Practice these to jump on calls much more easily
Phone prospecting is not necessarily everyone’s favorite thing to do, but with a bit of practice in the subtle art of phone prospecting, sales get a whole lot easier. And since almost 90 percent of sales have recently moved to a videoconferencing/phone/web sales model, shying away from the phone means a lot of lost opportunities.
Whether making cold calls or engaging with a prospect who has requested a quote, these 10 tips will help you connect with more finesse.
1. Do your homework.
Know your prospects. Google them. Poke around. Learn as much as you can about their business, their location, their industry, their potential needs. Be clear on what you might offer and be relaxed but ready when they pick up.
2. Call at the right time.
A recent lead response study* found that Wednesdays and Thursdays tend to be the best days to contact a lead and that calls made between 4-6 in the afternoon are most effective. Other data confirms this and adds the 11 a.m.-noon time slot.
3. Work on your tone.
There’s a lot of interpersonal information missing on phone calls that can be transmitted with tone, volume and quality of voice. This sounds more difficult than it is. Just read your script aloud a few times. Try to be warm, relaxed, confident and clear. Practice makes perfect.
4. Be genuine.
A great benefit of being an independent agent is the capacity to build personal relationships, so use every call as an opportunity to do just that. Imagine it’s a friend or relative with insurance needs on the other end of the call. Be a human calling a human.
5. Prepare a script or set of questions.
Don’t expect to read it verbatim. Just make a few bullet points and choose a mix of open-ended and closed questions. With practice, you will develop a smooth and effective prospecting style.
6. Nail the opener.
Prospects are more likely to receive a call positively from an independent agent than a rep of a big carrier, so lead with that in the opener. Here are a couple of tested and tried opener scripts:
Opener script 1: Follow-up to quote request
“Hi, Lisa Cooper?” (Yes, this is Lisa.)
“Hi, my name is Alex, and I’m an independent insurance agent. You contacted me about a quote, and I’ve pulled together something I think will really work for you. Do you have a moment for me to go over it? I’ll try to be quick.”
Opener script 2: Cold call
“Hi, Lisa Cooper?” (Yes, this is Lisa.)
“Hi, my name is Alex, and I’m an independent insurance agent. I’m sure you’re not a fan of being called by people you don’t know, but I regularly do outreach in this community to make sure people are clear that they have the best rates and the right insurance. Do you have a moment to chat, or is there a better time to call?”
7. Be inquisitive – and listen.
Let genuine curiosity about their needs, and challenges, move you through the conversation. Your questions should not only extract information, they should also help you make a personal connection. The more trust they feel, the more they will engage and let you know what they want and don’t want.
8. Understand their pain.
The conversation should point to some existing pain (worry, fear, perhaps dissatisfaction with previous insurance). Use this information to differentiate, to highlight how you do things or what you can offer. Frame your offer so that it sounds like a solution that speaks right to what they most want to resolve.
9. Sell the benefits.
It’s always a better idea to sell benefits rather than products. Focus on emotional concerns — security, risk, loss. Describe potential life scenarios and how your proposal will cover them. Don’t bring up the price until you’ve demonstrated that your proposal is what they need.
10. Don’t take it personally.
Before any of us pick up a call, we are likely busy with something completely unrelated. Keep this in mind and never take impatience or objections personally. Just keep making calls.
There is enormous benefit in being an independent agent who takes the time to understand client needs and pains, and has the capacity to tailor offers. Trust in this knowledge as you prepare to pick up that phone and connect.