In this article from Insurance Journal’s archives, Jim Ruta explains how to maintain momentum during the life insurance sales process.
Question: How do I maintain client enthusiasm and conviction for life insurance and the sales process as we transition through the necessary planning, data collection, solution development and implementation? We are losing momentum.
This is a great question that gets at the key to building a very successful life insurance business. As I reread your question, I can’t help but think of the missing link in your approach. Your question suggests a technical, clinical, and unemotional approach. Yes, factual is necessary but more is required to help prospects do what they need to do to get the results they want. Unless there is an emotional connection with the situation, there is no “want”, just “need” and people don’t buy what they need, they buy what they want. You must get at their “want”.
You may not be applying sufficient “heat” at the beginning of your sales process, so the client cools off too fast. When I say insufficient heat, I mean it seems like you are not making a strong enough emotional connection both with the client and between the client and the importance of their problem. If your sales process comes off as strictly clinical, then prospects tend to “wander off” to more stimulating projects and you lose them. Momentum disappears and so can the sale.
All things being equal, people like to deal with people they like. So, the first connection question is “Do you like the prospect?” And do they like you? If you quickly feel like they could be fast friends, you can have the influence you want and the “relationship heat” you need to help best. Relationship heat flows easily to “solution heat” - the desire to solve the problem at hand now. With this foundation, you have the start you need to go the distance.
Top advisors look for this connection and this heat when prospecting. When they find it, they know they are going into business with someone they want as a client because it works both ways. The larger the case the more crucial this feeling is to your success. Why start a case with someone you don’t want as a client?
But of course, there is more to developing a good client. Tom Hegna says that the life insurance business is no longer an information business. You can get all of that you need with just a few clicks on a google search. No, today we are in a “words, questions, and stories business”. I would add “solution leadership” to that list – people are so busy and starved for mental bandwidth today that anything you can do to help them with their “sales homework” will keep them moving. Lead them through your process to the answers they want.
Which brings up another potential momentum killer, process. Have you made your process clear to your prospect? Or is there a sense of randomness and surprise to what happens? Clarity attracts results. Confusion repels it. Create a simple, written process with reasonable steps, expected outcomes, necessary participants, respective responsibilities, and tentative timing from beginning to end. Then build momentum by keeping your prospect up to date on their progress. Show them that they and their needs are your priority. Explaining this gives your prospect clarity about what is going on and maintains momentum.
The process that starts with enough “heat” to solve the problem at the beginning keeps your prospect stays “warm” for a long as it takes to solve it. That heat comes from amazing, disturbing, or intriguing the prospect at the start. This is not a facts-based approach, it’s feelings-based. This “hard facts versus soft facts” approach was first described by icons Hal Zlotnick and Don Pooley in their “Broad Concept” approach presentation in the “1979 Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Million Dollar Round Table”. It’s the “Broad Concept” because it has a broad appeal and applicability across all markets and emotionally connects clients with their problems.
Further ignite the heat in the prospect to solve their problem by first setting up the sales process with relevant stories that lead to asking pointed, probing questions and using words calculated to create interest and desire. Using this strategy at the beginning of your sales process helps your prospect acknowledge and then personally identify with their problem so they own it. You want them to own their problem and appreciate its severity and importance, so it becomes a want and not just a need. When they own the problem and want to fix it now, they will chase you to help them get rid of it. Now that’s the kind of momentum you want.
Heat up the initial part of your process so that energy and momentum can carry through to the proper conclusion of the sale. You can do this, but you must allow yourself to be more expressive despite the technical nature of the game being played. Heating them up at the beginning is the missing link to top performance.