I'm sure you've had those frustrating times when prospects hem and haw and refuse to commit to setting an appointment or closing the deal, even when you’ve shown them it’s clearly in their best interest to go forward. We blame that buying inertia on two things:
social anxiety when a prospect feels too sheepish to tell their incumbent agent they’re moving their business,
and fear of the unpredictable future after making a change.
Discover how to overcome America's fear of speaking with financial advisors.
Depending on the size of the account, the work you’ve invested, and the prospect’s timing in telling you they’re sticking with the status quo, these situations can be frustrating, disappointing or downright infuriating. It’s human nature for prospects to worry about the negative consequences of their buying decisions. Everyone worries about making the wrong choices: “Will I regret accepting this
job offer?” or “Is this the right car to buy?” or “Is this the person I really want to marry?” The more at stake and the closer we get
to crossing the threshold, the higher the level of anxiety and doubt. That’s called approach-avoidance conflict. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to offset that uncertainty and help prospects get past their hesitation.
1. Approach-Avoidance Conflict
Switching insurance agents or carriers (or making any kind of business decision, really) involves change, and change is very often accompanied by some fear of unexpected and unwelcome circumstances. That’s why we tend to think, “Better the devil I know than the devil I don’t.”
Prospects aren’t aware of these common-but-latent anxieties. They’ll just say they’re all set, or procrastinate about setting a time for a meeting. On the one hand, they want to reduce insurance costs and get more value from the agent relationship. On the other, they worry that lower premiums could mean the coverage or service won’t be as good.Unless you’re able to shine the light of understanding on these underlying hesitancies, they can sabotage opportunities and waste a lot of your time.The trick is to anticipate, and get prospects to recognize, their latent fears — and then offset that reluctance with reassurance and encouragement. read on for three ways to help clients through hesitations.
2. The Power of Personal Trust
Studies of medical malpractice lawsuits show doctors who spend more time with patients (roughly 3 minutes more per visit) are regarded as more caring, attentive and patient and, as a result, tend to be sued less frequently. The lesson: when it comes to offsetting prospects’ hesitancy and approach-avoidance conflicts, satisfying their emotional needs (by being patient, showing empathy, etc.), is more important than touting technical solutions and expertise.
3. Social Proof
One of the best ways to offset any anxieties about buying choices is to show prospects that others who’ve made the same decisions have been satisfied — even delighted — with their choices. That’s why endorsements, referrals and testimonials are so effective — especially when they come from recognized leaders, respected peers, or hordes of satisfied customers. For decades, McDonald’s has been selling hundreds of billions of burgers by reminding hungry motorists that they’ve sold hundreds of billions of burgers. You can dissolve prospects’ unstated hesitancies by using those marquee names and accolades from industry clients frequently and pervasively — on your website, marketing materials, even emails and certainly on the phone and at sales meetings.
But don’t overdo it on the phone and in person, or you might come off sounding like a blowhard. Buyers experience last minute hesitations all the time. The good news is those conflicts can be overcome with understanding and reassurance.
Joe is President of Professional Marketing Associates. PMA provides producers, agents, and other insurance clients with range of agile marketing services including telemarketing, email newsletters, and sales coaching More