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Key to Making the Sale: Talk Less, Listen More


There is an old insurance industry standard that says, “the sale is made in the fact finder”. For years people have accepted this as true, but how often do you reflect on first meetings or phone calls? If you do, how often do you conclude that you have already lost the sale?

Odds are that you do not spend much time in this type of reflection but it might be exactly what you need to make 2016 your best year ever.

If you have been in the financial services business for a week or a half century you know that you will not get every sale, but is there a way to increase the number of times your prospects say “Yes”?

When you look at the most successful agents and advisors there are a few things they do well in a first appointment.
## Talk Less, Listen More##

The best producers are active listeners, meaning they ask questions and allow the prospect or client to do most of the talking.

Ask the Right Questions###

They make sure to cover the information and the emotions when they go through the discovery process with someone for the first time. Great advisors get the facts and they tie them together with the emotional reasons to move forward.

It is these emotional reasons to move forward that will be the main driver for any action the client takes. Most of you are accustomed to asking the financial questions.

Do you have a plan? Is it working? Where are you today (balance sheet)? What are your future goals?###

By gathering all the financial information you can make an informed recommendation for the right amount of life insurance. Getting them to buy that insurance will center on understanding their “why”, their emotional reason to buy the insurance.

Gathering all this information and understanding their reasons for wanting insurance is critical but it is not the end of the process.

Stop for Yellow Lights

In his book, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play, Mahan Khalsa says one of the biggest reasons for a lost sale is driving quickly through what he calls “yellow lights”. Yellow lights are the things that could eventually come back to destroy the sale.

Most salespeople avoid these by speeding up and dismissing them as remote possibilities. The best salespeople stop and work through these issues at the beginning of the process, rather than address them once they have become the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

What are the yellow lights in the life insurance process?

Many times, it is the long time frame from the client’s decision to “buy” to the time the policy is issued. It can be further complicated by the rating classes that can make insurance more expensive.

Think about it from the clients perspective:

You thought it made sense to buy life insurance two months ago when there was a salesperson sitting in front you, but now it just seems like a hassle and it is 25% or 50% more expensive than you thought it would be. If you were buying anything else and the process took that long and the price changed that much, would you still follow through with the purchase?  

The best advisors bring clarity to the situation. They know a prospect with deeper understanding of the buying process and a clearer picture of the most likely outcome is much more likely to become a client.

They ask a few key questions in order to more accurately frame their prospect’s expectations of time and price.

1) Health History - Have you ever used tobacco/nicotine products? Have you seen a doctor or been to the hospital in the last ten years? Do you have a family history of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes?

2) Lifestyle -In the last five years have you used recreational drugs? Have you been treated for drug or alcohol abuse? Any history of illegal behavior?

3) Current Health - What is your current height and weight? What medications do you take?

As an example of how these question can help your case, let us consider the #1 reason your client would be issued a higher premium than quoted – Build (the client is simply too short for their weight)!

Asking the basic, important questions allows you more accuracy in initial quoting and is vital when considering the client’s budget.

These health and lifestyle questions, if overlooked, can have a big impact on the price of insurance. Asking the questions at the initial visit allows you to frame the process in a way that is efficient and accurate. It can cut down tremendously on the underwriting process, thus delivering your policy in a more timely manner. It is a win-win situation for you and your client.

Next Steps###

Once you have collected all the information and have educated your client on the process, let The Milner Group do the rest! Take a SNAP App to complete the case! Then move on to your next client.

Learn more about on how top advisors frame the sales process.

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Posted in Life and tagged Best Practices, Product, Retirement Planning
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