How to Sell Life Insurance

Benefits of Selling Life Insurance

God’s Work

You may think this is silly, but there is much truth in it. When you sell life insurance, you are doing God’s work. I say that with complete sincerity.

I think it was the Goldman Sachs CEO during the Great Recession that said that the company was doing God’s work in the midst of suffering Americans who perhaps blamed the financial industry for their woes. The good news is that it’s a little different for us life insurance agents! My point about selling life insurance is that you do GOOD work.

Life Insurance Agent Job Description

The nature of life insurance is unique. Your clients’ beneficiaries realize the beauty of what we do when their loved one we insured passes away. While everyone else is taking money… the estate, the probate court, taxes, family members… we step in and actually provide money.

This helps survivors pay off final expenses and other financial obligations. Life insurance may even help maintain the lifestyle the survivors were accustomed to.

As an agent learning how to sell life insurance, you provide peace of mind that very few sales people in other industries could never provide. All life insurance agents should hold their heads high because of the good work they do! You can stand proud for what you do and the help that you give.

The Money

That brings us to our second benefit of selling life insurance. When you learn how to sell life insurance effectively, you can make a GREAT living.

One of the things about learning how to sell life insurance is that you can literally write your own paycheck. Even if you’re dealing with low-income people like selling final expense insurance, you can make a six-figure income with enough dedication and hard work.

Statistically, there are more millionaires in the financial services industry than any other industry. If making money is a big goal of yours, then great! Selling life insurance provides the pathway to do just that.


For many agents, especially independent agents, freedom to run their lives as they see fit is a huge benefit learning how to sell life insurance provides. A licensed insurance agent is a business owner, and has full decision-making power choosing which carriers to work with.

Also, in many cases, agents have the power to make their own schedule. That means you can decide when you take time off from work and when you go on vacations. Maybe, you’ve got events with your children. They’re still in school, and you want to spend time with them. You can definitely do that selling life insurance.

For example, I take the end of the year off to spend with my family at Christmas time. Could I do that with a “real” job? Of course not!

The difference between learning how to sell life insurance and a “regular” job is that the latter means you have a boss and requires that you put in a number of hours.


But there is a potential “downside” to all this freedom… With Freedom, comes responsibility. The good news is that freedom is attainable, especially for agents who work hard at figuring out how to sell life insurance successfully.

Relationship Business

Selling life insurance is a relationship business. This is not a transactional type of sale. you’re not a store clerk taking orders. Instead, you must sell yourself and make connections with your target prospects. In other words, successful life insurance agents create a foundation of a real friendship with their clients.

Relationships Sell

A relationship orientation in sales allows more life insurance sales opportunities as well as referrals. The beauty of learning how to sell life insurance successfully is once you establish a relationship, you’re in a position to help them with more insurance as their needs change. All of this is because the people who buy from you want that business relationship. They want someone to fill the role of a life insurance advisor.

Passive Income

What is passive income? Passive income is income you don’t have to necessarily work for in the long-term. For example, there are many insurance products that pay lifetime renewals. And with enough clients, an agent can make a very comfortable living off maintaining his book of business.

Most products for life insurance have renewals. Some don’t have it at all, like term insurance. Permanent types of products like final expense companies usually have some kind of renewal.

With that, there is the ability to passively earn some kind of income. To boost your renewal income, you can cross sell renewal-focused products like Medicare Advantage or Property and Casualty to your leads and book of business.

Also, you can recruit, build an agency, and duplicate yourself. When you recruit and train life insurance agents, you earn income from their production. Bottom line, there’s a great opportunity to earn income passive selling life insurance, either through cross-selling or recruiting.

Level Up!

With learning how to sell life insurance successfully, the sky’s the limit! Most that enter the insurance sales business start as a licensed agent. However, over time you can grow your career into management or a corporate leadership role.

Prefer not to have a job ever again? That’s fine! If you prefer selling, you can move up to more lucrative markets as you build your experience level. Most agents start with an entry-level, such as final expense or Medicare. And some stick with it for their entire career!

It is completely fine to stay in something like final expense or Medicare sales. Lots of money can be made in both. Others will level up into annuity sales, or possibly get into the small business market. When you learn how to sell life insurance, you can grow as much as you desire!


When learning how to sell life insurance, you’ll discover there are many life insurance markets to choose from. The best analogy to think of is the automobile market. You have entry-level cars like Kia. Then you’ve got kind of mid-level consumer cars, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet. And of course there’s the luxury cars like Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes.

