Once you have identified a life insurance prospect, as well as the life product that fits the individual’s specific need, where do you go from there? What’s the next step? All too often advisors drop the ball at this point by presenting their proposal and simply looking for the client’s positive response –– that doesn’t come. “I need to think about this,” says the client. “I really wasn’t prepared for that size premium.”
Although the client acknowledges the need for the coverage and recognizes the benefits presented in the proposal, the advisor senses that the sale is starting to slip away.
Why is it happening? What’s causing the doubt? Even more important, what’s missing? Answer: a clear, hard-hitting message that captures the essence and benefits of accepting your advice. And that’s what prospects are looking for. If they don’t find it, they don’t buy.
If you think this is easier said than done, you’re right. It takes both skill and insight. Some years ago, an associate raised funds for a history museum sponsored by a large fraternal group. Most of the prospects lived in distant states and might never visit the facility. Using direct mail, prospective donors were offered an elegant medal to be presented personally by the organization’s head, plus their sculptured individual likenesses permanently displayed in the museum. A goal of 25 was set. However, in a brief time, 72 were subscribed at $100,000 each.
The sales task is always the same –– capturing the client’s imagination. What are the skills needed to accomplish this objective and to bring them to take positive action on the solution?
1. A thoughtful give-and-take between advisor and client is necessary before the client can make a positive decision.
Today’s life insurance buyers expect to participate in developing the most appropriate buying decision. But, as every advisor knows, such discussions can go far afield and become counter-productive. This is why the advisor is tasked with the responsibility to keep the process on track so that it achieves a positive resolution with the benefits fully appreciated by the client.
2. To be successful, advisors must separate themselves from competitors by bringing clients fresh and different perspectives that can capture their attention.
Listening and relating to the client are critical and can be important in understanding clients’ make up and the values that can motivate to action. Here are three ways to do this:
- Relating and understanding: Probing questions can stimulate client insight, bringing meaning, focus and clarity to the discussion. It takes “Hitting a nerve” or “touching a hot button” for clients to move forward with a sale. Few salespeople seem to recognize that this process is essential in working with each and every client.
- Teaching and adjusting the presentation for each client: It takes a special ability to be objective in laying out the problem and solution for clients in a way that’s sensitive and relates to their needs, position and viewpoints and allows them to embrace the solution. Advisors who develop this skill will separate themselves from the average life insurance salesperson.
- Be direct and control the discussion: It’s an advisor’s task to stay focused on the objective throughout the discussion, recognizing the purpose of the process without pretenses. Professionalism and guiding the interview with an even hand are what it takes to achieve a successful result.
Taken together, these are the essential components for making life insurance sales happen.
But there’s more.