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Speaker Tells NAILBA: Create Trust And Rapport

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“It’s not about products and price. It’s about your ability to create trust and rapport,” said John Boe in a presentation here.

The “it,” in this case, is successful business relationships and sales.

Sales reps and business owners will not find success in approaching customers logically, said Boe, who, as a professional profiler, has expertise in body language and temperament styles.

Rather, “you do it emotionally,” he said.

“No trust or rapport equals no sale or referrals,” said the owner and principal of John Boe International, Monterey, Calif. He was speaking at a breakout session during the 25th annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, Fairfax, Va., held earlier this month.

To increase sales, reps should become more aware of their own temperaments and those of their customers, Boe contended.

Research shows there are 4 primary temperaments, or buying styles, he said. These are aggressive, expressive, passive, and analytical.

Often, a person’s physical features reveal these temperaments, he said. To illustrate, he repeatedly singled out people in the audience and then described what he believed to be their temperamental characteristics, based on physical attributes alone. None of those singled out objected to his analysis.

Boe insisted reps can learn to do similar assessments when they meet with prospects, and then adjust their presentations and closings accordingly.

Responsiveness to body language and temperament helps build trust and rapport, he maintained, explaining that people want to be treated based on who they are. For instance, “you don’t treat an extrovert the same way as an introvert,” he said.

Insurance company sales training programs don’t include training to read body language, said Boe, who was an agent himself for 13 years. “But you can secure a commission, or lose it, in a few minutes (depending on how this goes). It’s your choice.”

Introverts tend to get charged up by spending time alone, while extroverts get charged up when around a lot of people, he pointed out. “There is no need for you to pull the introvert out of a shell,” he advised. “Just realize how they are.”

So, if a customer needs time to think, give the person some time to think.

People who rub their noses with a forefinger when a rep is talking may dislike something they are hearing, Boe said, by way of example. “So, give them a minute, then recognize it by saying something like, ‘Gee, we covered a lot just now. Let me know what you think.’”

And, “don’t ask for the order until prospects tell you they are ready for it,” he suggested. Prospects often convey this with body language, not words, he indicated.

He also said advisors should adjust their own body language to the customer. “People want to buy from people they think are similar to them,” he explained. Don’t go to extremes on this, he advised. “You need to be real.” Still, doing small things to adjust to the customer’s temperament will increase comfort, he said.

Another speaker, Steven M. Schanker, an attorney with Schanker & Hochberg, P.C., Huntington, N.Y., also strongly advised paying attention to client details–in this case, the family situation.

Schanker was addressing a breakout session on estate planning for what he called “nontraditional families.” Such families include divorced or widowed and remarried people, blended families, same sex unions with and without children, people in heterosexual cohabitation, and those in common law marriage.

The type of family situation often presents challenges, he pointed out. For instance, he asked, who decides where a client’s long term care will occur? If the answer is the next of kin to decide, he said, “in a blended family or same-sex union, who is the next of kin?”

Schanker’s suggestion: Recommend that people put this information in their living wills and other documents.

Similar issues emerge when deciding where a person is to be buried, he said.

When doing retirement planning, pay attention to spousal rights, spousal waivers and beneficiary designations, Schanker advised. For instance, spousal rights can be spelled out in a pre-nuptial agreement, but these agreements do not waive retirement rights, he said. Spousal waivers need to be signed for that, he said.

During NAILBA’s business meeting, John Felton of Tennessee Brokerage Agency, Knoxville, Tenn., was elected NAILBA’s new chairman, succeeding Matt McAvoy, Target Insurance Services, Inc., Mission, Mo.

The new chair-elect and chief of staff is Doug Mishkin of Algren Associates, Inc., New York City. Gary Dworkin of DAI/LifeMark, Rochester, N.H., is treasurer; and Mark Rosen of Underwriters Brokerage Service/LifeMark Pittsburgh, Penn., is secretary. Joseph Normandy continues as executive vice president.

NAILBA also presented its highest award, the 2006 Douglas Mooers Award for Excellence, to former Lincoln Benefit Life President B.E. “Gene” Wraith. The award recognizes lifetime service to the life insurance business, the wholesale brokerage community, and society.


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