Every new or seasoned insurance or financial services professional has the image of a “perfect salesperson” in mind. The image is of someone who consistently achieves high sales and has a large base of loyal clients who liberally refer business.

The most important trait of the perfect sales professional is the ability to form genuine, close relationships with clients, relationships that result in repeat business and referrals. These sales professionals prove to be an invaluable addition to any insurance sales team.

Those who are especially good at forging client relationships tend to appear to their clients not so much as a “salesperson” but rather a sales consultant. They make it their business to learn as much as they can about a client’s business. And what they cannot learn from their research, they learn at an initial meeting by asking all the right questions about a prospect’s financial needs. They go the extra mile by spending time getting to know their clients and prospects, and it makes all the difference. The extra 30 minutes spent learning about a client or prospect carries a tremendous ROI.

One way insurance sales professionals build relationships with clients is by presenting their insurance products as a solution to a client’s problem. By presenting the insurance product that is the best available solution to a client’s individual needs, a sales professional can show his attentiveness to the client’s problem. The insurance sales professional answers all of the client’s questions and offers useful information, even if it is not directly related to the sale.

After the sale, this sales professional maintains contact with the client, offering the same kind of consulting help they did during the sale. Clients are generally loyal to such a sales professional—not because the insurance products are superior or the financial solutions are cheaper relative to the competition but because they possess excellent client-relations skills, problem-solving abilities and the willingness to spend time on a client, even if it doesn’t directly result in a sale.

Good client relationships turn into loyalty. Loyalty turns into repeat business and referrals.

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John Pojeta is the director of business development for PT Marketing, which provides high-quality business-to-business appointment setting for insurance professionals and financial advisors. For more information, visit www.ptmarketing.com.