Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 5/20/16 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
While times have changed and there have been advancements in so many areas, the life insurance sales process can sometimes be a little outdated.
Historically, it’s been presented to the male head of household, so he could make the decision as to how his wife and family would be taken care of in case of his death.
Most times this was done with no input from his wife – and often times, without her even being present for the discussion. And, in fact, this process was OK for all parties involved.
As a producer who sold insurance for a living in my younger years, this always seemed backwards to me.
Here's what you need to know and why it's time to make a shift.
Life insurance purchasing was a man's world
Even though the husband was most often viewed as the major breadwinner whose loss of income would have the greatest impact, the wife/mother would be most significantly impacted by this loss of income.
The resulting change in her lifestyle and that of the family would most often be overwhelming.
Even so, she was largely uninvolved in the decision making process.
What is wrong with this picture?
This was not only true for life insurance purchasing, but also for the decisions regarding retirement planning.
Surprisingly, not all that much has changed as to who the average life insurance producer or financial advisor approaches for the sale.
But I would argue, it needs to change.
Don't overlook your life insurance sales ally
Most producers are still approaching and meeting with the “head of household” who is still largely viewed as the husband.
Whether you think that this is a “fair” assessment as to who is “head of household” in these times of greater equality within a marriage, it is doesn’t change the fact that it’s still happening and it's time for a shift.
In fact, adjusting your approach could result in more sales.
The person who will benefit from the replacement of lost income (in this case the wife) can be your greatest ally in:
- Making the sale.
- Selling the proper amount of coverage.
Studies show that many couples disagree on what it will take to not only support the surviving spouse after the death of the breadwinner, but also how much income will be necessary for the couple to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.
When disagreement amongst the couple occurs, it’s the wife that pushes for greater amounts of protection both for the life insurance policy and the retirement plan.
So, in the point of sale, the wife actually holds much influence.
If you’ve fallen into the trap of only meeting with the “breadwinner,” then it is time to change how you approach your clients.
Shift your focus for more life insurance sales
Here are the two most important things for you to know.
1. Change your approach.
Notice, I said "clients" (plural) as opposed to client (singular).
Start thinking of the couple as your customers, as opposed to just the “breadwinner.”
2. Focus on the surviving spouse.
Your clients are the couple while both are alive. If a death occurs, it’s the surviving spouse.
According to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch study shows that 70% of women change their financial advisor following the death of their spouse.
The main reason for the shift is often because they were excluded from the process as the “advisor relationship” was initially established and then maintained over the years.
The bottom line
If you’re already including both spouses in a household’s life-insurance and retirement planning, then you really don’t need to change a thing.