Golden Eggs & Growing Your LTCI Business

As brokers and agents, we should realize that “prolific geese” (referral sources) are everywhere. Rather than constantly trying to lay golden egg after golden egg with each long term care (LTC) insurance sale we complete, we should be locating those fertile geese and using them to help grow our businesses.

Successful relationship building with financial advisors, attorneys, accountants and bankers can generate an ongoing stream of LTC insurance prospects and sales and provide us with our own personal golden egg producers. There are a variety of effective ways to work with these centers of influence that will be beneficial to the center of influence, to the client(s), and to you.

Let’s examine three distinct relationships, with a financial planner, a CPA and an attorney, and the different techniques used to initiate and cultivate these successful endeavors.

Foster Relationships with Centers of Influence
About 15 years ago, I was invited to speak at an estate planning council meeting. Having already specialized in LTC insurance for about seven years, I was labeled an expert in the field. One attendee—let’s call him Sam—a fee-only financial planner, introduced himself after the program and indicated he wanted to talk further about personal as well as client situations. After several meetings it was clear that Sam truly believed in the value of LTC insurance as part of sound financial planning.

After careful study of products and options, I was able to have an influential financial planner become a client. Once Sam and his wife had LTC insurance, he had an even more comprehensive appreciation and understanding of the product and served as a vocal and enthusiastic advocate. As a member of various organizations, Sam introduced me to a number of his associates with whom I was able to establish relationships. In addition, I was invited to speak at a client appreciation day which Sam arranged and that resulted in a number of sales to his client attendees.

Over the years, I have constantly kept in touch with Sam through letters, faxes, emails and Constant Contact messages—on a regular, but not annoying, basis. These communications have focused on changes, trends, new laws, etc., relating to LTC insurance. Additionally, I take him to lunch about twice a year to see how I might best help him help his clients.

At one of these lunch meetings, I suggested the importance of insurance policy review, not just LTC insurance, but life insurance and disability coverage as well. After further discussion, Sam decided that this was an important adjunct he wanted to include for all of his clients in order to fully and adequately protect the assets he was working hard to grow.

We developed a letter to send to each client (on a gradual basis), explaining the importance of insurance review and identifying myself and the partners in my firm as those with whom he was working to accomplish this important part of their financial planning process. Sam or his assistant followed up with phone calls to set appointments for his clients. This relationship is an ongoing success and we are now a regular part of Sam’s team.

Certainly, this is a somewhat ideal and unique situation that emerged only after a 15-plus year relationship. However, there are basic elements and strategies that we can learn from this relationship and adapt to many situations:

• Securing opportunities to speak at estate planning council meetings.

• Selling the center of influence and making him your client.

• Being introduced to a center’s colleagues.

• Arranging to speak at client appreciation meetings.

• Communicating constantly, in a variety of meaningful ways.

• Using eyeball-to-eyeball lunches, coffees, etc., to follow up and/or introduce new concepts.

• Offering to provide free insurance reviews.

• Encouraging the use of a letter of introduction to a center’s clients.

• Following up a letter with a personal phone call, preferably from the center, to arrange a meeting.

Take Advantage of Business Networking Events
As a member of three different chambers of commerce and a variety of other networking groups  I am constantly connecting with a multitude of people. Frequent business card exchanges, speed networking events, luncheons, breakfasts, dinners, expos, etc., all provide a wide range of opportunities to meet new people and come away with a huge array of business cards.

There are always a few valuable prospects and potential centers of influence with whom I follow up immediately. They receive either an email, phone call or personalized greeting card within the next week to arrange a time to meet and talk further.

You never know who you are going to meet or how much impact that potential new relationship will have. For example, about two years ago I went to a very poorly attended, snowy networking breakfast. Nevertheless, I met a CPA/CFP, Nathan, who has since become an integral part of my business and a valuable source for LTC insurance prospects. Nathan is a partner in a firm that takes a holistic approach to its clients. They are interested in asset protection, including LTC insurance.

A follow-up meeting over coffee resulted in my offering to provide Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit (for which you can be approved through a state’s Board of Accountancy) to the accountants in Nathan’s firm. He was delighted we could provide this service “in house.” At the CPE program, I was able to do a short “commercial” about my firm and what it could provide, emphasizing policy review. I also quietly “sold myself” as an expert, particularly focusing on the topics of partnership programs and the CLASS Act. Within two weeks of the presentation, I received requests for additional information, policy review and quotes from three of the partners from Nathan’s firm.

Whether it is the chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, LeTip, Kiwanis, etc., there will always be something special and valuable about meeting and networking with people face to face. When attending networking events, consider these key strategies in developing relationships with centers of influence or prospects:

• Following up events with prompt communication to prospects and centers of influence.

• Arranging for additional “getting to know you better” meetings with prospects.

• Offering CPE credit for accountants, lawyers and financial planners.

• Providing expert advice on partnership programs and the CLASS Act (or bringing in an expert to do this for you).

Successful Business-Building Strategies

• Attending educational programs and business networking events
• Becoming known as an expert
• Offering to co-host a radio show
• Using social media as a networking and research tool, and asking centers of influence to introduce you to key people
• Working with bankers and trust departments
• Hosting or co-hosting a public or professional program on LTC issues

Use Social Media for Successful Networking
Additionally, there is also value in using social media to enhance business and networking possibilities. An elder law attorney with whom I work is an example of achieving success by utilizing social media as a networking tool. I have known Mary for years and we keep connected through educational programs we both attend, via phone calls, emails and my service periodically as her LTC insurance expert on a weekly show she hosts on a local radio station.

Mary, like many successful attorneys, seems to know everyone in the community in which she lives and works. I wanted to meet some of these people, so I set an appointment to meet with Mary. My strategy was to ask if I could “pick her brain” to see with whom she could connect me, rather than simply asking her, “Who can you introduce me to?” I did a careful study of her LinkedIn connections prior to our meeting, selecting five centers of influence I wanted to meet. I asked Mary if she would either give them a call to “sing my praises” (my preference), or if I could call them using her name. The latter is the route she preferred and I emailed and then phoned two estate planning attorneys, one elder law attorney and two trust officers at local banks with Mary’s blessing. As a result, I was able to make appointments with all of them and continue to work to develop these relationships.

Local banks can be an excellent source of business. One trust officer I met with was extremely receptive to LTC insurance since many of his customers are seniors. This trust officer told me that the bank had 10 customers receiving LTC and was writing checks of about $10,000 per month for each client to either LTC facilities or home health care providers—$100,000 a month was sailing out of the bank. If these customers had LTC insurance, the bankers and the families would have maintained their money. In addition, banks are often receptive to public and professional seminars on LTC insurance related topics.

A successful LTC insurance agent should continuously be prospecting for golden eggs, and there are numerous geese out there who can do a great deal of this work for us.

Author’s Bio
Carol Einhorn
is a long term care specialist with the Arbor Group, an insurance, employee benefit and estate planning firm in Langhorne, PA.

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