Life insurance agents can encounter a wide variety of leads, but no matter who the prospect is, the goal is to help the customer and make the sale.
Over the length of a sales conversation, the agent may have to ask questions, answer objections, be persuasive, and stand out from other agents. In these situations, agents learn that there’s more than one way to close a sale.
Here are 10 tried-and-true sales techniques for closing more life insurance leads.
1. Be a Consultative Salesman
There’s a lot of data to suggest that catering your pitch to the prospect’s needs is a very effective sales technique. Playing this consultant role means fewer elevator pitches and stump speeches and more pointed questions and active listening.
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You want to find out as much as you can from your prospect about their personal details and their insurance needs. How many children do they have? What made her fill out an informational form about life insurance? Why does he think now is a good time to shop for a whole life policy?
With your knowledge of your products you can then shape your sales pitch to address the prospect’s stated needs and solve their unique coverage problems with a tailored product just for them.
2. Create Interest with Stories
Storytelling can be an amazingly powerful tool in sales. For some prospects, you’ll need to paint a vivid picture of a situation to create interest in your sales pitch. This can take many forms.
Create a story about how his family could be left in a difficult financial position if he died today without insurance. Or create a positive story about how a particular product worked for a family just as it was intended after the primary earner died.
Stories are powerful because people can visualize themselves in these situations. They will feel real emotions about the uncertainty or security their family could experience in different scenarios.
Emotions can be a powerful motivator for a prospect to take action. Combined with practical considerations and factual benefits of a product, you could significantly improve your sales if you master the art of storytelling.
3. Reverse an Objection
Almost all sales conversations will arrive at a point where the prospect voices objections. With objection reversal, your job is to respond naturally and confidently to the prospect’s objections with answers that can change his negative viewpoint to a more positive one.
The challenge for the agent is to respond quickly and easily to these sales objections, without being pushy. This is something you’ll have to practice.
You have to know your products and their benefits inside-out and you may even need to know about the shortcomings of a competitor or their bargain-priced products.
When you do use this technique, take care not to dismiss the prospect’s concerns. Acknowledge his concerns and then address them constructively with new information.
4. Make Direct Requests
Oftentimes, there’s nothing wrong with being completely upfront with a prospect. Great salespeople learn to spot the signs that the prospect is ready to buy. Then it’s time to stop the sales pitch and just ask for the sale.
The agent can also ask for the sale by adding a prompt to another sales technique. You can ask for the sale after questioning the client on her personal situation and her insurance needs in a consultative situation.
You could paint a picture of the prospect’s family having just the right amount of financial protection in a fictional situation and follow that up with an ask here, too. You can even answer an objection with a product’s benefits and close with a sales ask. It won’t work every time, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.
5. Show Appreciation
A small token of appreciation can go a long way with your prospects and clients. With every email, call, and visit, be sure to thank your prospect for their time. It’s a sign of respect for your professional relationship with them and acknowledgment that their time is valuable.
Physical thank you cards and follow-up calls are very effective as well. A short message in a handwritten card doesn’t take too much time to write, but it can make a strong impression on a client or prospect. In such a fast-paced world, handwritten notes demonstrate a lot of care for a relationship.
Clients and prospects will definitely remember the agent who sent a card and thanked them for their time more warmly than the one who did not.
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6. Making a Lasting Impression
You can make a strong impression and help your sales in a number of ways. Your passion will certainly make a good impression. So will showing appreciation with cards and thank yous. You can also make an impression by doing something memorable or unexpected.
If you have product literature, a helpful FAQ brochure for clients about your services, or a website with tips and resources for prospects and clients, your clients are sure to find you memorable and helpful.
Some agents will even do something a bit out of the ordinary. If you make illustrative visuals during your presentation, you’re sure to be remembered positively.
This can come in handy for you when multiple agents are pursuing that same prospect. Standing out above the crowd gives you a better shot of being the agent to close the sale.
7. Be Patient Yet Persistent
Every insurance sales agent wants to close the deal on the first phone call. And while that may happen now and again, it’s not the “be-all-end-all.” The most successful life insurance agents are patient yet persistent.
It’s okay to ask for the sale, but don’t be one of those agents who ram it down their leads’ throats. It takes a bit of finesse and time to succeed. There’s nothing wrong with a longer sales cycle, even if it’s not ideal.
As for remaining persistent, there’s a fine line that you never want to cross. The second you do, the prospect will tune you out. And when that happens, it’s difficult to get back in their good graces.
8. Be a Good Listener
As noted above in the “Consultative Salesman” section, active listening can be the difference between closing a deal and chasing a lead away.
Your active listening skill set should include the following:
- Paying attention at all times.
- Withholding judgment to give the prospect time to talk.
- Reflecting on what you hear.
- Clarifying any statements that you don’t fully understand.
- Summarizing what you heard.
- Sharing your thoughts on the information provided.
An agent who talks, talks, and talks some more is one who will scare away prospects. An agent who both talks and listens is one who engages prospects in a real-life, person-to-person conversation. This approach makes the lead feel more comfortable with you.
9. Stick to What You Know Works
Over time, you begin to understand what works for your target audience. You also understand what doesn’t work.
Yes, you should be creative in your approach — especially when it comes to sales closing techniques — but you shouldn’t abandon what you know works for you.
For example, if you have a specific sales script that has generated solid results, don’t throw it out the window and start from scratch. Instead, make minor changes with a focus on what you can do to close more leads.
10. Be Realistic
Even if you have a sound plan and a strategy that has worked, you must be realistic with yourself. Yes, optimism is a good thing, but don’t let it lead you toward unrealistic goals.
There will be times when a prospect hangs up on you. There will be times when you think you have a sale, just for a lead to tell you that they went another direction. It’s frustrating but it’s part of working as a life insurance agent.
Closing more leads takes patience, persistence, creativity, and a little bit of luck. And all the while, you need to remain realistic.
Each sales situation will be different.
Just like each customer will need a different insurance solution tailored to them, tailor your sales approach to each customer interaction. This will often mean using different means of persuasion and different sales techniques for each step in the sales conversation.
Agents who can master shifting gears between these different closing sales techniques are going to be the most successful.
If you need leads to call on, you’re in the right place.
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From there, you have what you need to put these closing sales techniques into action.