What’s the easiest thing in the world to sell?

One could make a good case for insurance. If that wasn’t that the first thing that popped into your mind, consider the universal values to which insurance appeals:

  • We want to feel secure, and insurance helps provide us with security. Even before we need to use it, we benefit from the feeling of security that simply owning insurance provides.
  • We want to enhance and protect our wealth, and insurance is designed to do exactly that.
  • We want things that are convenient and easy to use, and what could be easier to use than insurance? Buy it and the hard part’s over; all you have to do after that is go about your daily life.
  • We like to feel good about ourselves. When we make intelligent choices that leverage our current assets to protect our future, we get a little boost to our esteem by having done some proactive planning.

The Myth of Sisyphus

If you’re not ready to quit your day job and start selling insurance, don’t worry: you’re in good company. My guess is that all but the best insurance salespeople would beg to differ with the idea that selling insurance is a slam dunk. If it was so easy, why wouldn’t everyone choose to do it? Ask your typical insurance salesperson if what they do is easy and you probably won’t hear many of them say “absolutely.” Why is that?

One reason: these universal values that we have as humans and to which insurance appeals are so fundamental, we don’t give them a lot of conscious attention. Instead of looking at insurance as a solution, we tend to think of it as “overhead,” something we have to buy to be in compliance with the law, or because the failure to do so would be short-sided and financially risky.

Selling insurance requires you to connect your products to the values and needs of your customers. When done in a positive, collaborative way, insurance sellers become solution providers.

Here are some tips for keeping the sales process both positive and collaborative:

  • Ask: Evaluating the values and needs of your customers requires you to understand their business and family situations, their financial objectives, their tolerance of or aversion to risk, their plans for the future and a whole profile of other qualities unique to the type of insurance you sell. The best way to learn about these needs is to start with some open questions (those questions that solicit an explanation rather than a “yes,” “no” or other short answer response).

Examples:

  • Why do you want/need insurance?
  • What’s the most important thing to you when it comes to buying insurance?
  • Where do want to be financially in five years? Ten years? At retirement?
  • How does this fit in with your other business/household objectives?

Listen: After soliciting the customer’s input, listen without interrupting. Pay just as much attention to what’s not said: What topics make them uncomfortable? How well do they understand the specifics of this type of insurance? Are they following you, or are they just nodding in agreement so as not to appear ignorant?Remember that people don’t tend to shop for insurance very often, so they may be less familiar with the process, features and benefits of your products than with those things they buy more frequently. Make it easy for people to ask questions; the more comfortable you make the sales process, the better your collaboration and the sooner you’ll establish trust. Suggest: Once you understand the values and needs of your customer, suggest only those policies and options that make sense for their unique situation. The way in which you suggest these are key to closing the sale. Remember that buying insurance from you is ultimately the customer’s decision. By suggesting rather than directing a course of action you maintain a collaborative relationship with the customer, that essential component wherein the customer shares both responsibility and reward for the decisions you make together. Refrain: Avoid overselling the customer. Overselling is a short-sighted view, particularly when it comes to insurance; at some point customers will be lured away by lower premiums which are more in-line with their actual needs. Take the long view; build a relationship based on trust and you’ll earn more through repeat business and referrals than you’ll make on any one sales prospect.

Maybe selling insurance isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it can be one of the most rewarding and profitable if you keep the focus on what’s of value to your customers.

The Easiest Sale in the World? via the Customer Service Blog by Impact Learning Systems