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)
1. Be Prepared: The old Boy Scout Motto is a key foundation for sales excellence. There’s nothing worse than an unprepared salesperson showing up to a meeting. Spend time prior to the appointment researching and preparing for your appointment.
It will not only help you focus and prepare for the meeting, but also show the prospect you are a professional that took time to prepare and learn about them prior to the meeting.
2. Build genuine rapport: “Old school” sales techniques tell you to find an item or a picture in the room, and start a conversation about it to build rapport.
The old, “Hey, I noticed that baseball in the corner of your desk. I like baseball too because I used to play in middle school,” trick.
Not only is this tactic outdated, but also prospects will see right through you. You can absolutely ask about something if you are truly interested. The key is to understand that rapport building just doesn’t take place in the first 30 seconds of the meeting. Rapport is built throughout the sales call, through genuine interest in the prospect.
3. Don’t sell to wrong person: As absurd as this sounds, this is a common mistake made by salespeople. Not that this done intentionally, but in many situations, especially in B2B sales, the true decision makers pushes down the initial screening process to an office manager or other employee.
Unfortunately, these employees don’t have the authority to make a final decision. However, they do have one very important power. The power of “No.” This is why so many sales across industries die at this stage. If they’ve been given the task of screening, they will do their best to do their job, which is to screen out. So, how do you overcome this? This takes us to number four.
4. Attention all decision makers: Not only is it important to speak to the decision maker as discussed in number four, it’s imperative to sell to all decision makers.
For example, if a business has two owners in the decision process, make sure they are both in the sales meeting. Or, if the decision requires both spouses, make sure both are involved in the process.
In an effort not to offend the gatekeeper, or one of the decision makers, simply ask who else is involved in the decision process and ask for their attendance.
For example, “Jim, who else is involved in the decision making process. Can we ask Sally to join us when we meet?”
5. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen Covey
Before you can sell to any prospects, you must first understand their needs and their current situation. Understanding their needs goes beyond just their basic insurance needs, but their overall needs as a business owner or individual as it relates to insurance.
Average insurance agents focus just on that line of insurance they are selling, while top producers learn about the overall needs of that business or individual. By understanding their overall needs, you can provide better advice and better insurance solutions not just for that policy today, but needs they aren’t aware of or that are upcoming. You can become the trusted advisor, rather than another insurance agent.
6. Never Assume: Most of us learned in school or early in life why we never assume. However, we tend to forget that in the sales process., especially the longer we’ve been in it.
It’s a natural tendency you assume what new prospects wants, especially when you’ve helped others like them, or it’s a standard line of insurance. However, by assuming you know what they want, you are forgetting tip number five.
Every prospect has a unique story. Even if their needs are similar to other prospects and clients you’ve worked with, it’s imperative you take the time to ask questions to truly understand this prospect. Not only will you ensure you truly understand their situation, you will also demonstrate you truly care about their needs.
7. Price is last: It is very easy to fall into the price trap, especially in insurance sales. Prospects often look for the lowest price instead of the best coverage or company for their situation. If you’ve done tips five and six well, then this part becomes easier. Questions that help remove price from the beginning of the meeting are:
“Price aside, what are you looking for in your insurance policy?” or
“Let’s pretend price is equal, what else would you…?”
8. Remember your USP: Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. Your USP is what makes you different and better than everyone else. In a previous blog, “How Do You Win the Sale Even When the Price is Wrong,” we dove into how to create or enhance your USP. In a competitive situation, your USP is what will help you win the client, even if prices were similar or aren’t in your favor.
9. Close: Closing the sale is still a crucial part of the sales process. Old school techniques tell you to close hard and close often. Modern techniques focus on the above tips of understanding your prospects and building rapport. However, you still need to ask for the sale. This doesn’t just mean closing your prospect on the quote, but it also means closing them on you, especially if you are trying to win them as a client.
10. The Power of Testimonials: Written testimonials are a powerful tool to have with you during a presentation. As part of your presentation, you can share with your prospects the success stories and testimonials of happy customers. It allows the prospect to “get to know you” and your work through the experiences of others who’ve worked with you. You can even organize your testimonials by type of client, so you can feature ones that share similar traits as your prospect.
11. Follow up: When a prospect needs to “think about it,” it’s imperative to set a follow up time frame. Consistent and persistent follow up is critical to stay top of mind of a prospect and reduces the chances of a competitor wedging in. This is also true for an existing client looking at another line of insurance.
Some agents tend to follow up less with existing clients than with new prospects. While your clients may respect you for not being “pushy,” a gentle reminder is still critical to push things along. Keep in mind most prospects have a million other things on their plate. Remember:
“Time Kills All Deals!”
12. Thank you: In this digital age where everything is about speed, we often forget to slow down to say thank you. When was the last time you received a thank you card from someone? When was the last time you’d hand written a thank you note to a prospect or a new client? For most of us, the answer may be never or many moons ago. The better question is how do you feel when you receive a thank you card?
The five minute process of writing a thank you card, or at worst an email, may just close that deal with the new prospect or keep that other agent from stealing your existing client.
13. Know your Metrics: In a previous blog, “Detail Scmetail…” we discussed the importance of knowing your agency’s key metrics. A critical sales metric is to know your close rate. By knowing your close rate, you can back into the number of presentations you need a month to meet your goal.
Remember, sales is a numbers game. Part of selling more, is to make sure your activity numbers match up with your sales goals and sales metrics
14. Stay Positive: As we discussed in the beginning, selling insurance is difficult. Above all of the other tips provided above, the last and most important one is to stay positive. Your attitude will help you with everything else. Even when everything is going wrong, staying positive will push you through the tough times.
We love to hear from you. What are some tips that work for you? Please share in the comments