“Life is hard, deliver easy.” — John C. Maxwell
We live in a complex and noisy world. If you ask 10 people how their week is going, I venture to guess that at least half will answer, “busy.”
It’s often said that knowledge is power. I firmly believe in the power of knowledge and education, but is knowledge really power? When it comes to effective communication, your knowledge can actually be a hindrance when expressed outwardly. Let me explain why.
Early my in my insurance sales career, I had little knowledge. I often joke that I could barely spell the word insurance let alone try to explain it. While that certainly is an exaggeration, the bottom line was that I was very uncomfortable sharing technical knowledge.
To offset this inexperience, I focused on building relationships and getting to know the business owner I was speaking with. After all, I didn’t want to ask questions or start a discussion I was uncomfortable with, but I could certainly discuss their business goals, needs and frustrations, as well as connect with them.
Although I was less experienced than almost all of my competition, I still was able to achieve some small wins due to the fact that I was building positive relationships. Many of the business owners assumed I knew something about insurance, but more importantly, they were impressed that I wanted to know more about them. By connecting, I was increasing my influence in every situation.
In the next few years, I attended various training classes and programs. I achieved my certified insurance counselor (CIC) designation and learned much more about specific coverages and lines of insurance. This information was powerful and helped to make me a better agent.
This knowledge also caused me to sometimes lose sight of the client’s needs and focus on my new-found expertise. If I learned a new coverage or product, I would often try to dazzle them with my big words and impressive phrases.
I started doing what my first sales trainer told me not to do. He told me never to “technobarf” on your prospects or clients. Guess what?I became a technobarfer!
Let me be clear. I am not saying that acquiring knowledge is not important. In fact, quite the contrary. However, what I am saying is that using this knowledge to impress your prospects is not effective and often makes their lives more complex.
Regardless of the product or service that you are selling, you must use phrases and concepts that your listener can fully understand and relate with.
Focus on making anything complicated in your business simple. Use stories, examples, analogies.
Instead of describing how an insurance coverage works, use a personal story to explain how it’s used.