How many times have you walked into a store just wanting to look at, maybe buy, something, and then walked out with nothing after barely looking because you felt the stakes were too high?
Perhaps you were turned off because you couldn’t look around without a salesperson trying to give you their spiel? They “pushed” you right out the door, didn’t they?
But, I’m a salesperson, an insurance agent, but a salesperson, you might say. I know what they were trying to do.
Let’s be honest… it doesn’t take a salesperson to know what other salespeople are trying to do. Your clients aren’t salespeople, and they know that, under your official title as an insurance agent, that’s what you are. You want them to spend money, and you want them to spend it with you because that earns you money. Naturally, you’re going to meet some resistance. That doesn’t mean you’re set up to fail, though. If you take a more relaxed approach to insurance sales, we think you’ll see more success. Here’s why.
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Your Focus Shouldn’t Be on Selling
The pushy approach to sales is an old one — an outdated one, if you ask us. You know what it tells people? That you only want the sale. In other words, you’re only in this conversation for yourself. And, that makes whatever you’re trying to sell a harder sell, not because it actually is, but because of the way you’re going about it.
What’s in it for your client? In exchange for their money, they’re getting insurance coverage, and therefore, financial protection. But, do they think they need it? If they do, great! If they don’t, there’s where your focus should lie first — helping your prospect to realize they have a problem (lack of coverage). Once they’ve realized they have a problem, it’s time to switch to offering a solution for it (the insurance you’re trying to sell). Basically, if you want to sell more insurance, we recommend focusing on solving your clients’ problems, not your selling your products.
Once they’ve realized they have a problem, it’s time to switch to offering a solution for it.
Pressuring Yourself and Your Client Won’t Do Any Good
Let’s go back to our example from earlier: that time when you felt pressured to buy something — a piece of furniture, an appliance, or a nice dress or tux, perhaps. How did that make you feel inside? Nervous? Tense? Did you actually make the purchase and happily keep whatever the item or service was? Would you buy from that person again? Probably not.
As an insurance agent, you not only want to sell a policy, but also retain clients in your book of business, and hopefully, sell them more policies. You don’t want any rapid disenrollments. So, your goal should be to help your clients feel ready and comfortable with making a buying decision, on their own terms. And to do that, you need to stop putting pressure on yourself to get the sale.
Remember: Customers will make a purchase when they feel it’s the right time for them to buy.
If you’re pressuring yourself to get the sale, you could redirect that pressure on to your clients to buy whatever you’re selling. That won’t help you put them in the right mindset to buy or build a relationship with them. When you take the pressure of getting the sale off of yourself, it should help you realize you have the time to dedicate to your clients, to focus on solving their problems. Remember: Customers will make a purchase when they feel it’s the right time for them to buy.
It’s Critical You Convey Your Expertise
As we’ve discussed, gone are the days where pushy, salesy salespeople thrive. Today, someone is more successful in sales if they educate their clients. This is doubly true for people selling insurance.
People place a lot of value in being informed and grow to respect the source they learn the information they seek from. Think about where you go for news or information on a certain topic. You likely rely on the same newspaper(s), TV channel(s), or internet site(s) each time you want more of that same kind of information. It’s important you secure your role as your clients’ source for insurance information for several reasons, including:
- Your clients could buy a plan through any other agent or even directly through the carrier. You need to prove there’s value in buying it from you.
- In order to keep receiving renewals and maximize your profits, you want to retain your clients. If you clients don’t respect you, why should they stick with you?
- Respect and trust go hand in hand, and trust builds client loyalty. Client loyalty means a better client retention rate, and hopefully, more sales!
There are a lot of other agents out there selling insurance, including many who are using sales approaches that just rub people the wrong way. You have a chance to stand out by simply showing prospects you know what you’re talking about and offering the right solutions to their insurance woes.
Staying Flexible Is Better for Your Health and Sales
When is being rigid ever a good thing? Maybe if you’re planking or trying to avoid a bee sting, but the cases are limited. Those already in sales should know that appointments and pitches don’t always go as planned. You need to be able to adapt. You may have a script to stick to and your own agenda to accomplish but your clients have their own goals and desires they want to become a reality. They’ll have different schedules, health needs, budgets, and preferences. Appointments will be canceled on short notice. That client who you spent all that time with will change their mind and require even more of your time when you thought you were close to a sale. You’ll hit traffic and run late the rest of the day.
You may have a script to stick to and your own agenda to accomplish but your clients have their own goals and desires.
You can’t turn back time or change what’s happened, but you can choose not to let simple things stress you out more than what you already are. Stress is bad for our health and for business, and we all deal with enough of it. Plus, sometimes we let it seep out and affect others through our irritability and pessimism. You don’t want it to negatively affect your potential clients or your sales. Going with the flow during appointments, on the way to appointments, and in the office is just better for your health, happiness, and success.
Letting Your Client Lead Helps the Both of You
Sales scripts have their time and place, but they shouldn’t be the end all be all. They’re a great tool for helping you practice your sales pitch, and we recommend that’s all you really use them for. Whenever you’re talking with a client, you don’t want to sound robotic or awkward. You want to sound professional, like you know your stuff. And, that’s on top of focusing on solving your clients’ problems and making sure you aren’t pushing or pressuring them into buying from you. So, how can you easily accomplish all of this? Just let your clients lead the conversations and appointments.
In fact, your client should be doing a lot of the talking… you should be listening.
Your client likely has questions they want answered before they make a decision. Allow them to take you off on tangents and be willing to follow their lead. Answer their questions. It will work to show off your expertise and earn their trust. Selling doesn’t equate to you non-stop talking. In fact, your client should be doing a lot of the talking… you should be listening. Not only can this help to save your voice, but also your image and possibly the sale. You’ll be less likely to be seen as being salesy, and you’ll get to know your clients better, leading to a better product recommendation from you. Keep in mind: You want to build a relationship with your clients, and relationships are two-way streets.
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Let’s return to the example from the beginning of this article one more time. You know how it feels to be pressured into, and out of, a sale. When you want to get one, step into your client’s shoes. Don’t be one of those salespeople that circles, waiting for a sales opportunity, then pounces on it, scaring their “prey” away. Take a relaxed approach — let a prospect wander, ask questions, and come to their own conclusions. In other words, be that salesperson who ultimately gets the sale and more business for years to come.