None of us wants to leave our loved ones with a bill when we pass away. That's the main reason why burial insurance is a product that will sell in any kind of market, making it an attractive option for salespeople. There are some legal requirements to sell burial insurance. Once these are met, most people can learn how to sell burial insurance successfully.
Liscensing and Appointment
Check with your state's insurance licensing board. There are different types of burial insurance, but they are all essentially a form of permanent life insurance. Requirements vary from state to state, but generally you will be required to take a course on life insurance and pass an insurance board exam.
Decide if you would prefer to be a captive agent or an independent agent. Captive agents work for a single company as employees. Independent agents may represent several different companies, and essentially are in business for themselves.
Some advantages of being a captive agent include a salary or draw, fringe benefits (such as health insurance and retirement plans), and company training. Different companies have different packages for their agents. Check with the individual companies you are considering working for.
Some advantages of being an independent agent include higher commission structure and the advantage of being able to use several insurance companies to find the best fit for each client. (For example, if one company you represent won't insure a particular client for health or credit reasons, perhaps a different one will.)
Seek appointments. Most states require insurance agents to maintain an active appointment with at least one insurance company to keep their license current, though usually there is a grace period if you are between companies. Check with your state insurance licensing board for specifics. If you intend to be a captive agent, this process is taken care of for you when you are hired by an insurance company. If you want to be an independent agent, you will need to find burial insurance companies willing to appoint you. (Being appointed by an insurance company means the company is allowing you to represent it and sell its insurance.) You can search for insurance companies looking for agents on Internet sites such as InsuranceWorkforce.com (using the "Search jobs/underwriters" link), through any contacts in the insurance business you may have or by asking funeral directors which companies they recommend.
Find prospective customers. You can buy leads from any of a number of sales lead services, but with burial insurance you may not find it necessary to do so. Everyone you meet who is of legal age to sign a contract (18 in most states) is a prospective customer. A rule of thumb is "always be prospecting." Wherever you find people, mention that you sell burial insurance. Always have business cards and an appointment book on hand. Ask people if they have burial insurance. If they don't, offer to set an appointment to talk with them about their need for coverage. If you are unable to set an appointment at that time, get their number to set up an appointment later, or give them a business card.
Note that burial insurance policies are often available to those who otherwise could not buy life insurance, such as the elderly, those who have life threatening illnesses or folks in nursing homes. Such people are generally more aware of their need for life insurance than others, and have fewer insurance options available to them.
Demonstrate the need for burial insurance during your appointment with clients. Some people are not aware that funerals average more than $7,000. Virtually no one wants to burden his loved ones with those expenses after he is gone. Point this out.
Sell the burial insurance. Usually this will involve filling out an insurance contract and collecting the first premium payment.
Thank the client for her business and ask for referrals. Every client knows people you don't know, and if you have been courteous, clients will often be willing to introduce you to others who may need burial insurance. If a client is willing to give referrals, but can't think of anyone, ask questions like, "Who do you play cards with?" or "Who do you know from work? Church?"
Referred clients are typically the easiest ones to sell to because you were recommended to them by a friend. Once you have a large base of clients, you will find that more and more of your clientele comes by referral.
Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.