Knowing your stuff when it comes to selling insurance will only get you so far. Even successful marketing can only help get more people in the door—closing the deal isn’t always guaranteed.
Understanding what makes a sale go through and how to take a customer from prospect to client is essential for staying in business. Whether you’re working for yourself or as part of a larger company, getting your prospects to sign an insurance policy contract is the ultimate goal.
So where do you start when it comes to turning your sales skills into signed-on-the-dotted-line deals? We’re walking you through a few techniques that you need in your sales arsenal so that you're ready to deploy them in your next prospective client meeting.
Ask frequent questions
For the ordinary person, insurance is probably quite confusing. Your prospects are likely walking into your office armed with a handful of questions to ask you. But that doesn’t mean you should become an insurance encyclopedia, spitting out facts left and right.
While of course, it’s vital that you address any concerns they have, your potential clients will quickly become overwhelmed and bored if you’re presenting them with a lecture’s worth of material.
Jump in at various points of the conversation to ask your customer questions, like why they’re interested in a particular policy or type of insurance or if there’s a budget they have in mind for a monthly premium amount.
Once you know a little more about them, you can tailor your recommendations to fit their unique needs and wants. This leaves no room for the dreaded choice paralysis that people can often face when too many options are on the table.
For the customer, this approach is reassuring and helps them to feel that they’re getting a custom policy, rather than being sold an out-of-the-box solution that might not actually work for them. For you, you’ll start to lay the foundation of a long-term relationship with your new customer.
Focus on the product story and value
When you boil it down to the basics, all selling is storytelling and problem-solving. No one ultimately cares about what the product is. They care about how it helps them.
That’s why the way that you deliver information is just as important as what you’re actually talking about. There’s even scientific research that suggests storytelling itself increases oxytocin (known as the "happy hormone") and reduces stress. And if there’s anything that’s going to help you close a sale, it’s satisfied and stress-free clients.
It might not be fun to admit it, but every other insurance agent who sells the same kind of policies as you has a similar, if not better, product on offer. Your job is to tell the product’s story better than they can.
Always go into a meeting with a prospective client prepared with common pain points that your policies address. But this is also where the questions you’ve been asking throughout the conversation can help too.
Listen carefully to pick up on any specific examples the customer gives you that you can turn into a working scenario. Use the exact language that they did to describe their problem and build a narrative around how a particular policy can resolve that issue.
By focusing on the product’s story and how it fits into your customer’s life, you’ll strengthen your relationship with them and build trust. They’ll feel more confident that you understand their perspective and the challenges they’re facing, so they'll be more willing to move ahead with you rather than start over with a different agent.
You’re also reinforcing the value of the product so that, when you need to discuss prices later on, the customer is already 90% of the way to a positive decision.
Stay away from urgent language
It’s likely that your prospect is looking around at other insurance agencies to find the best policy and price. Put yourself in their shoes—would you want to move forward with the person that made you feel uncomfortably pressured into moving ahead?
Shelve the aggressive sales tactics and position yourself as an insurance consultant. Yes, your job is to sell them a policy. In the lead-up to that, though, you’re there to answer any questions they might have and provide them with the knowledge you’ve developed after years in the industry.
No one likes to be forced into making decisions, especially over something that costs money. While it can be tempting to throw out words like “now,” “last chance,” and “best offer” to nudge your prospect into moving forward, it can leave a customer feeling unsure by the end of the conversation. Instead, you want them to leave with more knowledge and confidence than when they came in.
The caveat here is if there’s a genuine special offer or limited-time price that your client should know about. In those situations, you definitely want to bring that to their attention. But be mindful of how you present this and leave the decision-making in their hands.
Check all written communication
No matter what industry you work in, most entrepreneurs immediately think of verbal communication when it comes to closing sales. It’s easy to forget that every interaction with your prospective clients is a form of communication, whether that’s in-person, on the phone, or by email.
While there are plenty of techniques that you can use (and a few to avoid) when having face-to-face conversations with clients, you want to make sure that your written communication is just as convincing.
Proofread every email before it goes out as well as any social media posts before hitting publish. Awkward typos look unprofessional, while poorly phrased sentences could sound more aggressive or pushy than you’d like.
You should also remember that, once something is in writing, it’s almost impossible to take back. If you’ve outlined a deadline for getting information to your client, make sure you actually do so.
Wherever you can, underpromise and over deliver by giving yourself some extra time in the written deadline and delivering the details ahead of schedule. Your client may not notice something this small, but if they do, it’s a great way to reinforce your professionalism.
Follow up with your prospects
You’ve had a great meeting with a potential client, they’ve walked out the door with a smile on their face and said, “I’ll be in touch soon.” It’s good to give customers the time and space they need to process what’s undoubtedly a significant amount of information. But you also don’t want them to forget about you or move on to another agent.
Insurance sales don’t usually close the first time you meet with a client, so mastering the art of the follow-up is essential for building your business. And it’s not simply a once-and-done move. You may have to follow up a handful of times and even meet with the prospect again before they’re ready to purchase an insurance policy.
If you’re not sure how much to communicate with customers, go back to your sales basics: Be persistent, but not pushy. Striking the balance can be tricky and it’s a skill that comes with practice.
Small tokens of appreciation always go down well, especially after a call or meeting. Send a quick note to thank the client for their time and let them know that you’re there if they have any additional questions. Ask if there’s a good time for you to check back in to see if they’re ready to move ahead. Showing genuine consideration in your follow-up messages, while maintaining a respectful distance, can go a long way to closing a deal.
Turn your people skills into sales
No two sales situations will be the same, even if you’re offering customers matching insurance policies. Every prospect will bring their own history, concerns, and questions, which means you need to adapt your approach to fit the person sitting in front of you.
Just like with any other skill, learning what works best for you will take some time. But each conversation and interaction with a prospect is an opportunity to practice your new sales techniques and work toward closing more deals for your insurance business.