How an agent sells an insurance policy differs from how sales operate in just about all other categories. Think about other products and services — a car, a tech toy, a sandwich, a haircut — nearly every product or service can be seen, held, or touched.
Not so with insurance. Here, you are selling peace of mind — an abstract idea, a promise — in a way, you’re selling yourself.
Whether working with real-time leads or aged leads, you have to build a connection with your prospect, get to the bottom of their insurance problem, and provide a winning solution.
The following sales tips won’t necessarily help you sell a sandwich, but they will help you sell insurance policy coverage to customers.
1. Embrace the Consultative Sales Approach
Are you a consultative salesman? If you’re selling insurance, I’d highly recommend this approach and not one of the more outdated approaches. As the name implies, consultative sales is about playing the role of a consultant—an expert ready to give advice. With this approach, elevator pitches and stump speeches take a back seat, so that you can use your time with your prospect to ask pointed questions and listen actively to the responses.
Again and again, studies show this is a winning approach with insurance prospects. Because of the nature of insurance, customers need to feel a rapport with their agent. You can accomplish this two ways. First, find out as much as you can about a prospect’s details and their insurance needs. Why did they request a quote now? What was best and worst about their last insurance purchase? Secondly, put your prospect at ease by mirroring their behavior and taking an interest in their interests and concerns.
2. Make a Lasting Impression with Storytelling
People are captivated and moved by a strong narrative. For insurance sales, storytelling can be a powerful tool for making a lasting impression prospects and growing your sales over the long term. That’s because people can visualize themselves in a situation described in a story and feel real emotions about the uncertainty or security their family could experience in different insurance scenarios. Such emotions can be a powerful motivator for a prospect to take action.
Your insurance storytelling can take many forms and works best tailored to the prospect, and the type of insurance in question. For life insurance, it’s often helpful to detail how a family of a prospect could be left in a difficult financial position if he were to die today without coverage. On the other hand, you could relate a positive story about how a particular product helped a client or his family in a time of need. Combine these stories with practical knowledge and product features and benefits, and you’ll have a winning sales approach.
3. Learn to Reverse an Objection
Even the easiest insurance sales conversation will eventually arrive at a point where the prospect voices objections. This is only natural of course, and a normal part of most any sales discussion. Still, the challenge for the agent is to respond quickly and easily to these sales objections, without dampening the mood or causing the lead to feeling pressured.
A great tactic is reversing those objections from a negative viewpoint and transforming them into a more positive viewpoint. For the best effect, you’ll need to know your products and their benefits inside-out, and you may even need to know about the shortfalls of a competitor or their bargain-priced products. You’ll also need to take care not to dismiss your prospect’s concerns out of hand. Acknowledge his concerns and then address them constructively with new information.
4. Learn to Read Your Prospects
It’s a really useful skill for insurance agents to learn how to read people. This comes more naturally to some than others, but it’s possible to improve even if it’s not second nature. This is a particularly useful tool when a prospect is showing signs they’re ready to buy.
When a prospect is ready to buy, it’s time to stop the sales pitch, the feature and benefits discussions, the consultation questions, and just ask for the sale. In these cases, there’s nothing wrong with being upfront with the prospect and making a direct request. The key is just knowing the right moment to make this pivot.
5. Make a Lasting Impression
A lasting impression will win you more appointments, more sales, and more referrals. But it’s not always about being over the top. Sometimes, it’s the little things that carry the most weight. As you are actively listening to your prospects, take notes of important personal details. Ask about the kids, or the dog, wish them a happy birthday. That you remember and care enough to ask will go a long ways.
Exceptional service can also leave a lasting impression. A great brochure, presentation, or newsletter can help educate prospects and clients about the insurance they need. Passion and personality, too, can be great for leaving your clients with a lasting positive impression, and they will remember you the next time they or someone they know needs insurance.
Flexibility and Finesse Win the Day
As you sell more insurance, you’ll find that each sales consultation presents a new challenge. Everyone is different, has unique insurance needs, and no two sales will be the same. This is the exciting part of sales for those who excel at it. Doing well means having a certain amount of flexibility and finesse. Agents who learn to shift gears between different means of persuasion and different sales techniques will have a greater chance of growth and success.
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