- Shawn Wilmoth
- Mar 27, 2014
Every sane human being who has ever attempted to make a living as a salesperson has literally cringed at the thought of making cold calls—whether on the phone or in person, and insurance agents who need to make sales calls to promote their businesses are no exception. Picking up a telephone to dial a number and have a conversation with someone you’ve never seen is not only intimidating, it can be downright overwhelming. Showing up at their home or office can be even worse. Sometimes the blow is softened a bit with an introduction from someone the potential client knows; this is called a “warm call,” and it can be intimidating as well.
Making sales calls really is a great way to get the word out about your new insurance agency’s products and services, though, and one of the least expensive methods of advertising available to you as an insurance agent. There are three major benefits to making cold calls to promote your insurance agency:
1. You let the people in your community know you exist.
2. You begin building a network.
3. You make actual sales and thus build your business.
So, suck it up, Buttercup. It’s time to make some sales calls for your new insurance agency. Wait. Don’t flip out just yet—we would never leave a new insurance agent alone to make sales calls without some solid advice. Here are some great step-by-step tips to make sure that the sales calls for your new insurance agency are a success, and we promise they will make the task at hand at least a little easier to swallow.
1. Embrace your role as an insurance salesperson.
Please notice that I am calling you a “salesperson,” by the way. The term “agent” is nice, but your job is to sell. You need to come to terms with that if you haven’t yet. If the term “salesperson” scares you to death, you aren’t alone; the term definitely has a connotation that makes folks worry. Practice telling friends and family that you are in sales. Practice telling acquaintances that you are in sales. Practice telling complete strangers that you are in sales. After all, you need to begin building your networking circle if you are to have any chance of making ends meet.
2. Set a goal.
If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you are never going to hit it. Make goals for your insurance agency’s sales calls from the beginning. Start with committing to the number of sales calls you will make each working day. Determine that you will ask for a certain number of referrals from each of your current clients. Make a deal with yourself that you will close a certain number of deals each month from your sales call list. You should also look for new ways to feed your pipeline and add to your potential client list. This is an ongoing process and absolutely essential your success as an insurance agent.
It goes without saying that you should know your products and services inside out. You need to have the answers to every question that a potential client could have during a sales call, and you need to come across as an expert in your field. Have all the collateral materials you might need available to hand to the client (or email if the sales call is taking place over the phone), and be comfortable making suggestions based on the information the potential client offers.
4. Develop a professional greeting
There is nothing worse than stumbling over a greeting with a potential client. You should be comfortable, conversational, and engaging. If you’re meeting a potential insurance agency client in person the first time, offer up handshake and a natural compliment, “So good to meet you Mr. Myers, everyone in the neighborhood talks about how wonderful your restaurant is,” opens the door to a warm and friendly conversation.
5. Introduce yourself and your agency
Again, you need to be conversational and friendly, but the key to introducing yourself really is to be concise. Tell the potential client who you are and what you’re selling, “I’m Greg Smith and I specialize in insurance for trucking agencies,” and then be quiet! Give the person you are calling on the opportunity to tell you more about himself or herself, as well as what they need from you. You’ll be surprised how much information you can get by keeping it simple and letting your potential client do the talking.
6. Ask questions
Once the client seems to have told you about himself or herself and you’ve waited to see whether or not he or she will identify any immediate needs, ask smart questions about the potential client’s business, employees, lifestyle, hobbies, and other any other factors that might relate to the insurance products and services you sell.
Listen intently to the answers to your sales call questions. This serves two purposes. (A) It makes the potential client feel as though you genuinely care about his or her wellbeing. (B) It helps you identify what the best insurance products and services for the potential client really are so that you can best meet his or her needs.
Tell your potential clients what they need to know about the insurance products and services you are offering. Whenever appropriate, make comparisons to similar products or services on the market, and offer possible scenarios to help your potential client see the value in what you are selling.
9. Involve the callee
One of the most important things you can do as you make sales calls for your new insurance agency is to involve the person whom you are calling on in the conversation. Ask for the potential client’s opinion as to which of the services you have might be a better fit for his or her lifestyle or business needs. This creates a notion of value and gives your potential client power to make an ultimate decision, making him the most important person in the discussion.
10. Close the sale.
It’s as easy as saying, “It looks like Package A would suit your needs better than anything else I offer, and the price is really phenomenal considering the value you get here. Let me go ahead and print a binder for you,” or, “Why don’t I go ahead and call your current agent for the information I need to get this policy switched over before you’re billed at the end of the month?” This is the most important step of any sales call, and the one that’s non-negotiable. Closing the sale keeps you in business. Period.
11. Thank the person on the other end of the line.
If you have completed a sale successfully for your insurance agency, or even if you haven’t, saying thank you is not optional. If a potential or new client has given you his or her time, you owe some gratitude. Remember that no matter how much this person just purchased from you—be it your highest priced package or nothing at all—there is always a potential for future sales and referrals. Be polite. Be genuine. Say thanks.
12. Follow up.
Keep in touch after the sales call for your new insurance agency is over. Check in regularly to make sure your clients are satisfied and find out if the products or services they purchased from you are still the best options for them. Be willing to make changes in their policies and to answer questions during these follow-up calls. You will begin to build a relationship that inspires both loyalty and referrals when you do.
You can stop cringing at the idea of making sales calls for your new insurance agency now—you have all the knowledge you need to make this little adventure a big success. Go ahead, pick up a telephone, stop by a local business, or ask that existing client for a great referral. You’re sales-call ready and your new insurance agency will be all the better for it.