Insurance sales used to happen during traditional business meetings. A customer would make an appointment and arrive in a suit-and-tie or dress-and-pumps, handshakes would be exchanged, policies explained and dotted-lines signed. An insurance agent would work hard to create a good impression through their wardrobe, office surroundings and persona.
Today you may never see your prospective customer in person (which could be a good thing, as they may be in their pajamas working on a laptop surrounded by 20 feral cats). But it’s still important to put some thought into how you will be perceived. If you’ve never considered your phone persona before, these five phone tips can help you close more sales.
Tip #1: Organization
Well before you call a prospect, you should organize—your thoughts, your files and your process. Take a few minutes to think through how a typical sales call should be handled and, if it’s helpful, create an outline to follow during the call.
Consider what type of information you’ll need to gather and what the customer might want to know. Open any files or websites that you may need to access beforehand so you don’t waste time trying to find what you need during the call. Most importantly, organize your mind—place a clear objective front-and-center, such as “I am going to close this sale” or “I am going to create an ongoing customer relationship.”
Tip #2: Connecting for Success
When you receive a lead or referral you’re given a lot of detailed information to connect you with your prospect. Such as, where they live, what kind of car they drive, or if they are married. Obtaining all this information can then be used to connect with your prospect early on and allow you the opportunity to build a relationship.
When you do connect with the prospect don’t dive right into your sales pitch, rather try to develop a connection right off the bat with your prospect. For example, “Hey (First name), I see you’re from Las Vegas. Are you a football fan? Are you excited about the Raiders coming to town?” Or, “Wow, I see you drive the new Camaro. I love how those cars look. What made you get a Camaro over all the other options?”
Obtaining this information from a lead or referral not only comes to you with the stigma of prospect with a high-intent to purchase, but you can use this information to quickly develop a relationship with your prospect.
Tip #3: Engagement
One of the advantages of an in-person meeting is that there is less opportunity to disengage. It’s harder to daze out looking at a squirrel or browse sports scores or funny memes when a customer is staring at you. When you’re on your phone a lot, it may be a challenge to stay engaged at all times. But it’s important that you do so; a decrease in your attention will be felt by your prospect, even if it’s not mentioned. So resolve to focus your attention on each and every call.
Make your calls from a location without a lot of distractions and keep unnecessary websites closed. Set rewards for yourself; maybe allow yourself to check social media after you’ve made 10 calls or take 15 minutes to plan your next vacation each time you close a sale.
Tip #4: Listen
The easiest way to stay engaged with a prospective client is to work on your active listening skills. One way to do this is to practice reflective listening. For instance, if a customer tells you they are shopping for auto insurance because their teen is about to start driving and their current insurer is going to raise their rates a lot, you might say, “So you’re looking for new auto insurance because you want to see if you can avoid paying higher rates with your new teen driver. Is that right?”
Taking this a step further, you can also name any feeling you are picking up from the client and reassure accordingly. “It sounds like you’re frustrated that your current rates are going to increase so much. Let me ask a few questions and get some quotes for you. I’ll do my best to find you a better rate.” Doing this will help prevent miscommunication and lets your prospect know that you are listening and that you understand their concerns.
Tip #5: Focus on the Close
It’s also easier to stay engaged if you focus on closing your sale throughout the call. When that objective is top-of-mind, you will be motivated to work through difficulties and solve problems to achieve your goal. It’s like getting directions from the smooth-talking voice of your GPS—even if you come across a detour, you’ll know where to go. Sometimes seeing it in your own handwriting can be a powerful motivator, too, so write it down and make it specific: “I am going to close this homeowners insurance sale with Jane Doe.” It won’t work every time, but it will help keep your eyes on the prize.
Lots of agents can provide the same quotes as you, so it’s important to set yourself apart in other ways if you want to be the one who closes a sale. With thought and effort, you can cultivate a phone persona that is thoughtful, thorough and effective to help make clients want to work with you now and in the future.