“The best offense is a good defense”
If you’ve ever played or followed sports, you’ve heard that championships are won with defense. Even if you don’t follow sports, logically speaking, if you hold your opponents to zero points, how many points would you have to score to win the game? Conversely, if you allow them to score 100 points, how many would you need to score to win?
So why am I talking about defense and sports?
Some salespeople believe it’s how you close a sales call is how you win deals. The harder you close at the end, the more deals you win, right? What if I told you it’s actually how you open the sales call that will help you win more deals?
The fact of the matter is, even if you understood the modern sales process, sometimes the sales call just simply gets away from you. Have you ever had a sales call where the prospect takes over and asks you all the questions, or tell you to just give him/her the price? Have you ever had a sales call where you feel like the prospects is uneasy and just doesn’t seem engaged with you?
This happens to even the best salespeople. However, a lot these issues can be reduced by starting with this simple tactic at the beginning of the sales call that many salespeople simply forget to do.
For a new and growing insurance agencies, increasing sales is of utmost importance for both survival and expansion. Everyone knows the more leads, the more sales you will have. The challenge is, how do you get more leads? The problem for many agencies is they do not have a consistent plan for lead generation. When I screened new agencies for direct appointments, one question I always asked was, “what is your sales and marketing plan for new business?” The most common answers I got were, “we network,” or “cold calling.”
Don’t get me wrong, networking and cold calling are valid methods of getting leads, but they should not be the strategy, but rather a tactic within an overall strategy. They should be part of an overall lead generation plan.
Imagine a large a city like Los Angeles or New York. How many roads lead into that city? Your goal for lead generation is to become that city. You want to build several roads for customers to reach you and for you to reach your target customers. Unlike the city, heavy traffic is a great thing for your business when it’s filled with qualified leads.
Selling insurance is no easy feat. Not only is there a tremendous amount of competition, insurance is also mostly viewed as a commodity where price is the determining factor for purchasing decisions. However, as I was told early in my career, if selling was easy, everyone will be doing it. This is why top producers are rewarded handsomely for their results.
Below are 14 tips to help you make more sales and reach the level of revenue and income you desire.
(Side note, bonus points if you can name the movie the quote came from)
Almost 15 years ago, I walked into the sales office in Los Angeles of my new employer on a warm and sunny March day. I was enthusiastic, wide eyed, and eager to take on my new job as the new district sales manager for the struggling sales team.
I knew the team finished at 58% of quota the previous year and was ranked second to the bottom in the nation of over 160 teams. However, I was confident I could turn things around. After all, that was what I was hired to do. When I walked through the door, all of the enthusiasm and energy I had all morning almost immediately left my body. My first day nearly became my last.
“Don’t confuse activity with achievement” – John Wooden
Have you ever said the following to yourself?
“What happened to my day? I was busy but got nothing done.”
This is the trap John Wooden was referring to. Just because we are busy doing things, it does not mean we are actually accomplishing anything. We’ve all been there. Busy all day, putting out fires, responding to requests and when the day ends, nothing we actually wanted to get done was accomplished.
Unfortunately, many times those other distractions end up costing you money, time and added stress you simply don’t need. In order to achieve more, you need to have strategies to help you get focused on what you really need to get done and avoid overwhelm.
Here are 11 hacks to help you achieve more and stress less. Of course, adapt this to your own environment and situation.
“Detail Schmetail! Who cares? Salespeople aren’t detailed oriented.”
Throughout my career of leading sales teams, I’ve heard a version of that sentence from various salespeople. They just want to go out and sell, and not worry about the details like metrics and numbers. So I wasn’t too surprised when I met some agency principals and producers that were also not well versed with their agency’s numbers and metrics. They too wanted to focus on selling and other top priorities.
The irony is that while I've heard "Detail Schmetail" throughout my career, I’ve also heard this common statement about sales.
“Sales is a numbers game.”
So how can you play a numbers game when you don’t know your numbers?
Have you ever been to a networking event at a chamber or other networking groups? If you have, you may have experienced what I am about to describe.
For the most part, insurance products are a commodity, or at least, perceived as such. As insurance agents, you know there are differences between carriers, and not every policy is the same. Whether it’s claims handling, ease of use, customer service, or other benefits, you know that some carriers will take care of your clients better than others.
Unfortunately, most policyholders and prospects only look at once thing, the price. Some will ask you to shop every renewal; others will leave you for another agent for a lower quote, while new prospects may only talk to you if you have the lowest quote. Even when you try to present the differences between quotes, they often still choose the lower price.
The challenge is that most of your clients and prospects don't know or don’t care enough about insurance to make the right decision. So, what’s the solution?
It seems that every new sales training program is touting them as the best thing since… well, the last best sales training program. They all claim their system is proven, modern, and different from other systems that have come before them.
So has selling really changed that much between the 1990s and 2000s, and 2010s?