With just a few weeks to go in 2013, I’ve put together a list of the most effective ideas to boost your holiday sales.
- Keep your schedule filled with appointments. If your goal is eight appointments, don’t “try” to keep eight — actually keep them. If you must fill those appointments with existing clients, turn those meetings into referral opportunities.
- Take a look back through existing clients’ files to determine if there’s any way you haven’t yet served them. Maybe you need to discuss converting an existing term policy or increasing 403(b) contributions. Maybe you haven’t discussed long-term care with them. Is there a client who wouldn’t be helped by increasing his monthly retirement contributions? Find out!
- Use the holidays as an excuse to surprise and delight them. It takes a little extra time and few extra dollars, but the rewards can be incredible: a fresh baked pie or a bowl of homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, a decorative wreath or pine-scented candle for the holidays.
- Up your offers. A client who needs $300,000 in life insurance might agree to $500,000 if given the option. A client who can put aside $300 per month to invest might be able to stretch to $500 if you explain the benefits. Just ask. If 1 in 4 prospects says yes, your yearend numbers will increase dramatically, just like that.
- Ask for referrals as a way of helping someone start next year with a bang: “Joe and Betty, thanks for letting me know how helpful I’ve been to you in getting your finances in order and in building toward the retirement you want. With the end of the year coming, I’ll bet you have a couple of friends who might like to get a new start on their finances for the New Year. Who comes to mind as someone who could use a hand?”
- Ask for referrals as a way of giving a gift: “Joe, how about giving that friend you mentioned the gift of a session with me to talk about his finances? It won’t cost him anything, and I won’t pressure him to work with me if he doesn’t want to. You’d be giving him the opportunity to change his life for the better.”
- Focus on reaching out to people with whom you already have a connection. Is there anyone who you meant to contact this year but never got around to calling? Did you drop any leads along the way that you could now pick up? Instead of cold calling people you’ve never met, revisit those “failed” contacts, starting with the most recent. If you can’t reach someone by phone, try a quick email or leave a short message via social media. If you do manage to connect, you’re far more likely to get an appointment with them than you would with a total stranger.
- Slow down your fact-finding interviews. It may seem counterintuitive, but you’ll turn more first appointments into sales if you asked more questions, especially about the consequences of acting versus not acting. It’s not good enough to ask how someone feels about a million-dollar insurance need. Dig deeply into the consequences of not having that insurance. (“If you can’t keep the house, where will you live? Is that OK with you?”) Then, make sure your presentation addresses the consequences they focused on in responding to your questions.
- Keep your need out of it. You have numbers you want to reach, but the days of the “contest close” have long passed. Do they need your help or don’t they? Is what you’re offering the best thing for them? Or would something that nets you a smaller fee be in their best interest?
- Do what’s right. When it comes to services they need, don’t try to please your prospects or clients. Don’t sellto them, serve them. If they want to put off applying for the insurance they need and you believe the delay does not serve them, tell them passionately why they’re wrong. Be proud of being in sales, but don’t sell. And don’t put having them like you above doing what’s best for them.
With the New Year right around the corner, you have the opportunity to finish the year strong. These tips will help you squeeze in those last-minute sales before the ball drops.