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eINDEPENDENT 01/26/2012

Insurance Sales Tips: 4 Things You Need to Know to Get in the Door

According to the American Council of Life Insurers, Americans purchased $2.9 trillion of new life insurance in 2010, 3 percent less than they purchased the year before. By the end of 2010, total life insurance coverage in America was $18.4 trillion. That was an uptick of 2 percent from 2009. Today, industry experts predict this resurgence will continue to grow through 2012, counteracting the downturn that shadowed the industry in the years following 911.

You know that prospects, leads and customers are out there. But how do you reach them? How do you engage and connect with them? You’ve cold called, sent e-mails, perhaps dabbled in social networks or even delivered an old-fashioned newsletter. And still no face-to-face meeting? Are you discouraged? Well, Dale Carnegie once said, “Discouragement is one of the stepping stones to becoming successful.” The other one, he said, is failure. Mr. Carnegie was one of the most dynamic salesmen of all time.

In the spirit of Carnegie’s success, following are several insurance sales tips to help you get your foot in the door.

1. Now or Now Strategy

When the next step in your prospect relationship is to meet face-to-face or set up a phone call, try the option of a two time choice method. Simply ask the potential customer if they would like to meet or discuss at 10:45 a.m. or if 2:15 p.m. would be better for them. By offering two different time options, it establishes a clear choice for the prospect. And you take control of getting the appointment. Demonstrate that you are a salesperson who is punctual and respectful of their time.

2. Mirror Mirror on the Desk

One insurance sales tip that has opened doors for many professional salespeople is the practice of keeping a mirror on their desk while making calls and meetings over the phone. It’s all about the smile. The person on the other end of the line can tell when you are smiling during a phone conversation. Prospects are more likely to be open and engaged when speaking with a salesperson who is smiling and positive as opposed to one who is frowning or deadpan. Try establishing a relationship through those pearly whites.

3. Ask and You Shall Receive

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, one way for salespeople to get face time with prospects is to simply ask the prospect for advice. This technique works as most people love giving advice as it puts them in the role of a professional and an expert—it’s flattering. By asking for feedback on your product, it tells the prospect you value their opinion. However, the “ask” technique must be done on an honest basis. A deceived prospect will see through a phony pitch and that would more than likely end in a disastrous relationship.

4. Go Green

When the next step in sales is to meet with your prospect it may be the perfect time to send them a gift. While much marketing swag is tossed into the trash, the gift of a living plant is a welcome present; it remains in their office, on a desk and your business on top-of-mind.

Once the plant is delivered, you more than likely will soon hear from your potential customer about its arrival and that may be the perfect window of opportunity to get your foot in the door.