Making the Most of Your Appointments

How many times have you heard this? “Uhmm, was it really a bad appointment or was it the lack of sales skill we sent out to see the prospect? What are the key ingredients of one sales representative over another that keeps them on the leaderboard month after month?”

There are multiple reasons for this, and the superstar salesperson has a gift during the selling process to emulate the prospect’s exact buying needs, habits and decisions, and the order is asked for not, sold. All prospects experience a number of anticipated emotional stages when making a purchase, and the following key ingredients are precisely what a prospect is experiencing emotionally when making a buying decision and how you can best address it.

The great Heraclitus of Ephesus, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, once said, “Change is the only constant.”  If there’s one rule in selling, it’s dealing with the prospect’s potential change upfront. It’s the job of a salesperson to provide a convincing reason to change from their current provider.  In all seriousness, this is one of your biggest hurdles to overcome. If you sell insurance for a living and your client retention is 80%, it’s either because they’re not moving or because your competitors were not giving them a reason to change. The sales your competitors walked away with are the 20% and they may have had an issue, so it was easier to close the deal.

One technique to defy the status quo is to suggest how prospects can improve their personal and business goals.  Uncovering what is challenging them will allow you to offer solutions.  I’m pretty sure when you visit the doctor he asks a series of questions and the main one is, “Where does it hurt?” It’s a salesperson’s job to ask questions so that the prospect feels the damaging effect of their problems and the negative outcome it’s having on their business. It’s important to understand what’s causing the problem so that your recommendations are the only ones to consider. If you skip this step the sale will die a slow death, as the prospect will gravitate towards stalling and put-offs to not return your calls.

Once you are comfortable with learning to deal with change upfront and have it mastered, you’ll need to learn how to convey the importance of now. It’s important to act like the professional and help them in understanding the compelling reasons for committing  to the change now.  But while creating urgency is fine to incorporate into the selling process, it’s important to do it without pressuring the prospect to buy. Providing valid reasons to make a commitment today without sounding like a used car salesman will help to set you apart.

Here’s where it’s okay for the salesperson to do a little bit more of the talking: sharing how your product or service will not only help change their issues into positives, but will also teach them what you have that competitors don’t. This is where you want to ask that magic wand question: “If you had a magic wand and could wave it over your current provider, what’s the one change you would make”? This is where you’ll not only put the prospects at ease but also demonstrate the value and knowledge they need to see in your solutions.  Incorporating skillsets and experience or an advantage over your competitors is your story on how you’re the better choice.

If you and your company are chosen, it’s a high percentage play that the prospect trusts you or what you are offering.  Creating a trusting prospect means providing credibility through evidence and communicating that your expertise will provide the value needed.  It’s one thing for you to believe in your products, services and company, but if you aren’t able to convince the prospect and gain their confidence, they’ll move on without you. Share success stories of current clients and focus on how your product will save them time and money.

As they say in Jerry Maguire, show me the money. Understanding what prospects would like to achieve with a potential purchase will assist you in showing them advantages of your product over other options.  There are a lot of competitors out there, so make it easy for your product to outperform when it comes to an apples to apples comparison. It’s also just as important to show the prospect what they will lose if they don’t choose your service. No matter what you’re selling or offering, there’s value. Insurance can be looked at as an expense over time, but without the proper coverage, the costs to correct or fix what might occur could bankrupt a business or individual.

That’s a pretty emotional conversation to bring up when it comes to selling. Most prospects that agree to a meeting feel pretty good in the moment you connect.  By the time you actually meet with them a week or two later, their positive mood may have passed.  This doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong; you could have done everything right just to lose a sale to an unfortunate mood swing of the prospect during your call.  One way to combat this is to pay attention to your nonverbal behavior and rely on voice tone, rate of speech, facial expressions, and eye contact to convey the right mood to your prospect, as emotions can cause engagement to occur naturally. If you find yourself in this situation, present yourself in a positive fashion with a bit more intensity than you normally might convey and they just might follow suit.

Jeff Neilson

Co-founder of Neilson Marketing Services and ProgramBusiness.com, Jeff has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry putting his expertise to work for P/C agencies, MGAs/MGUs, wholesalers, S&L brokers, and program administrators nationwide. With Neilson Marketing, he has implemented the gold standard in insurance telemarketing for more than 5,000+ agencies, brokerages, and companies across North America with customized, targeted lists, qualified leads, appointment-setting, relationship marketing programs, response tracking and analysis, and sales center consulting.

Jeff’s responsibilities as president of ProgramBusiness.com include overseeing the optimization of the online portal to enhance the already widely successful virtual wholesaler/MGA/S&L broker Storefronts for maximum lead generation and conversion.

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Think about where you want to be next year, in five years and even in 20 years as the insurance industry evolves. How will you get there? Do you have the resources in place? The talent? The strategies? Neilson Marketing Services can help you plan for tomorrow today. Give us a call at 800.736.9741 or complete the form on this page. One of our account representatives will contact you to start making results happen.

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