They all appeal to a different target market. Some target the low-price market, while others appeal to the high end market. The same concept applies to the life insurance business. You have different groups of people and with different insurance goals.

For example, I focus on selling final expense insurance. This is predominantly a senior-citizen product with the average prospect 60 years and older. However, if you’re not too keen on the senior market, you could target small business owners.

Small business owners have good incomes and a need for insurance-based financial planning. Also, you could sell disability insurance, key man protection to cover important people that work for the small business owner, and life insurance planning for the business owner.

Bottom line, new agents much choose the business model that most makes sense to them. Once that’s complete, then you must drive all your focus on that market to become an expert. You tend to make more money as a specialist in life, not just in insurance but in all careers.

Work Ethic Rewarded

Thankfully, figuring out how to sell life insurance rewards those with considerable work ethic. For me, as an entrepreneur looking into learning how to sell life insurance successfully, I thought, “Wow, this is exactly what I want! I can work as hard as I want, and make the kind of income I want.”

If you:

  • Have a good work ethic,
  • Focus on seeing the people,
  • Help your life insurance prospects out, and,
  • Put your clients’ welfare above your own,

You’ll do great selling life insurance. Hard work pays off in dividends. Just be forewarned that hard work is front-loaded. You must work hard during your first few years before letting off the gas.

Simple, But Not Easy

Last but not least, learning how to sell life insurance is simple, but not easy. It is simple because life insurance is something everybody really needs. Very few people don’t need life insurance.

However, if someone is hurt financially because of an unexpected death, life insurance is the way to eliminate any forthcoming financial pain. As a life insurance agent, you want to drill down to your clients’ most visceral emotions regarding death. In return, you want to paint the picture on how your clients’ family suffers given an unexpected death.

You can do this without any high-pressure tactics. Helping our clients into this state of mind opens their minds to how life insurance is the solution. As long as you can ask good questions, it is simple to go through the process of selling life insurance.

Anyone who has seen success KNOWS that this is a difficult business. No more than 5%-10% of new insurance agents survive their first year. That means nine out of 10 of you are out within your first 12 months. Here are the reasons why that’s the case:

  • No business plan. You must have a sales and marketing strategy if you hope to win in the life insurance sales game.
  • No mentor. You need someone in your corner you can call on to help you with sales, marketing, and underwriting questions.

Best Way to Market Life Insurance

Let’s say you’ve picked a niche in selling life insurance and are ready to proceed. Before you do, you must put in place a marketing program that’s proven to get results.

Many people learning how to sell life insurance do not think about their long-term life insurance lead strategy. They randomly try different life insurance leads and ultimately never settle on one strategy. Below are some proven life insurance marketing strategies you can implement.

Project 100 – Friends and Family Warm Market

Working your warm market is the traditional way to generate life insurance business. This is also called the “Project 100.” If you work in a career agency like New York Life, this strategy may sound familiar. Here’s how the Project 100 strategy works.

Everyone has a warm market. You have friends, family, and a sphere of influence. Odds are higher this network of people would listen to your life insurance sales offer than any random agent. Added, your friends and family want you to succeed. This means more willingness to listen, thus more likely to do business with you.

Even better, referral-generation from your sphere of influence is much easier. This helps you grow your pool of prospects with the best life insurance leads one can generate.

Apprehension Working Your Warm Market

If working in your warm market is so great, why do so few do it? For many, selling family and friends is awkward. I wasn’t comfortable with it as a new agent.

Why? As a new agent I had little product knowledge. Plus, I didn’t like the idea of guilt-tripping my sphere of influence to buy. My perception of selling friends and family was negative. I figured I’d lose out not only on sales, but friendships too. It took me years to realize I had the wrong mindset about approaching friends and family.

Introduce Ideas, Not Sell

First, think of “selling friends and family” as introducing them to what you do. If you’re worried about offending family and friends, tell them you’re not going to sell them anything. Assure them your focus is to explain the kind of work you do. This reduces tension for both your warm marketing prospect and yourself.

When you meet, ask fact-finding questions. Learn more about your warm market prospect to see if your life insurance product may help. But do it in an educational, consultative way, not hype-y and high-pressure. If your life insurance product solves a problem, your warm market prospect will sell himself on buying it.

