Your motivation to sell comes from what drives you.
Some sell because they want to purchase that lake house or new sportscar; some are energized by the competition. Others thrive on using their expertise to help others with coverage and rate. How often do you use all five senses to sell? Use these senses to increase your sales productivity.
See every opportunity for what it really is. Don’t get discouraged when sale opportunities that appear to be a sure thing don’t turn out. When you have an accommodating prospect, know that it’s likely that prospect has shopped before. Make sure you look closely at every opportunity, pre-qualifying so you don’t waste your valuable sales time.
During your prospect and client visits, make appropriate eye contact. Good eye contact can help you establish trust and rapport, but inappropriate eye contact can turn off prospects, resulting in fewer sales. Let your approach be calm, relaxed, and natural. If your eyes are too intense, the prospect will become uncomfortable.
Sales are made by those who are effective listeners. Here are a few tips on how you can be a better listener:
Wait to offer solutions until you hear all of the client’s needs. As the prospects get more comfortable talking to you, the most pressing need may be the last one they mention.
Focus on the prospect and what is said more than on what you’re going to say next. Clients want to feel as though they are driving the sales process, not you. Respond to what they say with another question.
Be a note-taker. It helps you concentrate on what is being said and demonstrates to clients and prospects that you care about their concerns.
Know the pitfalls of accounts that have an unfavorable scent, such as poor loss results, physical deterioration and a mentality that price is all that matters.
You may choose to walk away from the account’s smell or tackle the odor head-on through various risk management techniques. Some of the best opportunities and most appreciative clients are the ones whose distracting aroma is turned into fine fragrance through your dedication and effort.
Reach out and effectively touch the prospect. Each insurance buyer is not the same, nor are their needs. Some prospects want guidance, others want professional service, some want the lowest price, and still others need help with insurance issues such as audits and engineering.
How many personal contacts are you making on new accounts before your presentation meeting? How many times are you in contact with accounts during the policy year? Experts debate the type and quantity of touches that are needed, but all agree that staying in touch is essential to sales success and proper account retention.
Create a plan for each account that includes a specific number of touches. For existing clients, the number should be more than the renewal update meeting and the proposal visit. For prospects, it should be more than the first introductory fact-finding meeting and the proposal appointment. Some tips include:
Avoid multitasking when visiting. Turn your phone to vibrate. You may think having phone interruptions makes you look busy and impressive, but in reality it affects the importance you put on that specific client.
Avoid saying “I’ll be in your area, and I’d like to stop by.” Make the prospect or client feel special that you traveled to their area just to see them.
Put some, if not all, of these ideas into practice. Work hard making excellence your signature for each account. Doing so will permit you to taste the sweet victory of sales success. Bon appetit!
James Dougherty, CIC, works at the Allwood Forlenza Agency in Clifton, N.J. Opinions expressed in this article are his own.