The Insurance Sales Techniques Debate - Script or Freestyle
Insurance sales techniques have become more complex as the insurance planning strategies (estate and tax planning) change. And, as the years pass and the customer becomes more canny and knowledgeable ones ability to adapt their insurance selling techniques and strategies is paramount to ones success.
But when it comes to simple insurance products and simple solutions, the best insurance sales techniques are, well SIMPLE.
Most agents would agree that half the battle is won if they get a prospect in front of them (top agents would say 80% of their work is done).
When it comes to insurance sales techniques it really depends on what it is you are selling, and to whom...
I remember being in an 'advanced' insurance sales training class with top agents in the field. The instructor was an old veteran disability agent and he was an outstanding salesman and teacher. His insurance sales techniques were at the top of the game.
We were going over objection handling and the top agent in the room asked, "What do you do when the prospect says the just want a cheap, basic disability product?" (I forget the exact product this agent was referring to, but it was the bottom of the barrel product and it didn't cover much and was very inexpensive).
Do you know what the answer is to that question? Read the rest of this article to find out*.
There was a time when an insurance salesperson representing health, property and casualty or auto insurance could rely on these insurance sales techniques: A script or canned presentation...and have them work well for them.
Scripts are not all bad as an insurance sales techniques because they are predefined phrases and lead in's that allow an agent to move the prospect from introduction and warm-up, to the presentation of the product and finally move to a close in a structured way.
This is a superb insurance selling strategy for a new salesperson without a feel for the insurance product and allows them to move to a sale logically without stalling or getting lost. However, most prospects have developed resistance to the older methods and do not fool you, most can recognize a script instantly and turn off to it. Who wants a story delivered word for word about the benefits of property and casualty insurance that they have heard 100s of times before?
It is never enough to say, "That insurance sales technique doesn't work" unless you also add what does work. It might not work for every agent or even ever prospect but you will usually find with practice that you can keep the loose "structure" of a script and not follow it except in moving to stages.
Time Wasting Insurance Sales Techniques
Specifically, you are spending a lot of time in most insurance sales scripts in telling a prospect all about your company, (in the case of health insurance and auto insurance especially) about how long they have been around etc. etc. That might be interesting to you and the company you represent, but more interesting to the customer is going to be how what you offer is of benefit to them.
In cases where you do not have a questionnaire or application already filled in, the best way to find out is to allow or encourage the customer to speak about his needs and interests. Deviate as much as their information indicates you should. The more they speak the more you can tailor your product and your presentation to them. Allow them to speak more than you do concerning their needs then adjust as appropriate, it works.
The stages of an Insurance Sale Can Deviate
Though most scripts have a little leeway where you pause and ask, "Open ended" questions by following the script in many cases you will miss the real opportunity to find the motivator for that particular client. Many of the older insurance sales techniques have you end a presentation with such lines as "would you prefer the $1000 deductible health insurance policy or the $1500 yearly deductible policy?
Once you make that final closing offer you are pretty much at a dead end in insurance sales techniques, you have offered, you can counteroffer, you can offer rebuttals but you may have already missed that opportunity by not listening.
However if you are listening to the prospect more than you are speaking you may have made that offer earlier in the presentation when the client said "If I had a $1000.00 deductible for $200.00 a year less, I would be happy". The script does not always acknowledge the need for moving to another stage of the insurance sale before or after their predefined point and often they do not permit near enough time for discovery and disclosure by the prospect.
Insurance Sales Techniques - The Script is a Convenience
Use some sense when deciding how closely to use scripted sales as a valid insurance sales technique. Scripts can provide a loose framework to start from but every single time you sell an insurance policy of any sort; you should modify that script to get the basis of the customer's real need or desires as rapidly as possible. They probably have little interest in how your company has grown from a small basis over the last 100 years (some might) into a major risk protection influence. Instead by permitting them to speak more about themselves you more rapidly ascertain their drives and motivators without reaching the point where they "turn off" or become anxious to get on to other activities.
The most successful insurance sales techniques used by top agents are usually a very loose "script" and the responses, questions and rebuttals they offer a prospect are usually tailored to the information the prospect has offered them already. The customer is the motivator and the more they speak and tell you of their lives and needs (this applies as well to health, auto, and pace insurance sales) the more sure you can be of providing responses and information that leads them to decide they need your insurance.
There was a time when pressure was the focus of insurance sales techniques, but with the ability of the customer to cancel the insurance policy once the sales pressure abates, excessive sales pressure is a nonproductive method. It is better you allow them to decide they want by deviating from the "scripting" and basing your presentation upon what they are telling you about themselves.
*ANSWER: The answer to the question above...
The instructor said, "OK!". You just say "OK", and then you fill out the application, and get the signature and a check.
I remember this very well because myself on the top agent were friends and he just looked at me and said, "duh". And felt silly. But we all were there and did not know the answer to this because we were so busy trying to figure out how to get them into the top disability product. But the simple 'secret' is to...
Just Get Them As A Client!...
And then you are home free because you can proceed to upsell, and get referrals.
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