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Are you a highly effective salesperson?

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It isn’t necessary to tell salespeople they need to improve their performance. They’re scorekeepers; they know exactly how they’re doing. The endless stream of webinars, podcasts, seminars, books and articles suggests they want to do better. 

Even with so many opportunities, it’s easy for salespeople to get stuck in patterns that keep them from becoming more effective performers. To help salespeople see themselves more clearly, here are four approaches to sales:

1. Tactical selling

This occurs when a salesperson tends to follow a script that puts the emphasis on a product’s features and functions rather than focusing on understanding customer needs. Unfortunately, these salespeople put a lid on their success and have difficulty moving beyond what can be called mid-tier relationships.

2. Transactional selling

Then there are those in sales who give customers what they want. These are the commodity buyers and there are more of them all the time. “All I want is enough life insurance to cover my mortgage for the next 18 years. What’s the cheapest price you can get for me?” The message is clear: “This is what I’m going to buy. If you can’t give it to me, I’m going elsewhere.” So much for further discussion or a needs analysis. The customer is in control and the salesperson is an order taker.

3. Relationship selling

Buying from people we trust makes sense, which is why salespeople often say they control an account because they have the relationship with the customer. Maintaining the personal relationship is what counts, and anything that might interfere with or injure it is a red flag threat. More attention is placed on keeping the relationship than on providing solutions based on client needs.

4. Strategic selling

Strategic selling is all about staying in control of the sale by asking probing questions and listening thoughtfully to understand the customer’s needs, desires, goals, objectives and concerns. Then, based on these insights, offer appropriate solutions that focus on the benefits of the product’s features.

When this occurs, customers recognize “what’s in it for them” and the salesperson is perceived as an expert, consultant and problem solver — someone who is worthy of trust.

Here are a few thoughts about what all this means for being a highly effective life insurance advisor:

  • During any week, advisors may find themselves using several or even all four selling strategies depending on the situation.
  • However, it’s easier to respond to customers with a tactical, transactional or relationship style, even though they may know that they lose control.
  • Yet, it’s advisors who take a strategic approach who perform the best. They work at understanding a client’s goals and objectives and stay in control by asking questions. They offer the best possible solutions based on their client’s needs. In life insurance sales, this means taking the entire product line into account and not just those that are most familiar or the easiest to sell.

While the task is demanding, the rewards for both client and advisor are well worth the effort.

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