Use these phone tips as on-the-go insurance sales helps
This month we’re offering insurance sales helps and tricks for agents that use one of your most valuable sales tools: your smart phone.
Is your prospect cutting your call off after 3 sentences?
It may not be your script. It may not be the buzz words you’re using. Before you toss your script and begin a full-fledged rewrite, consider this: is it the tone of your voice?
It might be worth taping yourself so that you can listen to yourself. Tips on what to listen for are our first insurance sales help for this month:
Do you sound bored or distracted? When you’re distracted, your voice tone goes monotone – and your prospect on the other end can hear it clearly. Have everything that you may need at your fingertips, so that you’re not searching for data while on your call. And this one’s important: ignore incoming phone calls or emails. Resist the urge to take a quick peek. Stay upbeat and positive. You may even want to put a mirror in front of yourself so you can see yourself talking – we’re told that will automatically raise your energy level!
Do you sound defeated or negative? Everyone has bad days. And yes, it’s hard to stay positive after you’ve been hung up on 10 times. It’s best to take a short break. Remind yourself that it’s not personal, so don’t own those rejections. And you’ve heard this one: Smile. Even though they can’t see you smiling, they can tell that you are because of the tone of your voice.
Does your delivery sound robotic? In other words, is your script so cookie-cutter that you don’t vary from it? Or do you allow their questions and interaction, so that you don’t seem to be pushing them hard down that sales funnel? Use your voice tone to emphasize specific benefits: slightly raise your pitch (not your volume) and slow down just a bit.
“When a prospect receives a call that sounds too ‘salesy,’ they tend to immediately tense up and are not likely to freely give any in-depth information to the salesperson,” according to Invenio Marketing as quoted by Hubspot’s blog. “In contrast, a call that has a casual, non-sales focused tone will help the prospect to be more comfortable giving key information to the sales rep.”
How to text your sales prospects
Let’s face it: sales emails languish in our inboxes for hours, maybe days. But a text? We just can’t resist checking our text messages. Mobile Marketing Watch says 98 percent of all text messages are opened, versus 22 percent of emails.
The second of our insurance sales helps this month offers basic text etiquette, according to Hubspot’s sales blog:
- Call first – then text. If they provided their mobile number when filling out a form, call first. Even if you can only leave a message, do so, Hubspot says – and at the end, add a sentence like, “Would it be okay if I texted you? My clients tell me it’s faster and more convenient to confirm our meetings or get information over text than email.” You’re getting across two important points here: one, you’re explaining why the text is really for their benefit. Two, you’re establishing that it’s a common procedure for you and your clients. This is particularly good for personal lines agents. If you’re a commercial agent, it will depend on their industry, as to how conservative and formal they are.
- Keep it short & sweet. If your message is more than 300 characters, says Hubspot, it’s best to send an email. Use your text message as a teaser or a hook to compel them to open the email right away.
- Use good spelling and grammar. OMG: Save the cutesy emojis and abbreviations for your friends.
- It’s OK to text when:
- You’re checking their availability for a call
- You’re confirming a call or meeting
- You’re sending a helpful resource
- You’re answering a question they asked earlier
- Don’t text when:
- You want to find out why they’re not taking your phone call or answering your email
- You’re just “checking in” without adding any value (a resource, an answer to a question, etc.)
- You repeat what you already said in your email.
Seven more phone sales skill tips to use right away
Whether you’re cold calling, or still trying six months later, to get past that gatekeeper who won’t budge, try these tips to increase your success rate.
1. If your cell reception’s spotty, don’t make the call. If it could lead to a longer conversation, the last thing you want is to only hear every fourth word. Wait until you can use a landline. Of course, if you’re just confirming a meeting time, that’s ok.
2. Show respect to the gatekeeper. We know: she has no sense of humor, but takes great delight in continually telling you “no.” Still, be respectful. Call her by name, and tell her thanks.
3. Learn how to get around the gatekeeper. When she says, “I can give him the message,” then you reply, “Actually, I’m just on my way out. How late is someone there to answer the phone? And what time can I reach you in the morning?” You’ve just found out two things: What time she goes home (and typically her boss will stay later) and how early you can call in the morning before she’s back at her post (again, hoping her boss is in before her).
4. Put their name and company name right in front of you. It’s so easy to go down your list, making calls. And as the phone rings, you’re already looking at the next name. Then your mind goes blank and you realize, just as they answer the phone: you didn’t listen to their greeting, so you’re not sure just who you called.
5. Never be the first one to hang up; in fact, be quiet as they disconnect. They may make a very telling comment about you or your company, thinking you’ve already hung up. That comment can help you prepare for the next call.
6. Slow down as you give your name and company name. Often, when you’re on a roll, it’s easy to blast right past your name. But it takes a minute for your contact info to register, so say it a little more slowly.
7. To increase your energy level, stand up during the call, and use wide gestures.
Your turn: What sales helps for insurance agents can you add to our mix?