Every sales professional has a selling process. The gap between success and failure is this simple question: Who should I talk to about insurance?
Obviously, you could open a phone book and have unlimited prospects, but few seasoned professionals do this. Why? Because they have developed other systematic methods for identifying prospects: direct mail, seminars, referrals, personal contact and so on.
Finding good people to talk to is the name of the game. But once you have a good prospect, what do you say? Suppose you are ready to hold an opening interview. First, you want to make certain you actually have a good prospect.
You want to qualify your prospect before you expend untold emotion and physical energy. This is smart and it sets the top producers apart from the rest of the crowd. Why waste time on the wrong prospects?
The Sales Process
Once you have identified your prospect you need a sales process. I think of it as my “magic box.” The magic box helps me appreciate the value of my organization and my resources. It also gives me the courage to discern which prospects will be the most profitable and makes certain I don’t put the wrong prospects into my selling process.
Most top salespeople will tell you to pre-qualify prospects by doing research before you go to the opening interview. The more you can find out about the prospect, the more likely you are to have a good opening interview.
That’s what a filter does. It helps protect you from time wasted. It gives you an objective way to determine whether your prospect is qualified to become a client.
What is this filter? It is an objective criterion you use to determine whether your prospect fits your skill set and your business model.
Now you might say, “This is all about survival. If they walk and talk, I want to sell them.” While survival is a big part of success, there comes a time when you will have to choose between two actions–one having a higher probability than the other of being successful.
From my years of research working with top producers, I have discovered that most top agents successfully close 95% of the cases they work on. Why? Are they better salespeople? Are they more smooth, articulate, better motivators?
I suppose there will always be differences in skill levels, but I have found these high octane agents sell a higher percentage for one primary reason: They are good eliminators. They only work on cases they know they are going to sell. They eliminate the rest before they waste time on them.
I learned many years ago that once you do a fact-finder, you will sell virtually 100% of your cases. But this is only true if prospects are qualified. And to qualify them, you need two filters.
Why? Without two, you’ll waste valuable time and resources. If you let just any prospect into your system, you run the risk of bogging down the process. You have to be discerning.
It is imperative that you profile the kinds of customers you want to develop into long-term clients. You need a business and marketing plan that will get you to your destination. Remember, it is best to do everything “on purpose.”
As you experiment with your filters, you may discover it is hard to turn away a potential prospect. But as time goes by and you develop your “on purpose” thought process, it will be easier to determine who is and who is not a good prospect. The key is having effective criteria.
Bruce Etherington, a Million Dollar Round Table member based in Toronto, Canada, has a criterion I think we all could adopt. He asks himself and his referral sources the following four questions.
Who among the people you know:
o is affluent?
o has integrity and character?