Sell the way your prospects buy

By Jim Ruta | April 21 2015 09:00AM
How do I convince prospects to let me program their complete life insurance portfolio?

Congratulations on trying to do the full insurance job with your prospects. It is the professional thing to do. Unfortunately, it’s not always the right thing to do – if you want to help.

Few advisors even try to round out a complete life insurance estate so giving it the effort is very commendable. The trouble is that not every client is prepared to buy that way. That’s what matters. We need to sell the way our prospects buy.

Think about what you are asking when you recommend the full portfolio review. You need a lot of confidential information and even more confidential feelings about their situation. You’re asking to get very close, very fast. Not every prospect is up for that because:

- They may not be certain about how much they trust you

- They may wonder if their budget can take it

- The potential time commitment may worry them

- Value of their effort may be an issue

- They may feel overwhelmed at the idea

Many reasons can conspire to make doing “it” all at once a bad idea. Not considering your options at a time like that can make a bad situation worse because, if you persist in your requirement of “a full insurance plan or nothing”, you may get nothing. Clients don’t win that way. Neither do you.

This situation is analogous to seeing your doctor. The “best thing” for you may be a full medical and tests to determine your complete state of health to help forestall any potential medical issues. Yet, you may have the same doubts about your doctor you have with your insurance agent. If the doctor pushed the full package, she might just push you right out the door. For doctors that’s called “non-compliance”. For us, it’s a “no sale”.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Smart doctors and professional agents understand this and often start with one issue at a time and nurse you back to medical or financial health over time. They both start with top priorities. It’s “triage” – taking on and solving issues in priority order. Doctors do medical triage. Professional agents do “insurance triage” and handle the most important insurance issues first.

Always triage your prospects’ financial situation first. Ask yourself “What’s the number one thing these people need to do today to make their insurance program better?” Attend to that first and you’ll be most client-centered.

The value is clear. You do the most valuable service first. You get a prospect to take some action to their advantage. You prove your value in a small thing and demonstrate you are worthy of the bigger ones. You get a client.

It’s always easier to speak to clients than to prospects. Get started somewhere and work towards your goal. When necessary, start small and develop your programming, one step at a time. You may wish you could do it all at once and fix everything, but trying may stop you from accomplishing anything. Slow and steady wins the race.

What can I do to create a “best in class” advisor reputation in my community?

Be a 100 Percenter. Many advisors are good, but they are just 99 Percenters. They get 99% of the job done and then stop. Sometimes they plan it that way. Sometimes they just don’t know any better.

The result is the same. You will always be known for that last 1%. If it’s amazing, so will you be. If it falls short, you will too. It all hinges on that 1%. Here are a few examples:

- You arrange a meeting with a great new prospect but don’t send a classy reminder note. That leaves their appearance up to chance and you miss a wonderful opportunity to show how professional you really are. One percent.

- You have a great client meeting but don’t send a thank-you note for their time and consideration. It’s not required, but it is very professional and elegant. 100 Percenters do it.

- Maybe you make a sale but don’t thank the prospect. Mistake. Recognize that people have options. Thanking them for choosing you is just the decent and professional thing to do. One percent.

- What if you promise your client a copy of their data discovery sheet but never send it? You’ve unintentionally cast doubt into your relationship about whether you can be trusted. If you say you will, do it. Failing to, is a 99 Percenter problem.

- How about when you sell a sizeable policy but leave the underwriting process to your staff, the company office and the doctors – leaving your prospect all alone. Is there a scarier thing for a client than a full medical from a doctor they don’t know? No, you aren’t obliged to walk new clients through the process but 100 Percenters do. It creates 100 Percenter loyalty.

- If you receive a great referral but never notify the referrer how things went or to thank them, that’s 99 percent. They took a chance referring you and they don’t get any credit. Don’t expect any more. They think you don’t care.

- You promise to refer your prospect to a lawyer and forget. It’s another blown chance to build your prestige as a 100 Percenter.

- Let’s say you do a great job selling life insurance but never do an annual review or communicate with them again. There’s a 99 Percenter. Know this. Clients experience buyer’s remorse and doubt whether you were helping them or yourself. Regular reviews highlighting policy positives and repairing deficiencies means you are there to help them first. Regular communication of all kinds proves you are still in business and available to help them and their referrals.

- Many advisors do a good job delivering policies but don’t include policy wallets. Another missed 100 percenter opportunity to build a relationship and show your client how much you care about them and their business. No policy carrier (wallet, box, binder, vault…) cost will exceed the value of the client relationship over the long run. Show you care and they will show they care too.

Caring. It’s the essence of being a 100 Percenter. It’s what makes you, “best in class”.