Archives for October, 2011

Leveraging LIFE’s Resources

October 25th, 2011, Comments Off on Leveraging LIFE’s Resources.

LIFE has numerous tools you can use to educate and market your products to clients and prospects.

By Jeffrey J. Taggart, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF

The marketing materials developed by the LIFE Foundation can be a great help in our business. I myself didn’t have a full understanding, until recently, of the breadth and depth of LIFE’s marketing tools, such as the online calculators and the all the resources available for Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM). As a third-party trusted advisor, LIFE provides resources for use in educating and marketing insurance to prospects and clients, so check them out.

• Life Insurance Needs Calculator
“How much is enough?” The key question that comes up in every life insurance conversation can be answered with the Life Insurance Needs Calculator, now available as an iPhone and iPad app. Clients and prospects can calculate their life insurance needs based on two key points: How much will they need to satisfy the immediate obligations when a loved one dies, and how much future income is needed to sustain the household. It’s a user-friendly way for clients to evaluate their insurance needs and make adjustments based on the results.
• LIFE Lessons
The LIFE Lessons College Scholarship Program assists college-bound students who are impacted by the loss of a parent or guardian. Over $100,000 in scholarships is awarded to qualified entrants who provide the winning essays or video entries. The winners’ compelling stories and videos (posted on the LIFE website) provide producers with a starting point for conversations with parents about the need for adequate life insurance.

• realLIFEstories
RealLIFEstories depict accounts of people who have experienced firsthand the value of insurance. These stories showcase a variety of insurance sales scenarios: individual, group, disability, long-term care, advanced planning and business insurance. These are great to use in video or in print form to reinforce the need for insurance.

• NextGen3
An interactive educational program targeted at high school students and available to educators and parents at no cost, NextGen3 uses lessons, games and videos to educate the next generation about life, health and disability income insurance and financial-planning basics. To date, NextGen has reached more than 64,000 teachers and 26 million students.

• Small Business Planning
The small-business planning offerings discuss the insurance products available to small-business owners and the benefits they offer. These benefits range from buy-sell agreements and key-person insurance to employee benefits and executive compensation. The small-business planning materials include videos that provide additional background information.

• Multicultural Marketing
Sensitive to the cultural diversity that makes up our population, LIFE Foundation has materials and resources available in Spanish and other languages to reach multicultural target markets.

• White Papers
Keeping up with the trends and actively promoting the importance of insurance nationwide, LIFE Foundation is on the cutting edge with information that can be used as a third-party trusted advisor.

• Awareness Campaigns
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM), which is supported by LIFE Foundation’s campaign to promote the importance of life insurance. Other awareness campaigns include Insure Your Love and Protect Your Paycheck (promoting the importance of disability income insurance). These campaigns run at other times during the year.

This year, the LIAM spokesperson is Lamar Odom, a basketball player for the L.A. Lakers and reality TV star. Odom has a touching story about growing up in a single-parent home and the importance life insurance played in his life. In addition, realLIFEstories winners will be highlighted as a special section in both O and Parents magazines for September. This information, along with myriad producer resources, is available in the producer toolkit at


Jeff Taggart, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, is a third-generation agent with UNIFI and lives in Cody, Wyoming. He is a life member of MDRT and past president of NAIFA.

Using LinkedIn to Generate Referrals

October 11th, 2011, Comments Off on Using LinkedIn to Generate Referrals.

Identify prospects with this helpful social media tool.

By Bill Cates

Many advisors are using LinkedIn to identify prospects on from their clients’ profiles. Within LinkedIn, you can also see who has been looking at your profile. These may be people who are interested in your services. Have you found the right words to have a comfortable conversation with these folks without sounding sales-y? Using LinkedIn is a viable strategy, but you need to proceed with caution.

While you can surely look at your clients’ profile to determine suggested places to explore for introductions, you may need to be a little careful. Use of this strategy will depend on how long you’ve known your client and/or the nature of the relationship.

Telling new or private-natured clients that you have looked at their LinkedIn site and that you’re hoping for introductions to some of their connections could be taken as intrusive. With clients you’ve known for a long time or who really like you and are “open” personalities, it’s a more realistic strategy.

When bringing it up in your referral brainstorming conversation you might say, “George, we’re just brainstorming here. No pressure. I was curious about your LinkedIn site and noticed you were connected to some very successful business people in town. I wrote down a few names to see if you might be willing to put a good word to them for me.”

Or, y ou might say, “George, I noticed you’re a member of the Yale Alumni Association. Are you an active member? Are there a few members you think should know about the work I do?”

Using this strategy is very relationship specific. You need a pretty strong relationship to make this natural, effective and non-intrustive.

People Who Have Viewed Your Profile
I don’t see any problem in contacting someone who has viewed your profile. The key is to be soft and lead with value. Here is a possible message you might send through LinkedIn messaging. Make it fit you and your type of business, of course.

“George, I noticed that you viewed my profile yesterday and just wanted to reach out and see if I can be of any service to you. I have a free report entitled The Seven Biggest Mistakes People Make in Planning for Retirement and What to Do About Them. I’d be happy to send that to you with no obligation. Would you like the report?”

Then, about a week after you send the report, you can send this message: “Hi, George. Just following up to make sure you received the report and what you thought about it. I’d like to present myself as a possible resource for you. Would you be open to setting up a brief phone call to get the conversation started?”

If you haven’t written any kind of free report to send to prospects or current clients, see what your company or broker dealer has that you can use for now, then write your own report and get it approved for distribution. This is a very powerful tool to use in prospecting. And it’s always more effective when you are the author.

With LinkedIn, you can also join various types of groups and use compliance-approved ideas as a way to provide value to those groups.

Take the slow road and lead with value. Be a valuable resource first.


Bill Cates is president of Referral Coach International. To learn about his free newsletter, boot camps, coaching program and video-training program go to Cates can be reached at or 301-497-2200.