Improve Your Phone and Online Presence
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the way we do business, a number of which seem like they’re going to become permanent. One of them is fewer face-to-face meetings.
In an industry like insurance sales that thrives on personal connections, this last year has been a challenge both for experienced agents who’ve had to modify their work styles and for new agents struggling to build rapport without the benefit of in-person energy. The same technology that we are using to come together can also create virtual barriers.
If you’ve found yourself struggling some, you’re not alone. Whether you’re on a phone call or in an online meeting, there are ways to make the experience better for both you and your prospect.
1. Check Your Tech
Ask a carpenter or anyone who regularly works with tools and they’ll confirm that they can do a better job if their tools are good quality and the right ones. Just like you wouldn’t try to build a deck with a rusty saw, it’s not a good idea to try to connect with a customer on an old flip phone or a computer running Windows Vista.
In the current business environment, having reliable connectivity and quality sound and video is a must. Pay the extra $25 a month for faster internet, and if you haven’t invested in a new computer or smartphone recently, now may be the time. Also be sure to install software updates as they come up. You don’t want to find out that you suddenly can’t share your screen just as you’re trying close a deal.
2. Shush Your Surroundings
You wouldn’t have an in-person meeting in your bedroom, and you probably shouldn’t have a virtual one there either. Give some thought to what is happening in the background of your video meetings and get rid of any distractions. Sit in front of a plain or minimally decorated wall and face toward a light source so you don’t look like a dark blob on your screen.
This idea goes for phone calls, too. While it’s definitely become more accepted to hear sounds from home like a child’s voice or a cat’s meow in the background, no one wants to hear a dog that won’t stop barking. We’ve all become more forgiving, but you still want to come across as an insurance professional, not a doggie daycare provider.
3. Say Cheese!
Whether you’re on a Zoom or a call, make it a point to open every online meeting with at least a few minutes of warmth and human connection. Ask how your client’s day is going, exchange pleasantries and keep a smile on your face even if your face isn’t visible—it will still come through in your voice.
4. Slow Your Roll
One of the advantages of in-person get togethers is the ability for both parties in a conversation to read each other’s facial expressions and body language. This is largely missing during online meetings and impossible during phone calls. Vocal nuances that may be understood in context in person may get lost completely.
Connecting through technology is often easier at a slower pace. Speak more deliberately. Enunciate more clearly. Convey shorter chunks of information at a time. Allow for longer pauses between sentences so the other party has plenty of opportunities to jump in.
5. Express Yourself
If you really want to draw someone in, be vulnerable. Not vulnerable in a “here are all the gory details of my recent divorce” kind of way, more like by expressing sincere gratitude for the chance to earn their business during a strange time or being briefly real about a challenge you’ve faced this last year.
The goal isn’t to make the call or video meeting about you, rather it’s a chance for you to make it safe for your client to be vulnerable, too. A lot of people have had a rough go dealing with homeschooling, loss of income, feeling trapped, illness and even death. They may or may not take you up on your invitation to open up, but they’ll feel more open to do so if you lead the way.
Whenever you’re on a call or online meeting that someone else is leading, start noticing what they are doing well and what could use some improvement. This is a new skill set for many of us; the more intentional we are about learning how to do it well, the faster we’ll be able to do so.
The tips and ideas found online here at Hometown University are just one way Hometown Quotes supports insurance agents. Call us at 800.820.2981 to speak to one of our Regional Directors for more ideas and to learn how our fresh insurance leads can help you build your book.