“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas,” Dr. Linus Pauling famously said. In other words, if you take the time to train your mind to think inventively, your business will thrive.
Here, we bring you a lot of good ideas about how to sell, culled not just from the insurance industry but from leaders in health care, technology, media and finance. Some are practical. Some are aspirational. All thoughtfully consider what it means to sell to a sophisticated consumer base with expectations of immediate, personalized service.
We hope these ideas give you the inspiration and fresh insight to make 2016 your best year yet.
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a ten-part series identifying the best sales techniques for 2016. To view the rest of the series, click here.
100. Identify your ideal clients.
List your top 15 clients in the following areas:
Clients you like
Client that like you
Clients that refer you to others on a regular basis
Review all five lists and ask:
Which clients are on all five lists?
What traits do they share? (demographic, psychographic, financial)
Is there a niche that is working for you?
How can you further develop that niche?
— Eric Sheikowitz and Michael Silver, senior managing partners at Focus Partners, LLC.
99. Make everything as simple as you can make it.
“As a consumer of health care, for a while, you wonder, ‘Am I stupid?’ or “Am I missing something? You try desperately to figure out how this health care system works, and which physician to go out to and what the costs will be, and you realize that no, it’s not you that’s stupid. It’s the system that’s stupid.”
— Mario Schlosser, co-CEO of Oscar Health, a new, Google-backed health insurer in New York state, in a Jan. 27, 2016, interview with L.A. Biz
98. Tap insights from behavioral economics.
A new LIMRA study using behavioral economics finds that consumers are more likely to buy life insurance when people similar to themselves own coverage. In the study consumers were given eight messages that challenged their biases toward life insurance ownership with one stating “most Americans do own life insurance, including people like you.” This was the most successful message we tested. Attitudes about life insurance improved for all demographic groups in some way when having coverage is perceived as a social norm.
Single people and those without children are traditionally a tough sell for life insurance. One of our findings — that 39 percent of singles who received a social norming message are likely to buy life insurance compared to 23 percent who read a classic marketing message — suggests that a tailored message on social norming can be effective, particularly with groups the industry has struggled to reach.”
— Jennifer Douglas, associate research director, Developmental and Strategic Research at LIMRA
97. Content marketing works.
“I have come to see content marketing as a sign that a company is both confident in itself and in its products or services. A brand that says to a consumer, “Go ahead, have a peek under the bonnet, and press the accelerator a couple of times; we’re sure you’ll love it,” and then backs off, leaving the consumer to make his/her own decision, also demonstrates that it will treat people respectfully when speaking to them (the polar opposite of being hassled by the pushy car salesman of old).
This is a brand’s way of saying, “Of course I don’t expect you to buy me just yet. I’m happy for you to hang around for a while, and I’ll only begin to thrust the rest of my marketing prowess upon you once you’ve understood who I am, and you’re sure that we’re right for one another.” It’s recognition that this is going to be a relationship rather than a transaction.”
— Mark Beard, VP, Digital Media and Content Strategy at The Economist
96. Use the right words with prospects.
Always approach things from the perspective of your prospect. Focus on benefits to your prospect. Describe how your prospect will benefit from the program you are recommending.
Your words should suggest that you expect your prospect to buy. Never say, “If you buy,” instead say, “As my client, you can expect …” If your words suggest uncertainty on your part, why should your prospect have confidence in you? A lack of confidence on your part will quickly be reflected by your prospect who will then lose confidence in you.