Cold calling is an inevitable part of most insurance agents’ work lives. But it can be an intimidating and uncomfortable task to try to sell insurance to strangers over the phone.
It’s easier if you’ve gotten fresh leads from Hometown Quotes, because you know the person you’re calling is actively shopping for insurance. Even then, though, it’s wise to have a plan in place before you dial. You’ll not only increase your odds of making a sale, it can also take the sting out of a rejection when you know that you’ve truly done your best.
Here are four steps to help you become more successful at making cold calls:
1) Create a Script
Start by clearly stating who you are, the name of your agency and the reason for your call:
“Hi, I’m FIRST NAME/LAST NAME with NAME OF AGENCY. I’m calling to see if I can help you save some money on XX insurance.”
From here, your conversation should be at least partially dictated by the person on the other end of the call. Whether it’s when they want to talk to you or what they want to talk to you about, listen to what they say and how they respond. Try to pick up on nonverbal cues to decide where to go next and ask for permission before asking lots of personal questions.
From here, you can create different scripting depending on the possible paths the call may take, such as:
“Great. I’ll try to make this quick to you can get back to whatever else you need to do. To give you a quote, I’ll need to ask for several pieces of personal information. Is that okay with you?”
“I’m sorry I caught you at a bad time. When would be a good time to call you back?”
Continue playing out possible scenarios and give yourself the words to say when they happen. Make sure you script a friendly closing, too, so you end on a good note.
2) Practice Makes Perfect
You’ve got your script, now it’s time to give it a test run. Ask a truthful but supportive friend if you can role-play on the phone with them a few times. Each time, they can portray a different type of prospect—eager, disinterested, harried, etc.
After you’ve tried a few different approaches, ask them for a critique. Try to stay open-minded when they tell you what they thought. Remember that no matter what your intentions were, you may not have come across the way you wanted to. You can gain valuable insights into your cold-calling techniques by doing this with a few people.
3) Critique Yourself
Now that you’ve done some tweaking, you can audition your script in the real world. Make notes of how customers are responding and how many insurance policies you are selling. Try revising your language to see if it makes a difference to your sales.
In most states, it is legal to tape phone calls without telling the other party you are doing so. (As of April 2019, you need both parties’ consent in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.) If you do tape yourself, you can ask yourself:
- Is my pace even, and is my enunciation clear?
- Do I sound professional and energetic?
- Am I using filler words like ‘um, OK, sure, definitely’ that I should work on eliminating?
- Am I pausing appropriately to let the customer speak, too?
4) Know Your Products
Now that you’ve paid attention to how you’re saying it, it’s also a good idea to make sure you know what you’re talking about. Think through the questions you might be asked and be sure you know the answers. Stay current on changes to insurance laws and trends.
If you don’t have an answer, don’t fake it. Tell your prospect that you’ll find out, then at the end of the call, bring it up again so they know you haven’t forgotten. You establish credibility when you follow up later with the answer they need.
If you ever want to practice cold calling with an expert, your Hometown Quotes Regional Director is always ready to lend a friendly ear. Give us a call at 800-820-2981, and we’ll help you hone your cold-calling skills to help you convert your leads into paying clients.