Agents all over the country are living off of commission sales. If you can’t make the sale because you don’t know how to combat – or avoid – some of the most common objections, that can be bad news for your bottom line.
It turns out that some of the most common objections are easily remedied, so we’ve put together a quick guide for you. Even when you feel like the sale is dead, you’d be surprised at how the right response can turn a rainy day into one full of sunshine.
So, here’s what we’re going to cover:
- How to avoid objections to begin with
- 5 general objections you’ll face when selling any type of insurance
- 5 objections specific to annuity sales
- 2 objections specific to long-term care sales
- What to do when you the client truly says “no”
By the time we’re done, you should be prepped and primed to handle any objection that comes your way.
Avoiding Objections Altogether
When you walk the client through your entire presentation, you are naturally going to wow them with the information that you know. You clearly know what you’re talking about, and the client realizes that you’re an expert.
So in order to avoid any objections, take the lead role and explain every part of the process. If you’re presenting an annuity, explain the details of the transfer process, how the RMD works, and all of that good stuff. If you’re presenting a Life Insurance policy with an LTC rider, explain how long the application process takes and all of the other nitty-gritty details.
So, here’s an example.
Michael Sams recently did an article explaining how he presented a FIA to a client. He explains:
I had already chosen a specific FIA, so I was able to give a few product highlights right off the bat. The annuity I chose was the Athene Performance Elite 7-year.
The highlights I mentioned included:
- No fees – most FIAs have fees, but this one does not
- After 30 days, there’s a 10% free withdrawal – most don’t have that until after the first year
For most clients, fees and access to money are pretty important, so by laying down these “ground rules,” I’ve already addressed two potential objections – and that’s before I’ve really gotten into the full presentation.
By picking out what clients are going be to the most concerned about and addressing it, you’re saving yourself from having to actually deal with objections.
Introduce the Objection Yourself
You heard that right – if you introduce common objections before your client can, it can be the most powerful part of your entire presentation.
You’re reading their mind and are providing answers before they can even ask the question!
So, you might say something like, “Now, if I were you, I’d probably be concerned about rate increases. But what you need to know is that…”
And another example: “The most common question I get asked is what would happen to your policy if the company went under. You can rest assured that…”
By bringing up the objection, being open about it, and providing a solid rebuttal, you’re showing the client that you understand why they’d be skeptical, and you’re overcoming that fear.
But you can’t avoid objections every time! Let’s get into some common objections you might face no matter how proactive you are.
5 General Objections
These 5 objections are extremely common, and they’re easily rebutted. One thing I want to point out here is that we’re not trying to “trick” clients into buying from you. We’re not playing mind games with them, and we’re not being scummy salesmen.
We simply have a passion for the insurance we sell, because we know how important and beneficial it is for our clients. These rebuttals are meant to help you expose your passion and the need for the product, but if your client is just using these objections as an excuse, and they really aren’t interested, you do need to respect their decision.
We’ll get into how to handle a flat out “no” at the end of this article, but for now, we’re assuming that these objections are real, honest concerns that the client has.
General Objection #1: “I need to think about it.”
This one can feel impossible to overcome, but all is not lost – yet.
If they really are interested but just aren’t sure about it yet, it’s because you haven’t given them enough information to feel confident. To remedy this, you need to find out why they aren’t sold before you end the conversation.
So, follow up with this question: “Is it because you don't think you need it, you don't like the product, or because you feel you can't afford it?"
It’s very simple – in order to buy something, we all have to feel that we need it, we like it, and that we can afford it. If one of those boxes goes unchecked, we likely won’t buy it.
By your pressing for a more specific answer, you’re opening the conversation and are giving yourself the ammo you need to instill that missing confidence in the client.
General Objection #2: “I don’t think I need that product.”
A client might flat-out tell you they don’t think they need whatever you’re selling, or this might come up when you ask that follow-up question we just mentioned: “Is it because you don't think you need it, you don't like the product, or because you feel you can't afford it?"
In either case, if they don’t think they need it, it’s because you haven’t built the need well in your presentation.
Here’s some advice from Michael Sams about how to build and establish the need for life insurance in particular:
The best way to build the need is to tell stories, cite statistics, and get your client to talk! Jeff Sams explains: “For example, if you’re pitching cancer insurance, ask the client if they have any friends or family members who have had cancer. Then let them tell the story. I think that’s a big key in sales – don’t do all the talking. An inexperienced salesperson talks too much, and the experienced salesman gets their client to talk.”
