongoing conversation with your clients about the most
important thing in their lives — their kids.
48. Build Relationships::
An agent can take the transactional route or the relationship
approach when it comes to prospecting. I have found over the
years that the relational method works best for me. With that in
mind, I’ve had significant success building my practice working
with property and casualty insurance agents. Damon S. Winter, Clackamas, OR
49. Focus yourself:
The best advice I can give is to be a laser beam and focus your
attention on one segment, whether that be life, DI, health,
Medicare, LTCI, or dental/vision. Then, as you pick up clients
in those markets, cross sell when necessary. You can’t be
everything to everybody. People should know you as “The Health
Guy,” or “The DI Lady,” or “The Medicare Aficionado.” Bob Levine, Atlanta, GA
50. Focus your audience:
I believe that creating a niche market is a surefire way to
explode your income. For example, try trucking companies, day
cares, gyms, whatever you have an interest in, and work that
market. Become the expert — it works 100 percent of the time.
Also try volunteering to do free workshops. Donette Thomas, Greensboro, NC
51. Reach out to colleagues:
First, set up appointments with business owners or human
resource directors for the purpose of conducting a fact-finding
interview to determine whether they would benefit from a
disability product offering. The reason for building a strategic
partnership with another producer or specialist is to provide
your client with the best knowledge and strategies available in
the disability market. As the DI industry has become more
complex, it has become necessary to utilize specialists for
proper benefit planning. John F. Nichols, Chicago, IL (from the ASJ article, “5 Steps to
Building a Hugely Successful DI Practice”)
52. Don’t beat a dead horse:
Prospecting has its own set of rules, including the fact that it
takes less than a minute to find out if someone is a prospect,
and that when the prospect firmly says, “I’m not interested,”
you should believe him or her and politely disconnect. Bill Good, Draper, UT (from the ASJ article, “What to Do with
Here's an example of
the power of the simple newsletter to generate
annuity leads and Insurance leads.
Here’s some reason comments I’ve been hearing
from PMR Members who use our newsletter and “Tell-A-Friend
Certificate ” Insert.
......An easy $60,000+...
I've only sent two issues of your newsletter and already it's
brought me $60,700 worth of annuity business. I can't think of a
better way to stay connected with clients and generate new
I have been
using your newsletters to send to my clients and potential
clients. the other day a guy came in with a newsletter
that his brother had given to him. He is rolling over
$487,000. Thanks R. Smith, Forney, Texas
......I mail about 400 newsletters a month and receive about
6-10 referrals per month. In 18 months it's brought me in over
$700,000 in sales. This past May alone I sold a
$54,900 annuity, a $178,000 IRA Rollover, and a
$117,695 annuity. The newsletter allows us to stay in front
of our client's eyes until they are ready to do business with
us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
......I can directly attribute the newsletter for generating
over $200,000.00 in sales over the last 14 months. Theses
sales had an average of 37.4% gross profit. We spent $6,750.00
in sending out the mailings to receive about $60,000.00
in gross profit. Just do the math and it comes to 888% return!!!
Everyone tells me how much they enjoy receiving and READING it.
Keep up the good work.
......AMAZING... I had an annuity
lead I was trying to close for 3 years – after they received
their first newsletter from me, they immediately called and I
sold them a $75,000 annuity! That was easy!
......This newsletter is a
building block to having a stable business. The newsletter keeps
my clients from wandering off! I receive 5-6 referrals a month.
In total volume, I'd say it's brought me over $540,000 worth of
For more information on our
website and client newsletter go take a test drive over at
http://www.PmrSystem.com You can receive a 30 day free
"How You Can Make Well Over $200,000.00 Per Year as
Insurance Agent Working Less Than 15 Hours a Week....Have a Top Income AND a Life..... And NEVER Have to Make a
Call You Dread or Waste Your Time With
Unrealistic Prospects or unqualified Prospects, Ever Again."
The quickest and most efficient way for you to get all my
ideas at once so you can start seeing changes in your
business right away is to visit my site at:
____________________________________________________________ "FREE LIST COUNT"
The number one secret you need to know about selling
annuities is having a quality list of CD, IRA Holders and
Affluent Widows to mail your postcards and
The most important marketing tip I can give you is have a
good list. Our company uses a list broker that has been
Get More Sales By Using Modern Technology New Prospects
a day, 7 days a week and you will receive their phone number
to boot. Here's how the nations top
agent position themselves as something other than "Common
Salespeople." Click here for a Free Info Pack on FREEDOM
"Thanks to your 3-Step Postcard System
on my first 1500 postcard mailing I wrote the largest annuity of
my career. It was a $770,000 annuity rollover from an IRA
distribution."Tony Cervantes, MI
"This is Unbelievable!" I moved $235,000
and made $13,237 from my first Granny Postcard mailing.
Ed Robert. Atlanta, GA
"Russ; they worked! I just sent my
first mailing and the first response was 37 leads in the first
week. I am sending out 3500 every three weeks. So
all the leads will be added to my monthly newsletter. Last
month (June07) we wrote $904,000 in annuities. The first
time in a long time I made $78,300 in a month."
Michael M. Smith, IL.
your sales with our
"3-Step Postcard System™"
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR
"Russ; they worked!
I just sent my first mailing and the first response was 37 leads in
the first week. I am sending out 3500 every three weeks.
So all the leads will be added to my monthly newsletter. Last
month (June 07) we wrote $904,000 in annuities. The
first time in a long time I made $78,300 in a month. "
Michael Smith, MO.