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Selling insurance across cultures

Antoinette Tuscano

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Ideas to sell insurance across cultures and to communicate its importance to all clients.

By Bryce Sanders

Cultural diversity is a major component of life in big cities. There are a few helpful things to be aware of, however, if you have the opportunity to do business with people from a culture different from yours:

Core values. To an outsider, people from other cultures may seem different. Language, clothing or hairstyles might be different. Look past apparent differences on the surface. Everyone wants to give the next generation the opportunity for a better life. Parents will sacrifice for their children. Education is considered a universal path for advancement. They want the best for their family. Many cultures have a tradition of caring for their elders. Meanwhile, the elders don’t want to be a financial burden to their children. These issues can be addressed through insurance.

Be respectful. Anyone who chooses to work with you is giving you the opportunity to develop a long-term relationship with referral potential.

Your culture isn’t better than theirs. While it’s easy to be critical of another’s background, choose respect instead. Many people honor a rich heritage and traditions. Enjoy learning more about it.

Cultural inclusion. One of the most logical ways to establish a presence within a culture is to add qualified people to your staff who speak the language and share the same roots.

Death can be a touchy subject. When talking about life insurance, death often comes up in the conversation. Some cultures, however, consider it unlucky to talk about death. It implies they might be next. Learn the cultural norms and the acceptable expressions.

Referrals. Family is important in all cultures; yet in some, the importance is amplified. If you do a good job for a client, they could be a key person for referrals, especially with their families. Be alert to developing this opportunity.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. Contact him at

Language to help identify yourself as an expert

By Travis D. Manning, CFP, CLU

We have a lot of peoplewho work at the local steel mill, and I’ll tell them, “Look, I know what you do for a living. I know that you work with steel or you’re in quality control, and your job is to do this, this and this. Do I know how to do that job? No. Do I care that I don’t know how to do that job? No. That’s not what I do. What I do is this. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed not knowing what I do, because that’s not your job. That’s not what you’re paid to do. You’re coming for my experience. And if I need to know something about steel making, then I would come to you. I would ask you about it.” And that really kind of breaks the ice for people, the expectations of “OK, if I have a question, ask it. Any question is fine.”

Travis Manning is an 11-year MDRT member from Caledonia, Ontario, Canada. Contact him at

How communicating the miracle of insurance led to my early success

By Yuta Tamai

One of the reasons I joined the financial services profession about three years ago when I was 27 was because I wanted people to understand the miracle of life insurance. I saw what life insurance could do for families when I was in college and my uncle died of heart disease. His life insurance provided much-needed financial assistance to his mother.

On the first day in the office after I finished training, my manager asked me what my premium goal was for the first month. I told him with pride, “The amount of premium will be determined by the level of needs and affordability of my clients. I want to use the number of people I will meet to talk about life insurance as my monthly goal.” My goal for the first month was to meet with 100 people.

My boss did not seem to be convinced, and my colleagues told me it was an impossible goal. I had a list of 5,000 people, many of whom I knew from my previous occupation, and I started calling them one after another to ask for an appointment. I made 102 appointments in the first month!

Not all who agreed to meet me purchased insurance, of course. Even if they did not buy from me, I explained that I was available as an information source for anything to do with money. At the beginning of each interview I explained, “You have no obligation to buy from me today. But if there is something I can do for you, just remember me and let me handle it.”

Even those who never became clients gave me something valuable as I listened to them talk about their love for their family, life goals, values and dreams. Those stories gave me confidence to continue with my profession. Furthermore, I kept contacting those who did not buy from me after six months, one year, two years and so on. As a result, 70 out of those 102 that I met in the first month have become my clients to date.

Yuta Tamai is a two-year MDRT member from Chiyoda-ku, Japan. Contact him at


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