Putting Sales Ideas To Work In Your Practice

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Sales ideas have been around since the Jurassic insurance age and are still considered by many to be road maps to success. Complete sales ideas, from the inherent concept to technical details, are valuable tools that provide understanding to both producers and their prospects.

Sales ideas come in many styles and colors, and range from a single piece of paper to a small booklet. Normally, the more concise the ideas presentation, the better it will be received. Think of it as “The One-Minute Concept.” After all, clients need to grasp the entire concept quickly and entirely in a minute or less!

A good sales idea must be presented in a concise manner so clients can follow the various steps as if they were reading a road map. The presentation should have four segments, which clearly define:

1. The problem;

2. A possible solution;

3. How the solution works; and,

4. The results that may be achieved.

Because step three, “How the solution works,” can be an intellectual detour, it should be designed with an image accompanied by a brief description. This will help ensure that your prospect understands the mechanics of the process, and it will encourage him to seek more details via questions.

Enhance the sales process. Sales ideas are unequaled at enhancing the sales process, which should be an educational process culminating in a request for the business. The sales idea is key to this educational process, and by learning the basics of the concept as laid out in the accompanying material, your confidence in presenting it will increase. Whether you are a veteran or a novice producer, thorough knowledge derived from rehearsal will help you encourage and control extended discussions with clients. Your rate of presentation success may increase.

Further, utilizing the materials as part of a sales track during client discussions can help you determine how well the presentation flows, whether there are any detours and how to get clients back on the right road.

Relationship Builders. In this business, you can never have enough viable relationships. Consequently, you are always trying to open new doors–making friends of strangers. Clients depend on you to deliver easily understood, workable solutions to their problems. Sales idea materials can help generate discussion or serve as an effective leave-behind item to garner the interest of clients and prospects. As clients benefit from your help, they will become more dependent on your knowledge and look forward to your next visit. Your success in helping clients through new sales concepts will lead to new referrals.

Distribution Of Printed Material. Printed material that is created with clarity can be highly effective as a leave-behind piece after a presentation. Or, the material can be mass mailed with a cover letter to many clients and potential customers. Since prospects are more likely to remember a visual presentation of a sales concept rather than just a letter detailing it, agents are presented with the opportunity for a follow-up phone call to schedule appointments.

A brochure may also be a valuable handout when sponsoring seminars. If the topic of your seminar is Wealth Transfer, you could use brochures with several ideas ranging from Annuity Rescue and Credit Shelter Trusts to Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts. Your brochures can facilitate clients understanding of these concepts.

Electronic Distribution Of Material. Todays technology–fax and e-mail–makes distribution of a new sales concept very efficient. However, when prospecting, using this medium may not be as effective as sending printed material. Prospects in the world of e-mail can easily hit the delete key. A fax may be misplaced by a disinterested third party or simply discarded by mistake.

A further issue is the importance of color. The impact of dramatic graphics is lost on black and white faxes. An e-mail attachment can usually be viewed in color, but is often downloaded and printed in only black and white. This again reduces the impact of the material.

On the plus side, the new technology encourages efficient follow up from a recent meeting or phone call to further reinforce the suggested solutions.

Utilize sales ideas to grow your business. Work with a carrier, and find models that work for you and your prospects. Stick with what works best for you, but be willing to refine the process and the tools as you go forward–your carriers will help. Create a library from simple to complex variations of different sales concepts. Your knowledge and confidence will increase dramatically as you use them. And before you know it, youll see the results in increased sales.

Doug Bowden, CLU, ChFC, is an advanced marketing officer in the advanced

case design group at Sun Life Financials U.S. operations in Wellesley Hills, Mass. He can be reached at douglas.bowden@sunlife.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 6, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.