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25 steps to close a sale during the first call

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Margie Barrie, a veteran long-term care insurance (LTCI) agent, marketer and educator, has been writing articles about long-term care (LTC) planning and related issues for years.

See 2 ways to increase LTC product sales and 10 tips on buying leads.

Here she gives a reader ideas about how to make sales more efficiently.

Question: I want to reduce my two-call closes and increase my one-call closes. How can I accomplish that?

Answer: We all want to significantly increase our sales of LTCI and other products, and closing on the first appointment is an excellent way to accomplish that.

Gene Cutler excels at first-call closes. A New York agent and a regional sales director for ACSIA Partners, his first-call closing numbers are impressive: 80 percent for face-to-face appointments and 60 percent for phone appointments.

Here are 25 techniques and key phrases that he uses:

1. His introduction sets the stage. He starts by asking, “Is this something you and your spouse have looked into before or is this new to you?”

2. He asks what the callers want to accomplish and why. He structures the conversation so that they will answer frankly and sincerely.

3. He positions himself as a field underwriter who represents the asset-based protection plans available in his state. He says, “I’m non-biased pertaining to carriers.” 

4. He explains that he works with proprietary software, which is updated almost daily. It puts competing carriers side-by-side on a level playing field for an apples-to-apples comparisons. He says, “I base my recommendations on health, age and issues you are trying to address.”

5. “Before we go too far,” he says, “let’s make sure we are on the same page. Many people think we are discussing health insurance. We are talking about plans that pay for care that you hope you never need.”

6. “I’m talking about ‘caring’, not ‘curing’,” he adds. “This is the type of care many of us observed our parents, grandparents and perhaps our friend’s families providing for family.”

Couple

7. If the callers have looked into LTCI before, he asks, “What are you looking for in these instruments that you have so far been unable to find?”

8. If the callers have not looked into LTCI, he explains what LTCI policies do and don’t do. He then asks if this what they expected. When they say yes, he asks why they’re looking into it now.

9. If he’s talking to a couple, he asks, “How many conversations have the two of you had about the fact that one day one of you will be here and one of you won’t?” He acknowledges the difficulty of having this conversation.

10. He asks if they have completed a will.My job is a little tougher than that,” he says. “We all come to terms with the fact that we are going to die. This conversation is about lingering.”

11. He continues, “I‘m here to introduce you to somebody you don’t want to meet. That’s you down the road when you become your mother and your daughter becomes you.”

12. Or, he may say, “Someday you are not going to be as healthy, strong and good looking as you are today.”

13. He then acknowledges that, “If I didn’t have this blunt and candid conversation with you, I’m not doing you a bit of good here. I’m not doing my job.”

14. He says, “I see my lucky clients once — they’re the ones who don’t need this. I see my unlucky clients a second time, as many times I’m called at time of claim. This claims experience is what guides me in my recommendations. I’ve literally seen hundreds of our parents.”

15. He says, “I’m going to educate you as to how much of this risk we should allocate to an insurance carrier, and how much exposure you should carry, for an event that maybe will or maybe won’t occur.”

16. He says, “We’ll come up with a plan design to address your concerns and then shop among the major providers.”

See also: Closing Sales The Right Way

A couple watching TV

17. He addresses the callers’ personal concerns in detail, by asking about assets, burden, quality care and other concerns. The answers become a reference point to use after he presents the best carrier option, or options.

18. He frequently takes temperature checks, especially during the plan design discussion. “Are you comfortable with that?” he asks. “Does it make sense to you?” He wants people to consciously or subconsciously agree and say, “Yes, that makes sense.”

19. After he has identified the plan design, he opens the proprietary software (Straticision) and explains that he will show the companies side-by-side — put Ford next to Chevy.

20. “Now that we have the plan design,” he says, “let’s look at every plan in the state of New York as of today. Let’s go shopping, so we can narrow it down. Are you comfortable with that?”

21. Then he narrows the field to one carrier, and asks, “Are you comfortable with this? Is it okay to continue?”

22. He asks, “Can you see how this pool of money will protect your assets, How this COLA enables it to maintain parity with inflation?”

23. He reviews the plan design and repeats the issues mentioned in the beginning of the conversation that convinced the couple to look into this. He asks, “Can you see how this plan design resolves all of your personal issues and concerns that you had shared with me earlier?”

24. He closes by saying, “This is how we proceed. We are going to go to an application now.”

25. If prospect says “I want to think about it,” he asks, “Are there any other questions that I have not answered for you?”

See also: How to Boost Your Sales in a Down Market