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The Surprising Truth about the Power of Prior Experience in the Sale of Long-Term Care Insurance

Greater awareness of LTC consequences, not risk, is the result

When a male prospect has had a prior experience with extended care, you’ve probably found he’s far more likely to buy long-term care insurance (LTCI). And you may have believed the sale stems from an increased awareness of the risk he faces. This explanation is consistent with what every producer is taught: sell LTC insurance as a risk proposition supported by endless statistics.

But as you’ve no doubt discovered, focusing on risk is not useful when prospects have no prior experience. This is especially true when it comes to your largest demographic -- healthy men with families. Even sharing your personal story about extended care doesn’t lead these men to acknowledge their risk and take action. Instead of listening, they’re wondering what your tale has to do with them.

So what is it about a prior experience that changes a healthy man’s predilection to buy LTCi? Does it really provide him with a greater appreciation of the risk he faces? The short answer is no, not at all. What the experience does is make him more aware of the consequences a long-term care event will have on the family members he is committed to protect. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, men differentiate risk from consequences and are motivated only by the latter.

Generally speaking, men are predisposed to hunt and protect those for whom they hunt. As such, they tend to be aggressive, possess a short-term focus and disregard risk. It’s this third characteristic that explains why men find it so difficult to buy insurance. After all, hunting and protecting others carry inherent risks, and men wouldn’t do either if they ruminated or wrung their hands about their chances of dying or becoming seriously disabled. Men generally have the ability to separate the risk of death, disability, or in this case, needing care, from the consequences of these events. If there is no risk, then there are no consequences to their families.

Ask a man if he believes he will ever need care over an extended period of years and his answer will be simply, no. In his mind, if there is no risk of the event happening, there are no consequences; therefore, why buy a product to cover them?

What a prior experience does is heighten a man’s awareness of how a long-term care event turns the lives of loved ones upside down. His personal risk remains 0%, but he foresees a set of consequences that have a 100% chance of impacting his family.

The take away

When addressing men (and to a degree women who are the breadwinners in their family), don’t focus on risk and statistics with the goal of selling LTCi to solve the problem. Instead, concentrate on the serious emotional, physical and financial consequences providing care has on the prospect’s family. By doing so, you are connecting with his deep-seated desire to protect those he loves. Any event that threatens his family is one that will likely motivate him to take action and result in a sale.

In an upcoming blog, I’ll explore differences in the evolutionary psychology of men and women and their implications for sales conversations.

Understand your potential clients. Overcome Objections. Create referrals from centers of influence.

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