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  • Women Value and Are Seeking Your Advice

    I often want to eyeball roll when I hear the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” line, but the truth is that as much as we have in common, when it comes to finances and retirement, men and women come at it from different angles and rely on their “advisors” (whether professional or just "friends with opinions") for different kinds of feedback. I found the recent Empowerment Survey, conducted by Midland National to have some interesting findings that can help inform how you reach out to your clients and prospects.
    This first stat feels staggering: 90% of all women will be solely responsible for their household’s financial well-being at some point in their life, yet they aren’t confident in planning. Overall, women rate their knowledge significantly lower than men (3.30 vs. 3.58 on a six-point scale). 
    Women tend to seek advice more often, from a range of people such as their partner (28% of women vs. 17% of men), their employer (56% of women vs. 44% of men) or friends and family (34% of women vs. 26% of men). It appears they are looking for a trusted advisor—could that be you? Perhaps, if you address their concerns, including the fact that women are most concerned about saving for mortgage/rent expenses and emergencies, and more than men are, according to the survey.
    And the good news: Women place more value on advisor expertise and communication than men do. On a 10-point scale: expertise is 9.1 for women vs. 8.7 for men, and communication is 8.3 for women vs. 7.7 for men.
    In addition, women have more concerns about outliving their money and need more reassurance for “what-if” scenarios. This includes education on what’s available to them. So, in a world that seems increasingly DIY, agents and advisors can play a strong advisory role to women and help them get the risk-based products they need along with the retirement planning help they’re asking for.

    It's Time to Ride the Celebrity Wave

    Danica Patrick’s star is white-hot right now. She’s leaving racing as the top female to compete in the sport, and is poised to take all her businesses—from fitness to clothing to wine—to the next level. She’s on a journey and we’re on one, too, with her as the spokesperson for September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month.
    Your LIAM resources are now ready for you to peruse and start using—yes, you can use them now, through September and the ones featuring Danica all the way to Dec. 31 of this year. (And there is no "end date" for using all the evergreen resources!)
    Check out this amazing video Danica has done for us to use as we all spread the word and the theme for this year’s LIAM: “Journey to Financial Fitness” and how life insurance is a key component of that.
    This is just one of a slew of resources Life Happens has created for you to use. Check them all out here: www.lifehappens.org/liam.
    Remember, to access the complete suite of LIAM resources, you need to be a member of Life Happens Pro Plus or Premium (versus Lite), which also gives you the ability to put your logo or photo and contact info on the resources, and with Premium, you can actually take the Life Happens logo off an make the resources 100% your own. Amazing. Where else can you get star power like that with your branding. Check it out.
    If you have questions about your subscription, reach out to support@lifehappens.org.

    New Podcast Explores Local Engagement, Contests, Reviews, and More

    We interview Scott Bond of Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee about how exactly he uses sports to connect with his audience and tons of other useful social media marketing tips.
    Bond appears in the latest episode of the Marketing Happens podcast which is now available for download or streaming.
    He shares how he taps into his home office’s sponsorship of a National Hockey League team for local promotion and giveaways.
    “Those contests will supercharge your business page with engagement, likes, shares, comments, and with new followers,” says Bond
    We touch on Bond’s personal approach to posting and how he uses social to stay in touch with his clients and become informed of life changes—an under-utilized aspect of digital marketing.
    Bond shares advice for new agents who are entering the social world. He stresses the importance of being authentic and how he doesn’t believe in “selling” on social.
    We finish on reviews and how simple it can be for agents to get them.
    iTunes link
    Web browser link
    Google Play link

