The foundation for successful health insurance sales is trust – and if your prospect doesn’t trust you, it will be very difficult to close the sale. Building a circle of trust is an essential part of client engagement for any successful and profitable insurance professional. The negative perceptions of insurance producers, often associated with the stereotypical used car salesmen, only emphasize the importance of building trust with certain clients.
When agents rush to the close, it can undermine the trust-building process. Establishing a trusting relationship is the first step in effectively engaging the client so that they can openly discuss their health history and financial needs with you. Whether you call them customers, clients, or buyers, you must understand and acknowledge that they are all individuals who bring their own biases, opinions, attitudes, and knowledge and perceptions to this exchange – particularly in a world where health reform has left many clients feeling confused and uncertain.
In order to form the foundation of your circle of trust, there are three critical techniques you must learn.
Technique 1: Ask the right questions
It may seem simple to ask a question or two, but many agents can improve their pitch by improving their questions. Rather than hurling your sales spiel at prospects with lightning speed, ask intelligent, respectful, and meaningful questions in a sensitive and nonthreatening manner. Rather than blurt out, “So, are your interested in this product?” consider probing questions that begin with “what,” “why,” “where,” “when,” and “how” in order to begin a dialogue with your prospect.
Be a friendly detective. Find out why they are looking, what they are looking for, their current and future needs, and their past experience with insurance and other agents in order to establish yourself as a trusted advisor who they can rely upon to recommend the right product for the right reasons.
Try such questions as:
- “Why did you want to meet with me today?”
- “What does your ideal relationship with your health insurance agent look like?”
- “What type of coverage would your ideal health insurance plan provide?”
- “What’s the one thing that you want to make sure we accomplish today?”
- “Have you ever had a bad experience with an insurance agent? Can you tell me about it?”
These questions – and, more importantly, the answers to them – will help uncover the secrets that will reveal your customer’s core needs and wants and whether their expectations are reasonable and match your product offerings. If this is not the case, you have the benefit of recognizing that early on and saving time for both of you by moving on to the next prospect.
Technique 2: Listen
It’s not very effective to ask questions and simply wait your turn to ask another question. You have two ears and one mouth, so use your resources properly and listen twice as much as you talk. Really focus and gather information and intelligence. In the end, you will have essentially built your own customer profile of the person with whom you’re meeting, allowing you to satisfy their needs and, in turn, make the sale.