Think back to the last time you met someone and immediately felt at ease. What was it that made you like them instantly? Conversely, what about the person who triggered distrust or dislike—what was it that caused such a strong negative reaction? It could be based on their, and your, personality type.
In your personal life, it’s easy enough to avoid people you don’t gel with. But when you’re selling insurance, avoiding those people means missing out on sales. Why do that to your bottom line? Since your clients aren’t people you generally have to spend a lot of time with, learning about personality types is an easy way to both save your sanity and help you figure out how to make sales to all types of people.
The first thing to know is that there are many different personality typing systems—Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, True Colors, to name just a few. Do an internet search and read up. Some you may have heard of, others will be new, but they all involve recognizing how individuals think about and respond to our world.
For example, within the Myers-Briggs framework, ENTJs are analytical and decisive. If you want to sell an ENTJ an auto policy, you might send them a chart of quotes sorted from lowest price to highest with a comparison of key features clearly delineated. This will allow them to make a confident and quick choice.
Contrast that with an Enneagram Peacemaker. Described as receptive, reassuring, agreeable and complacent, this type of personality might respond better to a cautionary anecdote about one of your clients who didn’t have the right car insurance. Your pitch could be more about drawing them into a what-if scenario than presenting facts and figures.
The idea isn’t to trick someone into buying any old insurance policy, it’s to recognize what is important to them and then offer them the right products to meet their needs. Understanding where someone is coming from and what makes them tick will make it easier for you to use the right sales approach.
(If you are not already familiar with any of the typing systems, True Colors may be a good place to start because it only has four types.)
When you’ve settled on a typing system that makes sense to you, start thinking about some of the psychological techniques that you could use to help you appeal to each type and write them down. These could include things like:
- Narrowing their options (good for personality types who get overwhelmed easily)
- Demonstrating that you are an ally (works with those who value loyalty)
- Appealing to emotions (i.e., activating feelings of protectiveness in those who value security)
- Establishing your credibility (effective with clients who respect authority)
- Inviting them to share their concerns (alleviates pressure for worriers)
Be intentional about the techniques you try and track how successful they are. Then, as you find the right combinations for each type, take note. The next time you come across a client with similar personality traits, you’ll already have a good starting point to direct your conversation.
In addition to thinking about your customers’ traits, it’s also important to take a look at your personality to understand what you’re bringing to the table. Where do you fit within a particular typing system?
It’s generally easiest to get along with people who are very similar to us in their outlook. And while you might expect to have the most difficulty with complete opposites, it’s actually not unusual to have the most friction with those who are just one or two types removed from us. Figuring out where you fit within any given personality system can help you be less reactive to those who initially rub you the wrong way.
Like any other tool in your sales toolbox, personality typing won’t be useful in every situation. But as you get more familiar with different personality frameworks, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the different types of humans you’ll encounter in your job and how to connect with them in a way that will produce higher sales.
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