In order to keep your agency running at maximum productivity, it’s necessary to continually bring on new clients. For some agents, the act of selling their services becomes the hardest part of the job.
In today’s insurance environment, successful salespeople possess three core qualities that help them excel:
They are likeable.
Of course, being likeable is an advantage for any businessperson, but especially if you are in sales. Your ability to be a ‘people person’ could mean the difference between success and failure. This trait isn’t necessarily skill-based, but it is something that you can develop in yourself over time.
Being likeable involves treating people – both clients and coworkers – with respect. You will always have to interact with people that are different from you, but if you can learn to understand what they care about and cultivate an interest in what matters to them, you will quickly move up on the likeability scale. Practice treating everyone you meet with respect. Everyone deserves the same amount of your time and the same pitch, and you should assume that anyone you meet is a potential client or referral source.
To be successful in sales, you must learn to engage your client and look for ways to relate. It could be as easy as asking what they did over the weekend – and listening to the answer. If you have trouble remembering the things they tell you, put a note in their file and review it before you meet with them again. When you remember details about your clients’ lives, they feel cared for, and establish a genuine connection with you.
They are confident.
The most successful salespeople are confident in who they are and the product they are selling. In sales, it is rare to get a ‘yes’ on the first pitch. More often, you have to work hard to get the sale. Without confidence, you would give up after the first ‘no.’ But confident people don’t fear rejection; they get up and keep trying.
There are times when a lack of confidence comes from not knowing clearly enough who your target market is or what problems your products solve. Sometimes the most important type of confidence is believing in the product you are selling. If you have genuine confidence in your product, it’s easy to get others to believe in it too. Try to speak to potential clients from your own experience. Imagine how powerful it is to say, “You are going to love this life insurance policy – I have the same one” or “I know you will like this auto/home/umbrella package, because I have this exact package”. People are more inclined to buy when they see that other people are using the product and are happy with it.
They value time.
People that succeed in sales place a lot of value on time. They value their own time as well as the client’s time. Most of your potential clients will see punctuality as politeness, and it is vital to show your client respect by respecting their time.
Aim to be early to every appointment, and consider scheduling your appointments with 15-30 minute gaps in between. Then you will never have to deal with the stress of running late or facing an unhappy prospect. When you feel hurried, it’s hard to be genuinely interested in the person you are meeting with because you may rush in an attempt to catch up. By allowing yourself enough time, you will never worry that a client had additional questions or needed more information that you were unable to provide.
Another aspect of valuing time is really knowing your products. Take adequate time to prepare for your appointments. Practice your pitch and be ready mentally and physically. Learn the product you are selling inside and out. To run efficient appointments, you must be ready for any question that may come up. (This will help with your confidence, too!)
It is possible for anyone to be a successful salesperson; you just have to put effort into improving in these areas. No one is born with all three characteristics, and even the best salespeople have to continually work to improve. Even (or especially) if sales isn’t your favorite part of the job, learning how to do this successfully will help you enjoy the process a bit more and that’s good for business.
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