Practice Management

Refreshing The Art Prospecting

A fundamental approach to mastering the client appointment process

by Joe Ross

Mr. Ross is VP of Sales Productivity and Business Development, Life Insurance and A&H, AIG Life & Retirement. Visit

During the past two years, we have all experienced how the pandemic has changed the face of the customer experience. Protecting health and well-being remained the number one priority and companies had to be increasingly innovative in order to remain connected to their customer base.

As the use of technology continues to accelerate, there will likely be further evolution on the horizon for the insurance industry. Despite these transformations we’ve seen these past few years, I’ve found that the fundamental building blocks to master the client appointment process remain the same (if anything, they’ve been reinforced!)

Make Proper Time For Background And Discovery

Having a comprehensive understanding of your potential client is key and making time for proper discovery is very important. Do your due diligence and get familiar with their background so you can best understand their situation.

Luckily, social media has made it quite easy for us to learn about a person prior to starting a conversation. For example, a simple visit to a person’s profile page on LinkedIn can tell you plenty about them. You can see the person’s accomplishments, where they went to school, and establish any common ground through mutual connections. Information you gather beforehand could be a gateway to conversation and building a closer relationship.

Practice The Conversation By Developing Your Elevator Pitch

Having a conversation about life insurance can be unsettling or feel morbid to clients. But it does not need to be.

Coaching and role‐playing prior to the client appointment can improve your chances of success. Develop an elevator pitch framework that gives you a guide to lean on during the conversation and work to refine it. Be sure to plan for potential responses and questions your clients may have.

Approach the conversation more holistically. Rather than focusing on mortality, frame the conversation around protecting the family financially if one of their paychecks was to suddenly stop. Share real-life examples of when and how someone you know benefited from planning ahead. Also, consider a story where failing to plan caused problems. To establish an authentic emotional connection, talk about protecting loved ones or taking care of those who matter most to your clients.

Vitally, you should always approach these conversations from a place of honesty and empathy.

Qualify Your Prospects With Profile Considerations

As you are having the conversation, make sure you establish the following:

  • How is their health? Do they have any medical conditions that may preclude them from certain types of life insurance?
  • Are they passionate about leaving a legacy? If so, to whom? Children? Grandchildren? A favorite charity?

Then make sure they understand some fundamental ways life insurance can help them maintain financial wellness. For example:

  • Helping to cover everyday expenses like a mortgage, childcare, utilities and even grocery bills in the event that you lose a partner. These expenses can become overwhelming in a single-income household, and life insurance can help to ease some of the financial stress.
  • Helping with the cost of medical and funeral bills if there is a death in the family. Having a life insurance policy to help cover such costs, allows a family to focus on processing their grief during a challenging time.
  • Helping to maintain the financial status that they are used to if a spouse passes. Without a good policy, household resources will likely be directed towards funding the bills. With the help of life insurance, you may be able to maintain the financial status that you and your spouse always had.
  • Calculate debt and evaluate how many years your client would like a policy to cover. Clients need an accurate understanding of their financial position and goals before you can determine the type and amount of life insurance that is appropriate for their needs. Help guide them to that alignment first.

The Cooperative Conclusion

Approach the conversation more holistically. Rather than focusing on mortality, frame the conversation around protecting the family financially if one of their paychecks was to suddenly stop...

The Cooperative Conclusion is a compliment or reinforcement of what you’ve heard during the conversation to show your client how important it is for them to take the next step to achieve their goals.

Once you know they are completely satisfied, you should draft a follow-up email thanking them for putting their trust in you. Also, you might consider asking whether they have family or friends who want to tackle a similar financial situation. “You know, we dealt with a serious matter, and I imagine you feel better about your future financial security as a result. If you have family or friends who you think could benefit from running through the same program that we did together, please give them my name. If we can help them achieve their goals, you’ll have done them a big favor.”

Don’t forget them! Make sure to check in periodically to see if their needs have changed with any events in their life. Remember, they trusted you to guide them in the right direction to have them and their family properly protected. Make sure you do the right thing to maintain that trust.

The skills acquired by agents and brokers over the past two years will continue to shape our conversations post pandemic– regardless of whether they happen face-to-face, over the phone, or through a computer screen. The fundamental building blocks to master the client appointment process remain paramount in establishing trusting relationships.




This material is general in nature, was developed for educational use only, and is not intended to provide financial, legal, fiduciary, accounting or tax advice, nor is it intended to make any recommendations. Applicable laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Please consult with your financial professional regarding your situation. For legal, accounting or tax advice consult the appropriate professional.
AIG Financial Distributors is the sales and distribution arm for AIG Life and Retirement businesses.
About AIG Life & Retirement
AIG Life & Retirement consists of four operating segments: Individual Retirement, AIG Retirement Services, Life Insurance and Institutional Markets.
“AIG Life” and “AIG Annuities” are marketing names used to represent life insurance policies and annuity contracts (respectively) issued by American General Life Insurance Company (AGL), Houston, TX except in New York, where issued by The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York (US Life). Certain annuities are issued by The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company (VALIC), Houston, TX. Issuing companies AGL, US Life and VALIC are responsible for financial obligations of insurance products. AGL does not solicit, issue or deliver policies or contracts in the state of New York. Products may not be available in all states and product features may vary by state. Please refer to your policy.
Securities products are distributed by AIG Capital Services, Inc. Member FINRA, 21650 Oxnard Street, Suite 750, Woodland Hills, CA 91367-4997.
AIG Retirement Services represents The Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, Houston, TX and its subsidiaries, VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. and VALIC Retirement Services Company. Securities and investment advisory services offered through VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc., member FINRA, SIPC and an SEC-registered investment adviser, 2919 Allen Pkwy, L03-20, Houston, TX 77019-2158.
All companies are members of American International Group, Inc. (AIG).