Two Approaches to Life Insurance Sales During a Pandemic

For nearly a year, most adults around the world have had one thing in common: we’ve been thinking about death. 

It’s not a topic that any of us would choose to bond over, but there it is—death, in the corner of our minds occupying space that would normally be filled by brunch plans with friends or family vacations or ball games with buddies.

What’s our risk of death while COVID-19 rages? Will someone we love die? Will we die? How will we cope if someone we love dies? What will happen to the people we leave behind if we die?

This worry about mortality presents an obvious opportunity for insurance agents who sell life insurance. But it also presents an interesting challenge—how do you sell life insurance in a way that is sensitive and respectful when death is all around? One way to focus your initial sales pitch is to determine whether you should tap into hope or fear.

Tapping into Hope

The first thing to recognize is that some people aren’t afraid of death. Whether it’s a strong belief in a heavenly afterlife, because they’ve already lived a long and happy life or a matter-of-fact understanding of human frailty, the idea of dying isn’t a worry for some people.

Others may have a fear of death but prefer not to ruminate on it. They’d rather concentrate on what they can control or maintain an optimistic expectation for their future. They don’t want to spend their time fretting about the unknown. 

For clients who fall into any of these camps, focusing on the positives of life insurance may get you farther than doom-and-glooming it. Talk about how life insurance can take care of and benefit their loved ones. Run the numbers to show them how a small increase in a monthly payment today could make a big difference for their family tomorrow. Paint a future where the surviving spouse can live in a mortgage-free home and the kids have enough funds available to go to their dream college. 

In short, if they are a person who lives in hope, tap into that.

Tapping into Fear

Not everyone is wired to be a Pollyanna. Or their life experiences may have taught them that life is hard, and sometimes bad things happen. For clients like this, taking a more realistic tack and addressing their fears can be a better way to relate.

This doesn’t mean manipulating someone who is afraid. It means being respectful of their outlook and experiences, being sure not to minimize valid concerns or gloss over difficult realities. 

For this type of client, you’ll want to adopt a less rosy tone and use different language. Instead of “It’ll be wonderful for your spouse to have no mortgage…,” you might go with, “Your spouse is going to need time to grieve and help your children through the grieving process, too. So making sure the mortgage is paid off could be really important…”

Show them how you can design a life insurance policy that will address at least some of their fears. You won’t be able to solve someone’s generalized existential dread, but you can help allay specific worries by finding out what they are.

Determining whether to focus a life insurance pitch on hope or fear can only happen if you begin your conversation with sensitivity. This is especially important when so many of us have known someone who has died from COVID-19. Asking an open-ended question like this at the start may help fill in some of the blanks: “Please tell me what prompted you to shop for life insurance now.” If you listen to both what is said and how they say it, you should be on your way to figuring out the best approach to making this particular sale.

Hometown Quotes is pleased to provide insurance agencies with high-quality leads filtered by policy type, geographic location and more. Call us at 800.820.8921 to find out how we can help you achieve your sales goals.


Brendan Sera-Shriar

Brendan Sera-Shriar is the CMO for Hometown Quotes and a Staff Writer for Hometown University.

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