What's the quickest way to increase your sales and your income?
By Lew Nason
Insurance Pro Shop
For 28 years now, we've had agents asking us how they can find more leads. They want more leads so they can set more appointments, close more sales, and make more money.
As we talk about their situation, they'll often tell us that they are closing 25 percent to 40 percent of the people they see. They don't have a problem closing sales; their only problem is they aren't seeing enough people. Unfortunately, what most of them don't realize is that trying to see more people is doing it the hard way.
If you are only closing 25 percent of your sales calls, then to make one additional sale, you have to see four more people; to make two additional sales you have to see eight more people, and so on. That's a lot of additional time, effort and expense.
If you want to make more money, then wouldn't it be much, much easier to improve your closing ratio with your current prospects.
When we ask agents if they would like to be closing 50 percent, 60 percent or even 90 percent of the people they meet with, most of them tell us they don't believe it's possible. They'll explain that many of their prospects are just lookers, or shopping for the best price (or investment returns), or that they don't have any money. There is no way they could close 50 percent or more of the people they are currently seeing.
As we talk further, we'll ask them questions about what they are doing in their initial sales calls. In a very short time, it becomes obvious they don't know where they're going, what they're doing, or where they've been when it comes to sales calls.
Most agents are winging it
The reason most agents aren't closing a high percentage of their sales calls is because they are winging it during their initial sales interview. They don't have a set procedure for the sales interview, let alone a series of questions to ask the prospect. And, when they don't close the sale, it's easier for them to make excuses and say it's because the prospect is just a shopper and doesn't have any money, rather than admitting they aren't as good at selling as they should be.
The good news is that most of your competition falls into this category. Unfortunately, the bad news is that you are probably doing the same thing.
The problem is that the vast majority of agents and advisors still believe the purpose of a sales interview is to show off how smart they are and to convince the client that they have the best products or price.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Prospects don't care how smart you are, or if you offer the best products, service or the lowest price. The real purpose of the sales interview is to turn the prospect into a client. What your prospects want to know is: "What's in it for me? How can you help me better my situation?" Your goal is to help your prospects come to see you as their savior. Then and only then will you start closing a high percentage of your sales calls.
You can close 90 percent of your sales calls
I know this because I did it when I was in sales full time, and many of the agents we are currently working with are doing it. These are agents who came to us closing 25 percent to 40 percent of their sales calls and within just a few weeks, they are closing 70 percent to 90 percent. These are agents and advisors who were earning $3,000 to $10,000 per month and are now earning $20,000 to $60,000 per month. Not only are they closing more sales, they are now closing much larger sales.
And, no, these agents and advisors did not change how they were prospecting. They aren't seeing more prospects. They haven't gone to a more affluent market. And, no, they aren't offering a new product or service.
So, what made the big difference?
These agents and advisors now have a set procedure for the initial interview. They have a series of questions they ask each prospect. They are prepared, and they are well rehearsed.
In the initial interview they are:
- Focused on asking questions to help the prospect identify their problems
- Asking questions to help them understand what the prospects really want
- Listening to what the prospect is really saying
The reality is that by asking questions and really listening to your prospects, you are ultimately selling them on why they should do business with you. They are buying you as someone who really cares about them and who can really help them.
Until you internalize these concepts and stop winging it, you will find it very difficult to consistently close a high percentage of your sales.
Lastly, please remember that nobody sells everybody. All you can do is to improve to the point where you become a 90 percent closer. Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.
Are you thinking: "OK, so where do I go from here? Is there a script for the initial interview? What are the questions I should be asking?" You can learn to conduct a better initial interview by trial and error, or you could find a mentor or hire a sales coach. Or, you can choose to live with a 25 percent to 40 percent closing ratio. The choice is yours.
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