You’ll tell by the questions he asks. Prospects asking questions are a good indicator you’re speaking with someone interested. Using this low-key consultative strategy, you’ll sell warm-market prospects who need your help without “upsetting the apple cart” with those that don’t.

Bottom line, mindset is everything when utilizing the Project 100 warm market strategy as you begin learning how to sell life insurance.

Focus on building value if a life insurance need exists and ask for referrals, regardless if your prospect buys or not. Referrals are the best source of leads in selling life insurance.

One last thing about working your sphere of influence, even if you’re reluctant to sell friends and family, most prefer buying from someone they know versus a someone they don’t. This gives you a big leg-up on making sales and realizing success!

Cold Calls

Now we’ve covered working in your warm market, let’s talk cold calls. Cold calling involves setting appointments over the phone or dropping in unannounced with prospects who have not requested information from you. Maybe you’ve heard claims that cold calling is dead. Not true! Cold calling is alive and well. And arguably working better than in the past and here’s why:

Generating Leads

Most agents invest money into generating insurance leads through Facebook, Google placement ads, direct mail, and so on. However, only a small portion of prospects actually respond to advertisements.

My belief is that only 10% of prospects end up responding. In other words, you’re missing out on 90% of the opportunities! Invesp found the same disturbing trend in internet advertising. 8% of internet users were responsible for 85% of clicks on display ads!

The only way to reach the rest of the 90% is through referrals and cold calling. If cold calling sounds intriguing, consider prospecting the small business market. Many business owners have zero personal benefits and are receptive to cold calls. Plus, they respect you for having the guts to approach them on a cold basis.

Often, business owners will give you 30 seconds to explain why you’re there and what you offer on a cold call approach. And what’s crazy is that it’s rare anymore to see life insurance agents cold calling small businesses.

Finally, cold calling is a great strategy when you have little to no funds to finance a paid lead generation campaign. A little hard work and sweat equity can go a long way!

Seminar Marketing

The next method to generate life insurance leads is actually using a seminar marketing method process. Seminar marketing is pretty simple. You give a presentation to a group of people on a topic related to the product you sell.

For example, if you sell Medicare Supplements, you can do an educational seminar on how Medicare works. Seminar marketing generates an incredible amount of interest in your product while simultaneously generating high-quality leads. Why? Because seminar marketing positions you as the expert. Also, you build rapport and trust with your audience as a speaker. Further, speaking gives you a celebrity-like effect.

There are two primary seminar marketing methods agents use to generate life insurance leads.

Paid Method

This is the traditional “dinner seminar” annuity agents, pre-beed funeral home reps, and Medicare agents put on. You invest thousands of dollars on postcards, radio, and television ads to pull in prospects to listen to your presentation. This method works well, but it just takes a lot of upfront money.

I know an annuity agent that’s writing $1,000,000 in annuity business monthly through this method. To sell that much annuity business, he invests $15,000-$18,000 monthly to find interested prospects.

Cost-Free Approach to Seminar Marketing

Instead of investing a lot of money, approach different locations locally in need of speakers. There are many of these opportunities such as churches, support groups and anywhere a group meets regularly. Having a guest speaker breaks up the monotony, and exposes you to many people who would make great prospects.

The main benefit of cost-free seminars is access to high-quality leads without the large up-front expense. Plus, there’s little to no competition among other insurance agent speakers, since most fear public speaking.

Purchased Leads

The final method I want to talk about is purchased life insurance leads. Purchased leads are one of the most popular forms of generating leads in final expense, Medicare supplements, and mortgage protection.

The concept is simple. If you buy direct mail leads, you place the order and receive leads within 3-4 weeks. With Facebook and Internet leads, you place the ads and receive leads within a day or two.

Not All Leads are Buyers

Not all replies to a purchased lead is a buyer. The definition of a lead is someone who expresses at least a marginal interest in the information offered to them. In fact, a lead system generating 3 out of 4 people that will tell you “not interested” is a positive result!

Why? A 25% conversion rate is sufficient to pay off the lead campaign cost and leave a multiple in profit. Obviously, this number varies, based on average commission and client acquisition cost. The moral of the story is a good paid lead generation system can work well, even with most not buying.

Final Thoughts on Marketing for Life Insurance

I’ll leave you with this: Think long about these 4 different ways to generate life insurance business. Then, choose one and ONLY one marketing approach to master.

You must understand that success in life insurance is all about seeing the people. If you can not set consistent appointments with prospects, you will soon fail, back to the job you hate.

