Everyone wants to be successful when they start a new venture. Whether you’re fresh out of school or making a mid-career shift, you want your new insurance business to be the start of something great. And it can be. It may not be easy at first—this is a complicated product to sell. But with the right outlook and hard work you can build a rewarding and profitable business. Here are 10 sales tips for when you’re just getting started.
You are a sales professional.
This is a sales job and you’ll have to embrace all that comes with that. No, your job isn’t to sell them something they don’t need. But you do need to be able to make the sale when the product is right for the customer. You need to be able to convince a particular prospect why he needs a particular insurance product—even when he thinks he doesn’t. You may need to take on the role of educating your prospect, guiding him to make the best decision for his family. To become a great salesperson takes practice and study. Observe more experienced, successful salespeople. Figure out what they’re doing that you can incorporate into your own sales approach.
Mirror your prospect’s behavior and interests.
Make people feel comfortable. If you are meeting a yoga instructor who wants you sit cross-legged on the floor with her, sit on the floor. If you’re meeting an executive in his office, look sharp and be able to ask at least one intelligible question about his corner of an industry. Try to use the language your prospects are using. Older professional types will prefer proper language, younger people will have a more relaxed way of expressing themselves. The goal is to make your prospect feel understood and develop a connection.
Diversify your leads.
Acquiring new clients is one of the hardest parts of starting a new insurance business. Diversify your leads to give yourself a better opportunity for success. Try networking, asking for referrals, advertising, and purchasing exclusive, shared, or aged leads. Later, you can narrow your focus to the lead sources where you have the most success.
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Ask for referrals.
For established agents, referrals are incredibly important. As many as two out of three new sales can come from referrals. Someone has already vouched for you to these qualified leads. You’re halfway to the sale with the trust that’s earned you. You can get started with referrals early on, you don’t have to wait until you’re more experienced. As soon as you’ve closed a few sales and started servicing accounts, ask your customers for referrals.
Do more listening than talking.
You may be tempted to make sure your prospect knows you know what you’re talking about. It’s natural to want assurance you’re doing this right, especially when you don’t have thousands of happy clients behind you. But you’re actually not helping. Your words may all blur together for the prospect. They may think of a question, then forget it. They may feel disengaged or ignored. Your prospect will like you a great deal more if you ask the questions and let them do the talking.
Be prepared to hustle.
This can be a hard business. Some things are just naturally difficult and you have to be up to the challenge. You have to know your products backwards and forwards, which plans to suggest based on any number of things a prospect tells you about their life. You have to do the boring tasks—track your progress, file paperwork, cold call, etc.—as well as the exciting tasks. Be prepared to hustle to make your new insurance business sustainable as well as profitable.
Don’t let yourself get tunnel vision.
You have to take a step back sometimes. If something consistently isn’t producing the results you need, figure out what’s wrong and fix it. Is everyone hanging up on you immediately? Research how you could make your script better. Scrap everything you’ve written and start over if you have to. Are you contacting lots of friendly people who don’t actually need any insurance? Switch your lead source up with a new pool of leads.
Don’t focus on price alone.
True, all you your customers want a low price, but the cheapest option won’t be enough for most people. Ask your prospect if they always buy the cheapest option: the cheapest razor, the cheapest car, the cheapest hotel room. I bet they don’t. If they’re fixating on price, that’s a sign you need to turn the conversation to value and explain the perfect fit of the product to their unique needs.
Ask for the sale then shut up.
You can only do so much to convince someone you have the insurance they need. At some point, you have to ask for the sale. Ask for the sale and then don’t say anything else. There may be silence for a bit. They can say yes, no, or maybe. Yes is great. You got the sale! Maybe means they’re interested, but you’ve got some more selling to do. You may think no is the end of the conversation, but it’s not. Negotiation begins when someone says no. You got them as far as listening to a whole sales pitch, find out where you lost them. There are also different kinds of no: no to the product you’re suggesting, no to buying it right now, and an absolute no to the whole offer now or in the future. You won’t know where to go from here without asking.
You’re responsible for your own success or failure.
Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. Your success is entirely up to you. There are markets and recessions and the people you have to work with, things outside of your control, which you can’t change. Don’t blame these forces if things aren’t going well. You are still in control of you. You can choose to try different sales approaches, focus on a different aspect of your business, or change your behavior to overcome an obstacle. The fact that it’s all up to you can seem intimidating, but it can also be empowering. Realize the opportunity you have before you and make the most of it.