If You Don’t Bring It Up, You’re Not Going to Sell It

Corry Collins, CFP, ChFC, CHS, of Maritime Wealth Management and a qualifying and life member of MDRT, has been in the industry since he was 25. And while he grew up around the business—his dad was an agent—he wasn’t sure if it was for him. But once he gave it a shot, he was hooked. We spoke with him about his path to success, and why he includes disability and critical illness in his client discussions.


What do consumers least understand about disability insurance? And why do you include it in your practice?

My dad was 38 when he had his first heart attack—and doctors were able to keep him alive. He had disability insurance, but it was only group coverage, and it wasn’t enough.

So, what used to kill people, now just makes them disabled, and that’s part of my selling process with my clients. I say, “You may not die from these things, but as time goes on it’s probably going to make you disabled.”

I also sell it to separate myself from the competition. Where other agents or advisors might call you and say, “I want to talk to you about your financial planning,” Or, “I’d like to talk to you about your investments,” I can call and say, “I’d like to talk to you about your disability insurance.” And of the 600 or so advisors in my city, nobody calls and says, “I’d like to talk to you about your disability insurance.” So I don’t have any other competition.

And I’ve also specialized—most of my clients are physicians. So I don’t do marketing; it’s all word of mouth. And I do seminars for medical students and residents. I’ll do lunch and learns with pizza or Subway. The good thing is, physicians don’t have time to talk, so when I meet them, we get right down to business.


What about critical illness? It’s not sold much in the U.S. How do you talk to your clients about it?

The bottom line is if you don’t bring it up, you’re not going to sell it.

I also use a diagram, and say “Your lifeline goes along in a straight line, and your income is going to be on your Y axis, and you expect your income is going to rise steadily until it stops. And it’s going to stop because of one of four things: because you live too long, die too soon, become disabled, or have a critical illness.” Then I ask the client to prioritize what’s the most important thing in their view right now. And most don’t buy everything all at once. It’s a process, as opposed to an event.

And when you bring critical illness insurance up in this conversation, they’ll ask what it is and then you have the opportunity to explain it. It’s a completely different product than disability insurance and solves a completely different set of problem.


What is the biggest mistakes you see fellow agents/advisors making?

They don’t treat their practice as a business as quickly as they should. Most see it as an opportunity to sell, not a business. They need to track a balance sheet, make sure the operation is continuing on when they’re out of town, and also figure out what you can pay other people to do for, let’s say, $15 an hour versus spending your time doing it.


What can they do to improve their business or better serve their clients and prospects?

By asking questions. I don’t know what I’m getting into with a client, but I can ask questions. For example, “If we were to get together three years from now, what would have to change in your personal and business life for you to be completely happy?” If you throw out a question like that, they’ll talk and they’ll tell you.


What the best piece of advice you’d like to pass on to your fellow agents and advisors?

I’d love to see more people involved with MDRT. Personally it helps me recharge my battery. Honestly, being a member has changed my career.

I would also say, the more technology you use in your business, the more it helps you run that business. We have a paperless office—we don’t have any file cabinets at all. That impresses people. It makes you look organized, and we know it’s all about that first impression. People recognize that you’re using technology and helps with your overall professional status.

And lastly, get your designations. It gives credibility.