A great question can trump the best sales pitch. This is particularly true selling to auto insurance leads, and especially with sales calls to aged auto leads. But not just any question will do. It has to be the right kind of question for the moment, and you should be thinking about how that question could advance your sales conversation—even before your prospect answers! Here’s what I mean.
Experiential Questions Can Shift the Transaction
A recent blog post by sales guru Seth Godin brought this idea home. Consider this familiar example:
Most [Girl] Scouts are taught to memorize a fairly complicated spiel, one that involves introducing themselves, talking in detail about the good work that the Scouts do, and finishing with how the money raised goes for this and for that.
This is difficult work even for a professional, but for a kid talking to an adult, it’s frightening and unlikely to lead to a positive experience. The alternative?
“What’s your favorite kind of Girl Scout cookie?”
In less than ten words, all the Proustian memories of previous cookie experiences are summoned up. In one simple question, the power in the transaction shifts, with the Scout going from supplicant to valued supplier.
The point here is that the right question can conjure up something in the buyer’s mind—an emotional memory, an experience, desire, a feeling of happiness, pride, or even concern or worry. The right question can shift the balance in your sales calls, getting your prospect to let down their guard, stop dwelling on price, and work with you, not against you, to meet their insurance needs.
10 Great Questions for Your Auto Insurance Leads
John Carroll over at InsuranceSplash had the idea to apply this to the insurance biz. I’ll go a bit further, pointing out what I think are 10 of the very best questions to ask your aged auto leads and why I think they’re so effective. You’ll like these questions — they’re going to help boost your sales!
What has you shopping for insurance?
This is a classic “why” question, but with a very casual slant. You won’t raise as many eyebrows, and you could get some valuable information. Car owners could change insurance all the time, but they don’t. The catalyst for this insurance query is the key to closing that sale.
How does that car handle in the snow?
People generally fall into two camps with the weather: they’ll tell you they avoid it, or they’ll feel proud about how well they do getting around. But the point isn’t so much the answer. Whatever, your prospect says out loud, they’ll privately conjure up the last time they skidded to a stop or saw a car in a ditch. With that picture in mind, their insurance will seem more important.
Have you ever been rear-ended?
This is another question that’s not about their answer. It’s an indirect reminder that traffic accidents can happen to them even when they’re not moving.
What’s the worst accident you’ve seen?
And another good question, or line of questions, early in a sales call can be to ask about the lead’s experience with car accidents. They could tell you about an accident they’ve had, experienced as a passenger, driven past, or just read about in the news. This is a very compact six-word question that can trump the work of a much longer script explaining the value of your insurance products.
Where do you work and what do you do there?
Often you’ll need to get a feel for who your lead is so that you can build a better relationship with them. People today spend a lot of time at work and often feel it’s a big part of who they are. These kinds of personal questions help set you up for a better sales relationship. However, listen closely and take notes — you may also find an opportunity for cross-sales.
Do you take Road A or Road B to get to work?
Talking about work may give you an opportunity to talk about your shared community. A local interest question like this reminds your lead that you’re local, are a part of the same community, and that you can relate to them.
How long have you been married?
If a wife (or husband) comes up, ask about them. You might learn this spouse needs to approve the insurance purchase. Or you might hear a clue that leads to an eventual cross-sale. Finally, this question is another great one to get your lead to think about who they will be protecting with this insurance purchase.
What are your kids’ names? How old?
Asking about kids is another great tactic. Build a great relationship with your lead by noting the kid’s names in your CRM and respectfully ask them in your later calls. Also, pay attention to the details — Is Junior starting high school? In another year or two, that may be an opportunity for a cross-sale.
What was the process like last time you switched agents (or carriers)?
This is a great question for you to move the sale forward. If it was “easy” last time, signal that it will be easy this time as well. If it was a hassle, you have an open opportunity to explain how it will be a piece of cake this time around.
What coverage do you want?
This is a great assumptive question, that looks ahead to your client’s new ideal coverage that they want to have — and not backward at the unsatisfactory coverage they have now and that they’d rather leave behind. This question also has the advantage of being very open. The lead can answer it however they want, and you can work to get them exactly what they want.
Sales scripts are great, of course. But sometimes, that perfect question just does the work of a longer pitch more efficiently. Why make sales calls harder than they have to be? These questions won’t sell Girl Scout cookies, but they will sell auto insurance.
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