by Jack Kasel, Sales Development Expert, Anthony Cole Training Group

We all know that selling is an emotional activity both for you and your prospect. For your prospect, it’s because they will need to put their faith and trust in you to help them improve their risk situation or they’re going to make a significant investment. If they make the wrong choice, bad things could happen to them or their company. And for you the insurance agent, it’s your livelihood. Salespeople are competitive and we want to win by nature. And so, with all those things coming together, selling can be a little bit of an emotional situation.

Let’s take a look at both sides of this situation. We know this: people buy emotionally and justify logically. The only time that emotion is not involved is when you’re buying a pack of gum or a gallon of gas. Other than that, there’s an emotional side for a prospect and our job is to find out what really matters to them, personally and professionally.  We do that by asking the right questions that trigger their interest and what we call the “journey to self-discovery” that can lead them to choosing you and your agency, because you are the best option. Now, here are examples of questions for prospects that can help you do this:

  • Suppose this situation doesn’t get addressed. I’m wondering how that will impact you or your family in the upcoming year?
  • What if this continues to go on and you can’t find a solution for this problem you’re trying to address? What’s the impact going to be on you personally?

You must ask about and learn the impact of this current situation because if there’s no impact, then there’s no problem. If there’s no problem, there’s no opportunity. So that’s our job as advisors, to find that emotional trigger that will lead a prospect or client to self-discover that they cannot live with the impact and consider further discussion around solution options.

Now let’s talk about the producer in this role. We have to keep our emotions in check because most agents get excited as soon as they hear a “buying sign.” For example, when a prospect says; “That does sound interesting that you have helped others with this problem.” Oftentimes a producer will start running to solutions and deliver their pitch at the first sign of interest instead of deepening the conversation and overcoming their initial emotional reaction. If you don’t temper that, you will start running with things that seem like a good opportunity, but really never had a chance to come to fruition. Sometimes, our prospects are trying to utilize us and our information as leverage to get a better opportunity somewhere else or with their current provider. So, let’s take a look at how we can tamp down that emotional part of this sales process for the agent. We recommend using a tool called the Prospect Scorecard:

The scorecard operates to take some of the subjectivity out of this process of selling and offers a salesperson a more objective view. On the left side, are the items that drive the probability of an agent winning this business. These might be different for your particular sale, but we have found over the years, these 10 have the most impact. The answers identify what you know about this opportunity, and what you need to discover yet. Let’s put this into action. Think about your top 5 opportunities and rate yourself on the information that you know about these prospects and give yourself a 10 if you have the answer and 5 if partial or 0 if you have not uncovered yet. If you end up with a really low score, you should ask yourself why you trying to win this business when the probability of winning is going to be very minimal or are you just missing too much critical information to determine if they are a prospect? And then, go find out the answers!

We have learned over our 30 years of sales training that the source of the opportunity is one of the most important indicators. If you are introduced, you will have a higher probability of winning that business. Makes you think you should go out immediately and ask your current advocates to introduce you, doesn’t it? Look at this as a living document. Today you may give yourself a four or a lower number on a prospect, but as you’re progressing through the sales process, that number should go up or they should come out of the pipeline. We’ve had some companies we work with that will not release a premium or a quote until this probability score is 65 or higher.

Once you have a scoring mechanism like this, you can look at this factually. What do I know? What more do I need to know? This helps a producer take the emotional side out and look at the opportunity more objectively. When you use this tool, you may find out that some of your opportunities go away. The quantity of the opportunities may go down, but the quality will increase as well as your closure ratio as you pursue more highly qualified prospects.

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