Building a solid sales foundation is the key to making quality phone calls when setting appointments or gathering renewal dates from centers of influence and C-level decision makers. According to my agency clients there are different schools of thought when it comes to being in front of a prospective client, and personally I respect both.
The two thought processes shared are the Traditional 90-120 days prior to the renewal and what is known as the Off-Season Appointment regardless of when the renewal is coming.
Connect with Decision Makers
The first tip I’ll share bodes well with the very first sentence of this article, which is connecting with centers of influence and C-level decision makers. It’s important to remember that whomever picks up the phone at the business you’re calling is part of that business’s team and the fact that this person was hired means they’re respected by the team managers. It would be in your best interest to treat all gatekeepers with respect as well since they can make or break the outcome of a successful face-to-face appointment. Basically, think of the receptionist as a prospect and not an adversary, and you might connect with more C-level decision-makers.
The second tip for a successful commercial lines telemarketing campaign would be think dynamically; not just with good energy but being able to emulate the personality on the other end of the telephone. The last thing you want is to have a tone that‘s overpowering a soft spoken person or one that is timid when dealing a person that’s way too happy. So be a chameleon and, as we say here at the Neilson Marketing Services call center, get on their tone-o-level.
Know Your Target Audience
The third tip is to think about is know your target audience before dialing and smiling. Knowledge is power. So what should you know and learn? Well it can include the following;
- Geography: cities, counties, population, names of your client’s that might be a center of influence. Have an atlas open to the exact page and map of the prospects area.
- Class of business: how many of these types of business are in the area? What are the top concerns insuring the class of business you’re calling on? For example if you’re calling on a list of Crane operators and the number one issue related to accidents occurring is due to lack of safety and preventative measures, you can hone in on solution-oriented alternatives.
Become the Teacher
The third tip is reciprocity and teach; know what insurance agencies and carriers you’re competing against. Is there a declination rate of the incumbent carrier that’s lower or higher? Why? Understand the carrier’s ratings and coverage differences, as it’s not just about price if a catastrophe occurs. This is where a good factual story of how the carriers you’re representing have helped businesses in the neighborhood come in handy to help you build trust. Remember, most prospects have been with their incumbent agent for 8 or 10 years and may not have seen a true apples-apples quote in years, especially if they’re with their brother in-law.
Listening is Key
The fourth tip would be to make good decisions when listening to a prospect’s questions and concerns. If you don’t know the answer, be honest and let them know that it’s not a question you can answer now but you would love to get the answer for them ASAP. Also, this is a great opportunity to let them know that a more seasoned experienced representative from the firm can help answer their questions and you can find out if it would be a good time to set a meeting this week or next to address it. Always provide an alternative choice, and if you get the answer for next week, close with an alternative day and time as well.
The fifth tip is that measurement is the key to most success, but accountability is even greater. The most successful sales producers will set time aside each day, week or month to make cold calls. If you’re one of these producers, track your call manually if your phone system is not automated into your CRM. Track your dials per hour, how many connections you made, how many were not interested, bad phone numbers, how many leads and how many appointments. It’s all about setting goals when cold calling just like it is for the amount of sales you’re attempting to achieve for the year. Here’s a great tool for free to help you in the event you don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
Preparation is Key
The sixth and final tip we have to offer is to be prepared. So many producers hate making cold calls, and part of the reason is that they aren’t prepared. If you aren’t able to keep the prospect on the telephone for 15 seconds you’re most likely not ready. Work on building your opening statement and role play with a colleague or practice in a mirror. Also once you’re ready to call, if possible, listen to all voice mail messages before leaving one I highly recommend this as you’ll most likely change it up.
About Neilson Marketing Services
Since 1988, Neilson Marketing Services has been implementing innovative marketing solutions and strategies for our clients in all areas of marketing. Contact us today at (800) 736-9741, to put our talent, expertise, and vast resources to work for you. Let’s make things happen, together!