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Life insurance is similar to selling any other product, but it has a much greater effect on people’s lives. As a result, you need to be a lot more responsible than with selling most products. Oftentimes purchasers of policies are people with dependent children or spouses who do not work, so if they die and they are uninsured then their family suffers greatly.

So how do you sell life insurance and help improve people’s lives?

Framing: The Security Frame

Prior to the Occupy movement, the main frame in the media about why the economy was bad was that the United States is in debt. This favors wealthy groups like the Koch brothers’ Tea Party since their goal is to cut services for middle class people and shift the tax burden even further down the economic ladder. Even the Democratic President fell for this frame, and agreed to make cuts to Social Security and created a deficit panel.

The Occupy movement uses the terms “99%” and “1%” to create a dichotomy between the rich and everyone else. After the movement began, the media began covering the wealth gap, which is essentially a gap between the top 1-5% and the bottom 95-99%. Instead of saying “The economy is bad” the Occupy movement says “The rich are greedy and are taking our money and our jobs”. By getting coverage, the Occupy movement reframed the media’s narrative about economic woes from a debt crisis to a wealth gap crisis.

How does this apply to selling life insurance?

Security is one of the most basic human needs so it can be a powerful sales tool. Framing for life insurance is sold by using a security frame: You make people feel like their decision about whether to buy life insurance online is a decision about being secure. On the other hand, frames about saving money will not work with life insurance since people will be paying a monthly fee that has negative expected value; if you introduce the money saving frame to them, they will think in terms of expected value. In other words, they know that insurance companies wouldn’t make money if it were profitable for a consumer to buy insurance so they wouldn’t buy it. For statistically minded, consumers would realize that insurance is basically trading money for variance reduction.

Emotions and physical feelings

Once someone has bought into your frame, it is much easier to get them to do something. The security frame is good for causing people to make emotion-based decisions. Therefore, your sales pitch should involve emotions and physical feelings that people associate with security, like comfort, warmth, and contentedness.