You’re obviously selling that product for a reason, so you need to be sure your client understands why it’s so important.
General Objection #3: “I don’t care for that product.”
If they don’t like the product, find out why so that you can either overcome their hesitation or come up with some alternatives.
Some common objections that can come up here are:
- Perhaps they’ve never heard of the company you’re recommending
- There’s a product feature they want, but that isn’t a part of the product you’re offering
- The company isn’t A-rated
In all of these scenarios, you can work to overcome the issue. If they’ve never heard of the company, and you’re selling a Medicare Supplement, you get to explain that all plans are standardized by law.
If there’s a product feature they want, but it’s not a part of the product you’re offering, you get to use our staff as a resource. We can work with you to see if there’s a better alternative that offers the feature the client wants.
If they’re concerned about the company’s rating, you can either offer an alternative, or you can explain that they’re reinsured.
There are so many fantastic products that we represent here at New Horizons, so if there’s ever any qualms about what you’re pitching, just circle back to our team. We will help you place the case with the product that best fits your client’s needs.
General Objection #4: “I can’t afford that.”
If the price is the issue, it can usually be easily rebutted (or avoided altogether).
We always recommend giving 3 options when you’re presenting a product. Give a good, better, and best product quote so that your client has a choice. That way, they can choose the one that best fits their budget.
So, if you’re presenting a cancer plan, for example, you can provide 3 options just like this:
Some agents find it easier to round up and present the monthly premium as $30, $60, and $90 per month for each option. That can simplify the presentation a bit.
As you can see, if you had just presented the $90 option, the client might be thinking, “Well, that’s almost $100 extra per month… I’m not sure I’m willing to spend that much on cancer insurance.” But by presenting 3 solid options, they’re able to see that having cancer insurance can be extremely affordable, and like all insurances, something is definitely better than nothing.
If they are on a fixed income and truly can’t afford it, then that’s another scenario. But a lot of the time, the price might be an issue because you just haven’t given them options.
Additionally, a client might not feel they can afford it because they simply don’t feel like the product is worth the price. In that case, you need to build the value! This is much easier to do when you start by building the value and save the quotes for the end of your presentation.
Never begin your presentation with the price.
If you start with pricing, your client will immediately make up their mind and won’t listen very well to your attempts at building the need.
In this short video from the 2017 Short-Term Care Conference, Debie Knowles illustrates why you shouldn't sell insurance based on price. If you build the value first, then the price isn't as important.
General Objection #5: “Now’s not really a good time.”
Whether you’re door knocking, cold calling, or something else, you’re bound to hear this objection: “Now’s not really a good time.”
The problem is that when this happens, you might be losing your only chance at presenting your product, and your client might be blowing their chance at getting coverage, especially if underwriting is involved.
So, to combat this objection, you’re going to give them two options for rescheduling.
For example, if you’re going door-to-door, you might say, “No problem. I’ll be back in the area on Wednesday at noon and Friday at 3pm. Which day works better for you?”
If you’re cold calling, you might say something like, “I understand. I can call you back this afternoon at 4pm or tomorrow at 9am. Which time would you prefer?”
You’re not asking them if they’d like to reschedule – you’re not even giving them an option to refuse.
Michael Sams jokes that his daughter has this one figured out. She’ll often ask him, “Dad, are we going to Dairy Queen or Culver’s?” She’s not asking if they can go get ice cream – she’s asking which restaurant they’ll be going to.
You’re much more likely to get in front of that client again when you do this versus giving them an easy out.
5 Annuity Objections
Annuities can be tricky to present because a lot of individuals have a negative association with them. This is due to variable annuities, which oftentimes have fees involved that can be higher than the actual interest earned, thus causing people to lose money.
Even so, it’s entirely possible to turn things around by being both proactive in your presentation and by overcoming objections with ease.
Annuity Objection #1: “Annuities are too complicated.”
Anything can be simple or complicated, but when it comes down to it, the kind of annuities we offer the most – MYGAs – are very simple.
When you bring in all the different flavors of annuities, the conversation can get complex. But individuals nearing retirement are looking for safety, a guarantee on return, and access to that money. No surprises.
Multi-Year Guaranteed (MYGA) annuities are easy to understand, and they account for about 95% of the annuities we do for seniors. FIAs can get a little bit more complicated, but if you pick and choose what to explain, you’ll find that you can make it easy for your client to understand.
If a senior doesn’t understand something when it comes to their money, they aren’t going to do it. And that’s why we do so much annuity business — everyone can walk away with confidence in it.