All of the above methods work, as long as you follow the strategy consistently. If you are busy today and not tomorrow, you’re taking half the year off. You’re not seeing enough people, and you’re going to make half the income you could. A good lead system predictably gets prospects on a consistent basis.

Can’t do that? Your lead system sucks! And it’s unlikely that you’re going to see long-term success in life insurance sales. When you consider a lead system, ask yourself:

  • Is this sustainable?
  • Is this something I can scale?
  • Is it something that I can get more than the occasional couple appointments a week?

Make sure you find a life insurance marketing system that allows for the kind of activity necessary to earn the income you want.

How to Sell Life Insurance Tips

Master One Product

I’m a big believer that the best salespeople in all industries are masters of one thing. Think about it. Who makes more money in the medical profession – the general physician or the cardiovascular surgeon? The general physician knows a lot of things, but he doesn’t have specific knowledge like the cardiovascular doctor does.

It doesn’t matter what you sell. You have to know your product well and convince pretty much anyone you run into to do business with you over your competition. Learn how to sell life insurance in a niche you’re passionate about. Become THE expert. Over time, add other products as you develop your skill set. Avoid overload in the beginning.

Use a Proven Lead System

Defining and executing a proven lead generation strategy is pivotal to your success selling life insurance. For example, the top 10% of final expense agents generally all do some sort of direct mail final expense leads. You don’t see a lot of cold calling in this business.

However, you see some telemarketing lead generation, but your big producers pretty much do direct mail. If you’re in the final expense business, you should probably do final expense direct mail leads. It just makes sense to do what others have already tested and proven to work. But perhaps you’re in another line of business. What do you do?

Do your research. Find out what the top life insurance agents do in your particular niche and duplicate it. Brian Tracy said this once that, “Success leaves clues.” And he’s right. Top producers started at the bottom. In most instances, all they did was figure out a strategy to duplicate. In other words, top producers followed someone else’s lead to get results.

Bottom line, learning how to sell life insurance successfully is all about finding a marketing system proven to work.

Sell to the Masses

The best way for new agents to get started in any kind of life insurance business is to find a market with LOTS of prospects. Why? Because the more people you talk to, the more opportunity to sell!

Selling to the masses eliminates the number one issue many agents experience, NOT having enough people to talk to.

With a mass market appeal life insurance product, it’s easier to book more appointments, increasing your sales success odds. Examples of mass market products include:

  • Mortgage protection,
  • Term life insurance to business owners,
  • Final expense

In these 3 categories, there are millions who don’t have enough life insurance, and if you pick one mass market to specialize in, you’ll realize tremendous activity potential.

Focus on Long-Term Opportunities

Take a term insurance salesman. If a term insurance agent is smart, he realizes that many of the people he’s seeing will become customers – not just on a one-time sale – but multiple times over the course of the agent’s career. Whenever possible, make the person you meet with a client.

Once a client, you establish a level of trust. Odds are your client likes you and would continue to buy if you approach him at different stages of life. A smart agent agent focuses on making the sale based on what’s appropriate for the client, not for the agent.

Why? Because making the first sale opens the opportunity for future sales.

For example, I’d rather sell a less-commission product like term insurance than push for a lucrative pay-out product like index universal life, IF my client is more comfortable with the term product. The point is this… you have many opportunities over time as the client goes through different stages in his life to sell more lucrative life insurance coverage.

And the best way to sell life insurance is through making the dinky, low-commission first sale!

Remember, keep the long-term in mind. The power in this business is in the long-term potential for sales with clients you already have. With happy clients, you’ll get more referrals, build deeper into your book of business, and clients will become friends.

Find a Mentor You Like and Trust

Finding a mentor when selling life insurance is vital! Learning how to sell life insurance successfully is like an apprenticeship in the old days.

For example, a father teaches his son his trade so that one day he can replicate his father’s success. Learning how to sell life insurance is exactly the same. You need a mentor to take you under his wing and to show you the ropes. That allows you to learn how to sell life insurance the right way the FIRST time. Life insurance sales mentors help tremendously with all of the following:

  • How to complete an insurance sales presentation in a way to convert more buyers.
  • What insurance sales questions to ask your prospect to develop need and urgency to buy.

With a mentor in your corner, you’ll learn the business faster and likely increase your odds of short- and long-term success when learning how to sell life insurance.

Article By: David Duford

Source: Duford Insurance Group