As anyone who works in sales understands, selling is more of an art than a science. Sometimes closing a deal means forgetting what the textbook says and relying on your own instincts about a prospect you have become familiar with.
Based on his years of sales experience, guru Zig Ziglar offers beginning salespeople the following pieces of advice.
1. Turn Cold Calling into Warm Calling
Cold calling means you know nothing about the person on the other end of the line, and he or she knows nothing about you. Warm calling means that you have done your research and are familiar with the company to which you are reaching out. If possible, arrange for a business person that both you and your prospect respect to arrange for a casual introduction. Warm calling makes it much easier to get through the bureaucratic red tape.
2. Build Trust, Credibility, and Integrity
If your prospect has doubts about your integrity or simply doesn’t believe what you are saying, no amount of talking, persuading, and negotiating will convince him or her to close the deal. If you have taken a misstep and lost the prospect’s trust, you have probably lost all hope of a sale, at least until the trust can be rebuilt.
3. Listen First
Many salespeople are so thrilled to get prospects on the phone that they launch into an “elevator speech” about the virtues of their products or services. Zig Ziglar suggests that instead of rushing to be the first to speak, the consummate salesperson takes the time to be the first to listen. Find out what the prospects are and take some time to think about how your agency can help solve your prospect’s problems and make his or her life easier.
4. Don’t Try to Close Too Early
Attempting to close on a deal too early is a natural mistake in the sales-driven world of insurance, but Ziglar warns that attempting to close without getting a clear understanding of the prospect’s needs is a breach of trust. Suddenly the prospect feels like he or she is just a golden ring to be grabbed rather than a living, breathing person who needs the help of your agency.
5. Prepare a Proposal Unique to the Prospect
After you’ve listened and thought about what the prospect has to say, craft a unique proposal that addresses your products needs and concerns. Then – and only then – is it wise to move in for the closing and to ask your prospect to give you a clear “yes” or a clear “no.”
If you would like to hear more of Zig Ziglar’s unique ideas, you can listen to his podcast at http://zigziglar.libsyn.com/