When you're trying to sell life insurance to clients, you might have a standard approach:
- Introduce the idea: "Have you ever considered purchasing life insurance? It's part of my 10-step plan for making sure you're set up financially for life."
- Give clients a quote: "It costs $X for the next 20 years."
- Client says "yea" or "nay": "Excellent! I'll get you the paperwork." Or, "We'll revisit this in another six months."
Whatever your approach, you may want to consider tweaking it slightly for your female clients. Put 99% of the conversation on relationships and providing for family — not product details or cost.
Hooked? Good. Here's why it'll get you results.
Women Make Financial Decisions Differently than Men
Studies have also found that women make financial decisions in different ways compared to men. Here are a few facts:
- A seven-year study found single female investors outperformed single men by 2.3%, female investment groups outperform male counterparts by 4.6% and women overall outperformed by 1.4%. Why? The short answer is overconfidence. Men trade more, and the more you trade, typically the more you lose — not to mention running up transaction costs. (It's called behavioral economics.)
- Women are long-term planners, which means they focus on growth goals rather than risk which may not pan out as a return.
- Women are more likely to ask for help. Women are more willing to seek out trusted financial advice from experts in the industry to get opportunities to grow their wealth.
- More women (75%) than men (68%) prefer to get professional advice to develop their financial plan. Take investing advice statistics: Women also want personalized investment advice for their 401(k) plans, (72% compared to 64% of men). This is great news for you — if you approach the conversation the right way.
How to Sell Life Insurance to Women
Cardinal rule of sales: Always make it about your buyer. Any sales expert can tell you that. Always ask yourself, "What's the relevance to this particular client?" and customize each interaction, whenever you have a client in your office.
Also, don't forget to make it about that particular woman! Here's how to do it.
Step 1: Switch to a relational approach.
Rather than focusing on processes and results, women prefer to invest when they can develop a relationship — or if they're investing in a cause that involves a relational approach with their money.
Your approach must focus on relationships or using money to benefit your client's relationships in the future.
Step 2: Encourage women clients to see the big picture.
Truthfully, women prefer to look at a longer view as it is. But nudge them a little more to encourage them to not necessarily look at just how life insurance can benefit them in the short term. They want to know what the long view looks like in most cases. It's essential to build an investment strategy — and it's part of women's natural approach to investing.
Step 3: Envelop them in a conversation.
You may get lucky with:
Woman client: "How much does life insurance cost?"
Advisor: "$XX per month."
Woman client: "That's too much. Can you lower it?"
Advisor: "I can go to $X lower per month."
Woman client: "Where do I sign?"
Instead, be prepared to have a lengthier conversation, peppered with anecdotes, examples and stories.
Appeal to their need to relate with stories you've encountered in your own life or with past clients and how they worked to pay for their life insurance — and they're glad they did (use anonymous names, of course).
Step 3: Appeal to their desire to plan and relate directly to their families.
As we discussed, women like to avoid risk. Share with them that they can avoid risk for their family by:
- Planning for child care
- Saving for college
- Paying for a funeral
- Replacing lost wages
Throughout this process, talk to them about their families. If you know the kids' names from a previous discussion, use those notes to say, "And you've got 10 more years before your son James goes to college, correct?" or "Congratulations on the new baby! She's six months old, right?"
Step 4: Consider a woman's life stage.
It's a good idea to be sensitive to whatever life stage a woman has just encountered. She might be coming to you as a direct result of that major life change. Consider:
- Did her husband just die?
- Did she just get married?
- Is she newly divorced?
- Did she just have a baby?
- Does she have a child going off to college?
Whatever it is, don't dance around it — recognize it and be sensitive to it. It'll make a huge difference in your results with that individual.
Talk About Protecting Women Customers' Families
Women want to protect their families at all costs but sometimes need a little nudge in the right direction to understand how life insurance can do that. Here's how to start the conversation.
Conversation Starter 1: "Life insurance can help your family when their grief is fresh."
Tell your client a story. Talk about how you asked another client to write a letter to her loved ones to place in the policy. Can you imagine how a story like that would impact your client?
Obviously, you want this story to be true, but paint a picture like this, "Finding out about Violet's life insurance policy was such a relief and it helped assuage their grief. They used it to pay for funeral expenses. Violet's children used the money to attend their dream schools. Her husband, Jim, paid off the mortgage and moved to South Carolina — his dream. He talked about how grateful he was to Violet for having the foresight to buy a life insurance policy."
That has all the feels.
Conversation Starter 2: "What would Little Jessica/Your Husband Jack want?"
You know your client's husband, Jack, works long hours running his own concrete business. You know little Jessica is going to be a brilliant surgeon someday (read: many years of college!) and more.
Maybe you don't know these details about your client's family initially — but you can tease them out during your conversation. Those details personalize the life insurance decision. You can say, "I know you want to pay for Jessica's medical school, but how will she pay for it if you suddenly pass? Would you have the money if Jack had to shoulder the load without your income?"
Conversation Starter 3: "It's about the near future, too."
Baby Emmie is all gums and drooly bibs right now, but in three years, she'll be a busy toddler. What would happen with childcare for her if something happened now?
Don't forget to have a conversation with your female clients about the present as well — not just future goals.
It's Not All About Money
When you're talking to female clients, one of the best ways to ward them off is to talk about money. There are a couple of reasons, too.
Women May Not Be as Financially Secure
You know all about the persistent wage gap between men and women. The median household retirement savings for women is just $23,000 compared to $76,000 among men. Almost one-third of women say they've saved less than $10,000 for retirement — and some have saved nothing at all.
Bringing up costs is a great way to shut down the conversation. Bring it up last, or at least till after your client has the motivation to buy.
Women Have Other Priorities as Well
Up to 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males, according to Caregiver.org. The 19th Annual Retirement Survey of Workers surveyed 3,000 female workers and showed that among their obstacles to saving and investing is that women leave the workforce more often than men to act as a caregiver.
However, it adds to the responsibility load, which means that your women clients may miss out on work to become a caregiver — which leads to less money to buy life insurance.
However, you could also very carefully steer that to your advantage, however. That adds to the reasons to buy life insurance.
Start the Right Conversations to Make the Sale
For women, there are lots of reasons to say "No" — less money to go around due to lower earnings, due to caregiving responsibilities and more.
Why not develop trust and add value by spending time with women clients before you attempt to close.
Listen closely to your clients' worries even after you've received a price objection:
- "Is there anything stopping you from buying?"
- "What are you anxious about?"
- "What do you wish was different about the life insurance policy I've suggested?"
Above all else, show empathy, even with objections, so you show you truly care.
Wondering what else women want? Take the Purse Strings online workshop, where you can explore everything you need to do to earn the respect and trust of 51% of your market — women!
Enroll here and learn from adult educator, financial services consultant, professor and coach Dr. Barbara Provost, an expert on what women want from the financial industry.
Women are a powerful market influencing $22 trillion, and yet this powerful market is underserved and undervalued by financial institutions, leaving women woefully behind financially and underprepared for retirement. Purse Strings provides online financial tools and resources for women and trains and certifies financial organizations how to reach, engage and earn the female dollar.