Sean Blackshear is married and has four kids. He works in real estate and has been a life insurance agent for two years, after a 14-year-long career in banking. The career change was a pretty seamless transition for him, and it all happened by chance. His father was very ill, and Blackshear started having those uncomfortable conversations about life insurance.
“I saw people start Gofundme accounts because they had no life insurance,” he remembers. “That made me look into life insurance products and I realized that they are not that expensive. Why don’t more people have it?”
With the philosophy that it’s a necessity, not a luxury, Blackshear sells both life insurance and annuities. First Family Life Allegiance is his independent agency, where he works with different carriers to find the right fit for his clients in several states. He doesn’t travel to meet new prospects, however. He buys live-transfer calls from SmartFinancial.
“I’ve been buying leads for the past two years,” Blackshear says. “With SmartFinancial’s help, I’ve been extremely successful, especially lately.”
He explains that in life insurance there are three ways to make a sale: through a referral, from outbound calls or through live transfers. He prefers live transfers over the more affordable outbound leads.
“If I put down $250, I get four or five calls and I close two or three of them,” he explains. “That’s a really strong return on investment, so I usually put down anywhere between $250 to $500 a week, and I’m making anywhere between $3,000 to $6,000. For the month of November, I made $3,000 from leads because I bought fewer leads. In October, I made $15,000 because I bought more calls.”
Blackshear doesn’t deny that there are certain hurdles in selling life insurance. “Most people think it’s a luxury. The second hurdle is they think they have time. Time works against you with life insurance because the price keeps increasing. The older you get a policy with a savings component pays less. And the third hurdle is that they get to the age they think they need it, usually in their 50s 60s, but find that it’s expensive.”
All agents have an approach to figuring out which product fits. Blackshear focuses on educating the customer to increase his chances of selling a better product.
“I like to deep dive and figure out what the client is really looking for,” Blackshear explains. “A lot of times people buy term life insurance because they don’t know about their other options. Giving information is very important. A lot of my clients have children, so we sell Individual Universal Life, which grows over time. When my son turned three, I bought him a policy. At age 66 he’ll get 20K a year.”
More than anything, Blackshear attributes his success to the fact that he actually cares about people and their families. It also helps that he’s knowledgeable about the products.
“I try to hear what my clients need, even if they don’t say it. I help them get to the goals they want for their loved ones,” he says.
5 Golden Tips from Sean Blackshear
1. You can’t treat leads willy nilly, which is what I used to do. I’d take the calls just about anywhere. When you do that, you have to stop if you’re in the middle of something else and you sound rushed. I analyzed my calls and heard that. Now I sit at my desk for the hours I designate to calls.
2. Get licensed in as many states as you can so the incoming calls don’t stop. The more territory you cover the better.
3. You need a good script. Most agents are talkers but you have to be very deliberate over the phone. What will you say when the phone rings? How will you connect yourself to SmartFinancial so they don’t think they just wasted their time. They just want a quote but you’ve got to do some work and more questions to ask. Build rapport using a script and by figuring out what they need to close a sale.
4. Ask your questions in a conversational manner. For example, instead of “who do you want for a beneficiary,” ask “who do you want the check sent to after you pass?”
5. Role play to get practice because how you start the call matters. Make sure what you say comes off as genuine so practice with a trusted friend or spouse. I still practice and change up my script to keep it fresh.