Annuity Objection #2: “I don’t want to be stuck in a contract.”
Usually, clients get scared at the term “annuity,” but some can get weary of the word “contract” as well – especially when they don’t understand that they will have access to some of their money during that contract period.
One way to combat this is to start off your presentation by calling it a “program.” For example, “We have this wonderful 5-year program that offers 4.0% interest on your money.”
Another way to handle this is to explain that there are different lengths, so you can even go as short as 1 year to get a feel for the product before choosing a 3, 5, 7, or 10-year contract.
Annuity Objection #3: “There are too many hidden fees.”
The kind of annuities that we write have no hidden fees. In other words, if you’re going to buy a 5-year annuity, and you start it off with $100,000, that entire chunk of money will start earning money tomorrow.
You can explain that your commission is not taken out of their principal. All of their deposit will start earning interest the next day.
There are, however, surrender charges.
If it’s a 5-year contract, and you decide you want all your money back before that 5 years is up, you’ll have to pay a penalty. That’s just the nature of a contract.
The amount depends on the carrier and the time you want to pull everything out, but you can research that beforehand and go over it with your client before they sign on the dotted line.
As you can see, this objection is usually easily avoided as long as you thoroughly explain the product during your presentation.
Annuity Objection #4: “I make more in the stock market.”
That can definitely be true. But the flip side of that is that there’s risk involved. That’s the trade. There is no risk with MYGAs. It’s always going to be worth a little more than what it was the day before.
Every time you go to bed, you’re going to make a little bit of money. You’re never going to go the other way.
That’s why most seniors aren’t as concerned about making more money as they are about preserving what they’ve made.
Annuity Objection #5: “My money’s in a CD and I’ll be penalized if I withdraw it.”
Definitely address the issue, but put it into perspective.
The penalty might be the last 6 months worth of interest, but you’re only being paid something like 0.5%. That penalty won’t be that much. You’re much better off taking the penalty to start earning 4% interest now.
[RELATED: Current Annuity Rates]
If the client isn’t convinced, go ahead and do the math on a piece of paper for them.
When a client sees that they’re going be penalized $20 in order to earn $2,000, the objection is easily rebutted.
2 Long-Term Care Objections
Long-term care can be a tough sale sometimes – there’s no doubt about that. But there are 2 common objections we come across quite often, and we do have some suggestions for overcoming them.
LTC Objection #1: “I’ll never end up in the nursing home.”
A lot of people operate under the assumption that “this will never happen to me.”
One statistic in particular has always jumped out at us — 1 in 2 people past the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime. In fact, recent data has actually surpassed that, with the new stat being that about 70% of people past the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime.
Presenting that fact alone should be enough to help you get over that hump, but you can also relate LTCi to homeowner’s insurance. There will be more homes lost to long-term care costs than any fires.
No one thinks about protecting their home from long-term care expenses, but you wouldn’t go a day without homeowner’s coverage.
LTC Objection #2: “I need to talk to my spouse about this.”
While this is an objection you might get across the board, it’s more likely to come up with LTC since the premiums are higher and more volatile.
One of our favorite sales strategies to use when this objection comes up is what we call “Take It Away.” In sales, this is one of the most powerful things that you have. Don’t keep trying to push it on them; take it away from them.
Make it clear that they do have to qualify for the product.
For example, “Right now your health is good, and right now you can get it. But we don’t have a guarantee that in 6 months that’ll still be the case.”
Build the need and suggest that they at least put in an application, but make it clear that there is a chance they may not be accepted. This will put your clients in a completely different mindset — they’ll be thinking, “Well, of course I’ll be accepted… I’m perfectly healthy!”
And that’s exactly where you want them; you want them to apply to prove you wrong, and you want that application in to get the ball rolling.
No Isn’t Always the Final Answer!
Sometimes, no is only a temporary objection. Here is a short video from John Hockaday and Jeff Sams on how to combat a “no” when specifically selling short-term care, but this advice can apply to all types of insurance sales.
If you’re asking the same thing over and over again, it’s because you believe your customers need it.
Maybe something has changed since you last presented the product and got rejected. Maybe one of their buddies just got cancer or went into a nursing home. Maybe they have $103,000 in their checking account, they just wrote a check for their real estate taxes, and their account dipped below $100,000. They may decide to not write a check until it bounces back up.
No doesn’t mean forever at all.
So don’t stop asking.
Let us know in the comments: what objections do you face most often, and how do you handle them?