Working in a t-shirt and sweatpants is a reality for many insurance agents with a home office—it’s one of the perks of doing this kind of work. But while it’s great to be comfortable during the day, you don’t want to give your customer a picture of you being too casual when it comes to doing business. Depending on the client, you’ll generally want to convey more of a business-casual or well-tailored-suit type of persona.

Seeing as making phones sales is the bulk of many agents’ work, you can and should give some thought to how to be as effective as you can on a call. How can you convey the right level of professionalism with only your voice? Hometown Quotes has a few tips to help you out:

1) Minimize Distractions for You
Your home office is ideally a quiet, neat place where you have everything you need at your fingertips. If your space is a mess, block an afternoon to tidy it up, scanning documents to your computer when possible and filing or shredding the rest.

Once that’s done, consider what other types of clutter you may be dealing with and try to fix that, too. For example, too much noise can interfere with your thoughts; get a good noise-canceling headset to wear when you’re making phone calls. If your chair is uncomfortable, maybe it’s time to get a new one. Or it could be that there is a task on your to-do list that you can’t stop thinking about. Sometimes it pays to take the time to deal with an overdue task first in order to free up that headspace.

2) Minimize Distractions for Them
Your customer wants to feel like they have your full attention. They won’t get that sense if your child is losing it in the background because they want a cookie. Since you’re dealing with personal information, it’s also important that prospects get the sense you are guarding it carefully. If they hear a barista foaming an espresso in the background, it doesn’t exactly scream confidentiality.

3) Script (and Practice) Your Opening and Closing
You can’t script an entire conversation ahead of time, but your first and last impressions are entirely in your control. Particularly when you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to script what you’re going to say at the beginning of a call and when you’re wrapping up. You’re aiming to come off as friendly, competent, respectful and knowledgeable.

Sometimes language sounds better in your head than it will coming out of your mouth. Practice to work out the kinks. Try your openings and closings aloud a few times, altering phrasing to make them as comfortable-sounding as possible. Then run them past someone you trust to get their impression. It’s important to get feedback from another person to find out if you’re being perceived the way you want to be.

4) Script (and Practice) Ways to Overcome Possible Rejections
It’s a given in sales that potential customers will give lots of different reasons NOT to buy your insurance products. Do you know what to say in those situations? Even the most organized minds get rattled sometimes. Do yourself a solid by scripting language that you can use to overcome different types of objections. Then run your words past someone else again to see if they are landing the way you want them to.

5) Keep Reference Tools Handy
Think through what you might need before you make a sales call and have it available to reference. Get out the brochure, pull up the website or do whatever it is you need to do to have all of the tools you’ll need to make it easier for you to answer questions. This will help you come off as someone who’s on the ball.

6) Understand Generational Preferences
You may have heard that millennials in general don’t like to talk on the phone. It’s true—multiple surveys have confirmed it. Conversely, for many older adults, establishing rapport through a friendly conversation is quite important. While you may meet exceptions, consider these generational differences and how you might want to change your approach with each customer as a result.

For more tips on how to be a better insurance sales person on the phone, or if you’d like to practice your scripting with an expert, give Hometown Quotes a call at 800.820.2981. One of our Regional Managers will be happy to give you feedback to help you hone your phone skills.

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Bridget Chamberlin

Bridget Chamberlin works in marketing at Hometown Quotes and is posting author and editor for Hometown University.

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