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3 Key Sales Learnings from the Virtual World

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What You Need to Know

  • Virtual meetings require financial professionals to do more homework.
  • Part of that homework involves structuring the conversation.
  • The ingredient that can keep those exhaustively planned conversations fresh is passion.

Life Insurance Awareness Month is a time to think about helping customers become more aware of the need to protect their loved ones against mortality risk.

It’s also a time for us to become more aware of how we can do more to help customers move from awareness of the need for protection to action.

Life insurance can be difficult to understand and intimidating because of its technicalities and complexities. It also can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss in the context of an eventual death. Historically, agents and brokers selling life insurance have broken these barriers down by building deep, personal relationships with their customers, meeting regularly with them to discuss their needs and understand their goals.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it put a pause on face-to-face customer engagements. To keep a personal touch on customer relationships and prospecting, agents and brokers needed to quickly adapt and become proficient in a new way of doing business. One primary aspect of this is the now commonplace virtual meeting.

While some aspects of life are getting back to their former, pre-pandemic self, a “new normal” means continuing some of the pandemic pivots that worked particularly well for businesses. And such is the case with the life insurance industry’s pivot to working in a more virtual environment.

In addition to the vast efficiencies found in this environment, it offered many opportunities for pivotal change in the industry, too.

A few key learnings:

1. Content and meeting preparation are more valuable than ever.

When guiding and engaging customers over video, there may not be as many opportunities for casual conversation as there would be during an in-person meeting. Thinking differently is required, and virtual creativity helps to enhance the customer experience and ensure better customer acquisition.

When selling over video, we need to be even more prepared. For example: have the appropriate content accessible in order to keep the customer’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the conversation. Additionally, technology issues may arise where video may lag, so always be prepared to move the conversation to a phone call.

2. The order of information is important.

Virtual meetings have highlighted why it is so critical to map-out the flow of an important conversation to make sure it unfolds well. Around the important mutual conversation that naturally occurs, I like to ensure I hit three points:

Step 1: Sketch out a strong, compelling opening to your meeting that outlines your goals and immediately gets your customer’s attention.

Step 2: Perform a situation analysis. Through this analysis, address the “pros and cons,” or the advantages and disadvantages surrounding the customers current situation, and explain how your proposed solution helps address challenges.

Step 3: Stick your landing. Deliver a closing that summarizes the benefits, as well as any clear next steps toward implementation.

3. Passion and enthusiasm are key.

Nothing is more infectious than enthusiasm. When you speak with enthusiasm, you exude confidence in the power of your solution. Without it, you might only gain an educated prospect, rather than a new client. Be genuine but offer enthusiasm to give your customers the confidence they might need to make this important decision.

The future of business is constantly evolving, and with the use of technology continuing to accelerate, there will likely be even more changes on the horizon that will transform the insurance industry. That said, the best thing about these learnings is that as face-to-face meetings begin to return, these lessons remain just as relevant. The virtual selling skills acquired by agents and brokers over the past year will continue to enhance our post pandemic conversations too — regardless of whether they happen face-to-face, over the phone, or through a computer screen.


Joe Ross (Photo: AIG)Joe Ross is vice president for sales productivity and business development, for life insurance and for accident and health products, at AIG Life & Retirement.