Boost your insurance sales skills with these tips
As an insurance producer, are you finding it more and more difficult to grow your book of business? We recently surveyed a number of our appointed producers and found out this is your number one hot button. So once a month (or so), we’re distilling some of the top advice we can find, to help you boost your insurance sales skills and grow your business.
Top traits of an insurance consultant
In the sales arena, extroverts have a leg up on us introverts. Why? Because they more easily think on their feet. They think best and fastest with their mouth running. A quick and articulate reply doesn’t come as easily to introverts, who typically think with their mouths closed. And who can abide that awkward silence while the introvert is thinking of an answer? Yep, it’s awkward.
However, anyone can be taught to be persuasive, said Jeff Charles in a Small Business Trends blogpost. He names five traits that will make you a better consultant – and grow your sales. Make sure you personify these five insurance sales skills:
- Be an active listener. Carefully listening to what’s said and observing body language will help you understand the other person’s needs, pain points and desires.
- Ask questions. The challenge is to stop yourself from jumping to conclusions based on what you’ve just heard. Instead, ask open-ended questions to dig deeper and get the other person to explain their situation or their viewpoint more fully. This will help you not only get the information you need to influence the sale, but it also helps you build a deeper connection: it shows your interest in their need.
- Show you care. When you can effectively tune in to how your prospect feels and communicate that to them, they will lower their guard. “It’s a great way to handle conflict and overcome objections, ” Charles said in his blogpost.
- Talk in layman’s terms. Don’t try to impress your prospect with insurance lingo; instead, keep your message as simple as possible. Explain terms they may not understand. “The more simply you articulate your proposal, the easier it will be to get the other person to comply with your request, ” Charles explained.
- Always keep the prospect’s viewpoint in mind. Here’s where many novice agents fail: in their eagerness to gain the sale, they focus their attention and most of the conversation on their own pitch – not on the prospect’s needs. Don’t rush past their needs. They don’t care what you’re proposing until they’re certain you understand their needs. Your part of the conversation should be spent matching their wants and needs to your proposal. Start with their viewpoint – first, last and always.
Master these 3 cold calling tips for insurance sales
Cold calling is the least favorite task in insurance sales. No one likes rejection; it requires developing the hide of a rhinoceros and the tenacity of a bee drawn to nectar. Here are three do’s and don’ts from PropertyCasualty360.com that will help:
- Do your homework. If you’re in commercial insurance, review the company’s website and social media sites. Be sure you understand their main business.
- Discover their trigger. By asking questions and using your highly developed observation skills, try to home in on two things: the key benefit that they hope to achieve when they purchase and the concern or roadblock they have to moving forward in their insurance purchase. These two important points you’ll use when you pitch your proposal to them.
- Don’t try to sell on your first call. This phone call or visit is strictly information gathering. Be an active listener and empathetic, as we just talked about. Take notes, and focus on building the relationship, not selling. Then schedule a follow-up call to talk about your solutions.
Use Gmail? Here are 2 Gmail hacks to ensure your cold emails are opened
Google’s Gmail is the #2 email client today, just after the iPhone. To put it into perspective, Outlook, which used to be THE business email provider, is now #6. So we figured it’s highly possible that your agency uses Gmail as its provider. If that’s the case then these two little-known Gmail tools, courtesy of Jeff Bullas, digital marketing guru, are for you.
- Automatically schedule the next email(s) before you send the first one. You can find this button at the very bottom of the first or “cold” email you’re about to send. It’s a button with double left arrows, to the right of the “Send” and “Send Later” buttons. It allows you to schedule the next, and the next…up to five emails that will be sent in the time period you select. You can create each email right there in the window that pops up. It will continue to send your emails on the schedule you selected, until they reply (or you run out of emails).
- Set a follow-up reminder. Still no response? Find the little clock icon between the double arrows and the “Send” and “Send Later” buttons. It prompts you to follow up with the prospect in whatever time frame you select. Then, if the person doesn’t reply, you’ll receive an email reminder to follow up; we suggest via phone, at this point.
Remember, most sales people stop after 1 or 2 tries. The tenacious producer keeps going, up to seven attempts, and earns significantly more business.
If your agency doesn’t have a CRM, these two tools are great time-savers, allowing you to follow up with prospects at the same time you’re on another cold call or cross-selling an existing client!