    Get Them Early On

    Jennifer Mann, LUTCF, CLU, ChFC, CFP, vice president of the Chicago office of Lenox Advisors and 13-year MDRT member, got into this business 14 years ago because “the overall planning aspect got me excited,” she says. Her practice focuses on professionals in their 20s, 30s and 40s. She works from home most of the time, with 70% to 80% of her work done over the phone, as her clients live all over the country. We talked to her about her practice and path to success.
    Your clientele skews younger. What do you like about working with this demographic?
    Relative to what’s considered high-net worth, they aren’t necessarily there yet. They haven’t accumulated as much, but they’re young, and they’re going to be there. Plus, I like getting people early on, before they make too many financial mistakes, and where you’re building a relationship for the future. They’ll be clients for life, and you’ll grow with them.
    Where does life insurance come in?
    In the protection component; that’s when we start talking about it, but it also flows over into the retirement too. I do a lot of whole life, and while the primary purpose for insurance protection is the need for a death benefit, there are many supplemental uses for this great product as well.
    Do you layer in term as well?
    Yes, definitely. I typically talk about the four phases of life that life insurance can help you with. Phase one: I have a family and want to make sure they’re taken care of if something happens to me. Phase two: I’m starting to make some money, so I’m sensitive to taxes. Phase three: I’m in retirement, and I’d like the option for some tax-free income. And phase four: Whatever I haven’t spent, I’d like to pass on to whomever or whatever organization I choose versus Uncle Sam.
     People may be in multiple phases at once or may skip a phase all together. But that’s how I start the conversation. My strategy is to first help them get the right amount of coverage and then the right structure as quickly as possible. We start with term and convert as appropriate.
    Millennials often get a bad rap. What’s been your experience working with them?
    Younger people saw what happened in 2008 and even again in 2010, and are more fearful of the market. They like the safety of life insurance, and want more guidance on the investment side. I also find Millennials are asking more questions.
     From their perspective, they’re proud of doing research, asking questions and, honestly, not using “dad’s guy.” The feel like their parents’ advisor is helping them as a favor, because of how little money they have. Millennials want to be more hands on. They want to learn and not accept “this is how we do it.”
    What objections do you hear when it comes to getting life insurance coverage, and how do you address them?
    The biggest objection is the amount. $1 million sounds like a ton of money to people, but with younger clients, they’ve never thought about what that means. They say, “I would pay off my mortgage,” but that may or may not be the best thing for them to do. Or, they say, “My family would help,” but they don’t take into account a host of other things. 
    The other objection I hear is the premium. Again, they say, “My family would take care of us.” Or they’ve heard, “Buy term invest the difference,” so they’re anti permanent insurance. But once we start looking at the numbers, a lot of times that’s overcome.
    What are the biggest mistakes you see fellow agents and advisors making?
    For new advisors, it’s not doing joint work. Half of something is better than all of nothing. I did almost exclusively joint work my first two years, and that helped. I worked with multiple people so I could learn different styles and philosophies.
    Also, some are afraid to prospect until they “know their stuff,” because they don’t want to look bad in front of friends and family and people they don’t know. But the reality is, you can always bring someone in to help with the product knowledge, but if you have no one to see, you have no business. 
    What can they do to improve their business or better serve their clients and prospects?
    Become involved in organizations like MDRT where they are continuously learning and improving their minds, their craft and their business. And then, implement what you learn. If you‘re going to stay in this business, love what you do and care about your clients. Your sincerity shows through and that’s how you build relationships.

    Social Media Success in One Hour a Week

    If you ask agents or advisors why they aren’t using social media or using it more often, you’ll likely hear that it takes too much time. We get it. Finding something to post about, creating a graphic, writing something insightful, posting to all the various social-media platforms—it takes time and energy. When those are in short supply, social media often gets put into the “too hard” folder.
    Meet Paul Mallett, an insurance agent who also works at a real-estate appraisal business. Would you believe that Paul runs two businesses and keeps up with his social-media posting in just one hour a week? His secret? Life Happens Pro.
    Staying Top of Mind
    Coming from a marketing background, Paul knows how important social media is to stay top of mind with prospects. His time, however, is limited. On Sunday afternoons, Paul logs into Life Happens Pro and takes just one dedicated hour to schedule all of his social-media posts for the week.   

    Paul selects graphics, videos, and other media in Life Happens Pro and chooses the desired days, times and channels, such as Facebook or Twitter, for posting. He also adds his own commentary to the post, when possible.
     Paul selects graphics, videos, and other media in Life Happens Pro and chooses the desired days, times and channels, such as Facebook or Twitter, for posting. He also adds his own commentary to the post, when possible.

    “For me, the value of Life Happens Pro is the time I save,” says Paul. “I know that if I’m actively posting, I’m driving traffic to my website.”
    Once social-media users are sent to Paul’s site, they find other useful tools like the Life Happens embeddable Life Insurance Needs Calculator and a learning library of other articles and resources. Providing clients with easy access to accurate information lets them be in the driver’s seat when purchasing life insurance.

    Clients Are Ready to Buy
    Paul notes that “by the time people call me, they’ve gone through my website and done their research. They’ve already made a decision and are ready to buy; I simply look for any holes they might have missed and provide recommendations.”
    In terms of marketing resources, Paul attributes 80%-90% of what he uses to Life Happens Pro, from images to articles. In addition, he finds it user-friendly. “You don’t have to be an expert to use it. Fifteen minutes with Dee [Customer Success Manager] is all you need to set things up. It’s not as scary as some people might think. Most agents can do this,” he says.
    Paul acknowledges he hasn’t even scratched the surface of Life Happens Pro. It also allows agents to create personalized brochures and flyers, set up email marketing campaigns, and more.
    Fast Facts
    Paul Mallett: www.lifewithpaul.com/
    Insurance niche: Term life insurance, disability
    Customer base: Young families, new home owners