Lead Generation Marketing – Day 5: Marketing for financial planners and life insurance agents

*** Every weekday for 30 days, I’m giving you one “big idea” to solve your toughest marketing challenge.  To submit your problem for consideration, follow the format today’s subscriber used, and then hit “reply” with your own specific details and challenges.  My assistant will filter through these and forward me the best ones to review ***

Today’s question comes from Ben Jones who asks:


Given your personal past experience in my industry, I’ve long been eager to hear your take on effective marketing strategies for my business.  I actively use one of your pieces already (a two-step lead gen ad for life insurance “swiped” from your site.  Thanks!), in addition to several strategies from your book.

So my market is Houston and my business is life insurance sales.  Specifically, improving (1035 replacement) the permanent life insurance investments of people ages 65-79.  These people already own permanent life insurance with a face amount of $100k or greater.  As I mentioned, these are permanent, cash value, current assumption policies.  I, through a well positioned offer, seek to gain an appointment where an audit on their current life insurance is discussed and performed.  Where possible, I create an improved position, through higher death benefit, lower premium, or both.  It’s a great deal for both of us, but not widely marketed, thus not widely known to the consumer.

My question to you is how best to locate prospects for this market?  You can’t buy a list of current life policy owners.  I currently use your 2 step lead gen strategy in a senior “shopper” type paper that is distributed free at grocery stores and the like.  It is effective, but a shotgun strategy at best.  I want to do more intense, targeted marketing.  I have tried direct mail, but the list seems to be my hang up.  The last time I did DM, I used a list with selects of the age range 65-79 and homeowners of +/- 15% of median value homes in my area.  What I figured to be my average prospect.  Not great results.

How can I more efficiently, more effectively locate and market to my target prospect market?

Thanks in advance for your insight and please keep the good stuff coming!”

Ben’s looking for media matches, which is sometimes the trickiest part of your business.  In fact, one of my criteria for entering new businesses, is having EASY access to prospects through known existing media channels, both online and offline.

Another issue Ben has is that he’s selling life insurance.  Life insurance is one of THE toughest things to sell.  Why?

Because NO ONE wants to buy it!  It’s the ultimate in “necessary evils,” and whenever you’re selling something no one wants, you have an uphill battle from the get go.  Remember, people buy what they want, and it’s much easier to sell into this, because your buyers are accepting what you have to offer with open arms, as opposed to resisting what you’re selling, which is what happens with life insurance.

Having said this… as Ben alluded to, I know quite a bit about selling life insurance.  See, before getting involved in direct-marketing, I ran a life insurance and financial planning practice for 6 years.

And yes, Ben’s correct, you can’t find a list of people who currently own life insurance policies.  But before I make the suggestions he’s looking for, let me also say that prospecting in “free” magazines is usually one of the worst things to do, if you’re looking to make a lot of money.

People who read free magazines aren’t usually PWM (“Players With Money”).  If you’re selling used furniture or computer equipment, this is probably a good place to look for leads.  But if you’re trying to find affluent seniors who are in good health and who own life insurance policies with, say $25,000 worth of cash value or more, it’s a huge waste of your time.

However, there are  other lists and media sources, that make perfect sense for Ben to use.  For starters, I’d run advertorial style ads in local newspapers (business and local sections – test them both), local community papers (most residents read these cover to cover), church and religious magazines, and I’d look to see about speaking at local meetings where this audience might be.

Obviously, don’t speak about “How to 1035 your life insurance policy,” because people want to speak with life insurance agents about as much as I’d like to run across my ex-wife.

Speak about “The three most costly mistakes retirees make that cost them TENS of thousands of dollars,” or something like this.  And by the way, 1035 means to switch into a new policy without having any kind of tax implications.

As far as direct mail goes, owning a home alone, isn’t necessarily a particularly compelling target, as Ben’s experienced.  You always want to look for BUYERS of items, because you’ll fine much closer matches.

So what do seniors who own large cash-value life insurance policies also buy?  I can think of four different things, off the top of my head, and it’s still early, so this is probably only a partial listing of what Ben can come up with if he really puts his mind to it:

They buy lots of things, like…

1.  Investments, CD’s, and annuities.  And you can buy mailing lists of each of these kinds of names – you can even buy lists of people who have CDs that are about to expire soon!

2.  These folks also subscribe to lots of financial magazines, like Money and Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal.  And each of these magazines sells their lists.  Although expect a lower response on these names.

3.  They also probably trade online, and these brokers sell their customer names as well.  And you can get selects on all these names, by gender, by dollar value, and by age.

4.  They also own long-term disability policies, and lists of these names may also be available.

Yes, Ben’s going to have a fairly high lead acquisition cost, but so what?  He’s looking at client acquisition values somewhere north of five figures at a minimum, so the ROI on his marketing costs is going to be HUGE, and this isn’t counting referrals from his offline newsletter program.  (Read Chapter 3 in my book for detailed information on how to put together an effective offline newsletter.)

Generating qualified leads is a specialty of mine, developed over the last ten plus years I’ve been involved in direct marketing.  I am so fussy about this, primarily because I have the patience of a gnat, and wasting time is not only the biggest business sin I can commit, but my biggest and most troublesome problem in life, in general.  After all, time is about the only thing that’s fixed and limited in your life.  You can make all the money you want, but unfortunately, time is one account you can’t grow.

That’s why, throughout my book, I discuss one strategy after another that ensures you’re dealing with qualified prospects only.  And in this month’s Seductive Selling Newsletter (which you can test-drive, free), Example 6 is a GREAT example of using curiosity in a headline, along with a short and snappy ad, to generate qualified leads.

Okey dokey Ben, have at it, and keep me posted on what happens.

Now go sell something, Craig Garber

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About the Author

Craig GarberAuthor of "How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers, " and publisher of Seductive Selling - an offline marketing newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. In a nutshell, I do two things: 1. I show you how to attract a reliable, steady stream of pre-qualified leads who are ready to do business with you NOW... 2. And I increase your net profits and cash-flow, by increasing your customer, client, or patient value -- often, dramatically. How do I do this? By developing, and helping you implement, unique, personalized lead generation and marketing strategies... using compelling sales messages that push your customers emotional buy-buttons. I've worked with over 300 clients in more than 104 different industries, since March of 2000, and I really enjoy what I do. I'm a stable, reliable, happily married family guy with three kids who loves life and always follows through on my commitments and promises. I love to listen to music, workout, read, travel with my family, take pictures, and go bass fishing. I always say "Yes," when it comes to good cigars, good books, and good coffee :-)