5 tips for calling insurance leads
By Justin R. Brown
Question: What do golfers and good insurance agents have in common?
Answer: Routine and rhythm.
Professional golfers are victims of habit. They relax, visualize, stage, then strike. Insurance agents should employ the same method to prepare and execute.
Making great contact — with insurance leads, that is.
If the idea of making cold calling the insurance leads that come your way gets your heart racing and your palms clammy, don’t worry — you’re not the only one. Plenty of agents are reluctant to make calls. Why? A little bit of stage fright and a healthy measure of fear of messing up a sale. The best way to beat the fear of dialing up is to be prepared.
There are a few key components to being ready to make the call. You need to have a solid pitch put together. You need to know the prospect’s details. And, last but not least, you need to be able use that information on the fly, anticipating a potential client’s insurance needs.
Perfecting your calling technique takes patience — your own, not your clients’. If something goes wrong, don’t beat yourself up; be open to learning from your mistakes. Take what you learn and practice to improve. The more calls you make, the more comfortable you’ll become. See whether you can get a friend or family member to play customer while you practice your pitch. It might seem awkward, but it can help you identify areas for improvement to help you close sales rather than lose them.
Keep these things in mind to make calls easier on you and more appealing to the prospect:
Get the feel. Even if you get an interested insurance lead to knock down your door looking for a quote, you still need to gauge his interest level, competence with the products or service, personality, and patience in order to complete a successful insurance sale. This is largely intuitive, but don’t think that it can’t be learned. Cultivate your listening skills to look for signals that your prospect is sending, and adjust your end of the conversation accordingly.
Stay in control. Even the very best insurance leads will be from all walks of life and have varying degrees of knowledge. Letting the prospect steer you or lead you is a good way to go nowhere. Don’t be pushy, but position yourself as someone who can serve the consumer because you have the knowledge, expertise and desire to help with this person’s specific needs.
Know your line. What you think you sound like could be very different from what a client thinks you sound like. Try recording your voice and playing it back so that you can listen from the other end. Make sure that when you speak, you’re not coming across as harsh or abrasive. Playing the recording to a trusted friend or family member and getting their reaction can also be helpful.
Avoid rushing. When you’re eager to make a sale just so you can move along to the next, you might end up sounding like you want to get off the phone as soon as possible. It's vitally important that you avoid making a potential client feel like you’re rushing him. If the prospect doesn’t feel valued, he won’t want to stick with you; so take your time and make it a conversation, not a line reading.
Course management. If a prospect says he’s already been contacted by another agent and has decided to go with a competitor, focus on being respectful of his decision. Don’t try to change his mind. Instead, thank him for his time and say you’ll follow up in the future to see whether he’s content with the service he’s getting. That follow up might be a bit down the road, but it can show someone you’re really interested in serving him the — and could persuade him to do business with you.
Do you prepare before making the call? What is your rhythm and routine?