How can you consistently close nine out of 10 people with whom you meet?
By Lew Nason
Insurance Pro Shop
While most agents and advisors seem to think that closing nine out of 10 people they see is impossible, if you know the insider secrets, it's actually very easy.
During my seven years as a personal producer, I was able to consistently close nine out of 10 people with whom I met. That is one of the reasons my son Jeremy and I are being called the "nine out of 10 guys". (My media consultant, the legendary Forrest Wallace Cato, came up with that phase when we first started the Insurance Pro Shop in 2000) And, no, I wasn't a pushy salesperson. I didn't use any of the 101 closing techniques. My lapse rate was below 5 percent, and I didn't replace other insurance policies in the home.
By the way, if you talk to most of the leading producers in our industry, you'll find that they are closing nine out of 10 people they meet with. It's because they know and practice the insider secrets I'm about to reveal to you. So, what I did wasn't really anything special.
However, the fact that my sons and I have been able to help nine out of 10 agents and advisors to become significantly better at identifying and attracting the right prospects to them, and those agents and advisors are now closing a much higher percentage of their sales calls, is what makes our training unique and very special.
Attracting the right prospects
The ability to close nine out of 10 people with whom you meet starts by making sure you are constantly attracting the right people to you, and that's about properly structuring your marketing program. It begins with identifying a specific immediate problem that you can solve for people. The more immediate and important the problem is, the more likely they will want your help.
One of the fundamental truths about sales is that no one really wants to pay for anything. The only reason people will ever want to meet with you, and pay you for your products and services right now, is because you can solve one or more of their most immediate and important problems right now.
Essentially, it means that people will only seek and pay for the products and services that solve their most immediate problems. For example:
- A sick person will seek out a doctor.
- A person with legal problems will seek out a lawyer.
- A person needing a mortgage will seek out a mortgage broker.
Now it's about determining which of those people will most want to solve that problem. Who will benefit most from your products and services? Do you want to be working with people age 25 or people age 45? Who has the ability to pay, can be seen on a favorable basis, and can qualify for your product or service?
Finally, it's about determining the best ways to effectively deliver your special message of how you help people to your best prospects, so that you can attract them to you.
Your special message
When people ask you, "What do you do?" how do you normally reply? Do you answer with the title of your job description? For example, I'm a financial advisor, I sell life insurance and annuity products, I work with an insurance marketing company, I help people save for retirement, or whatever you do? What does this mean to the person who asked you? Not much. It tells very little about you.
You also run the risk of immediately scaring off people if you launch into a blatant pitch for your product and services.
The most magnetic way of attracting people to you is not by telling people what you do, but instead letting them know how what you do helps other people. And this is where your unique selling proposition comes into play! It has a variety of uses. It can be used when you are having a conversation with people, or in your ads, invitations, and sales letters. And, you can use it when you're speaking to a group or as a guest on a local radio or television program.
As an example, here is how you can reply to the question "What do you do?"
"You know how people today are more and more concerned about their retirement, what with credit card debt, increasing income tax rates, the faltering social security and the higher cost of living? Well, what I do is help them take charge of their finances to eliminate debt, and save for retirement, without them spending any additional money or changing their current lifestyle, so they can start taking care of themselves and their families once again."
You see how this paints a picture of how what you do helps others? Your statement focuses on some of the challenges in the world today that most people are aware of and can easily identify with. It demonstrates your purpose, which is to help other people solve their challenges. It is a focused reply. It demands you understand what you do in the context of helping others.
Now, if a person identifies with this -- if they are finding it harder to make ends meet and are concerned about their retirement -- do you think they are likely to want to know more? Probably so.
By stating how what you do helps others, you will have already created a good impression and you'll cement that by turning the conversation over to them. Remember, it's all in the questions.
Contrary to the popular opinion that as long as you're talking, you're in control, the opposite is actually true. You control the conversation by letting go of your need to speak. And, that is about asking questions and actually listening to what they have to say.
What's the problem or situation they want to resolve? What solution are they looking for? What's their most wanted outcome? I think it was Perry Marshall who said, "If someone is out shopping for a drill, they are not searching for a drill, they want a hole!"
Now, it becomes much easier for you to turn that conversation into an appointment -- if you're talking to the right person.
Once you have the appointment, then it comes down to conducting a thorough fact-find, and asking questions to help those people to see and understand the problems they are facing right now, so that they want to take immediate action to solve one of those problems.
Another important thing I've learned is, if you solve small problems, you'll make small money; if you solve big problems, you'll make big money.
Now think about that for a moment. Don't attorneys and doctors make more money than store clerks and waiters? That's because the problems they solve are much more significant and important to people's lives. Thus, people are willing to pay more for the services of these highly skilled professionals.
The fact-find is much more than getting the facts about what prospects have and need. It's really about listening to what they say and then asking clarifying question. The more you get them to talk about their most immediate and important problems, the more emotionally involved they'll get in the process, and the more they'll want to proceed with your solution.
Finally, it's about finding the easiest way to make them a client. You'll find it's much easier to sell a client, than it is to sell a prospect. Closing nine out of 10 people you see is actually very easy if you use the insider secrets outlined above and establish a marketing program to attract the right people to you.
*For further information, or to contact this author, please leave a comment and your e-mail address in the forum below.