20 Ways to Make Selling Over the Phone Easier
Technology continues to change how people communicate and live. Insurance companies recognize these new habits and invest in developing online applications. This transition from paper opens the opportunity for well-informed agents to sell over the phone without a face-to-face meeting with their client. Phone sales aren’t for every agent, but those who embrace the telephone as another sales model could enjoy the following benefits:
- Lower Costs. Paying for gas, breakfasts, lunches, and dinner meetings can be expensive. Selling over the phone eliminates some overhead expenses associated with face-to-face meetings.
- Leverage Time. Your time is an asset. Eliminating the commute between meetings allows you to spend more time selling.
- Align With Customer Preference. You might prefer face-to-face meetings, but does your client? They might prefer a phone call instead of having you in their home or traveling to your office. Ask your clients their communication preferences, and respect their choice.
Selling over the phone requires time and practice. It is important to develop a sales presentation that works for you and your clients. Below are 20 tips to help you get started selling over the phone.
1. Prepare Your Work Space (and Yourself). Create an enjoyable work space by removing clutter and distractions. Keep the area clean and smelling fresh. You may find that dressing nice improves your confidence. You don’t need a three-piece suit, but you might want to change out of your pajamas.
2. Categorize Your Prospects. Your message will be different depending on where the client is in the sales cycle. For example, your conversation with an existing client will be different from your message to a new prospect you have never met. Categorize your calls into three or four groups, and then customize the message for each group. Develop groups that align with your business model. Some popular groups include: current clients, new prospects you have never spoken with, and prospects you have spoken with but who haven’t enrolled. Once the categories are created, start making lists for each. Before calling, make sure the individuals are not on any Do Not Call lists.
3. Write Down What You Want to Say. Don’t script every word, but jot down key phrases and questions. This will help create a general flow for the call and give you the opportunity to adjust what you say down the road. Keep your message simple and avoid using industry jargon that the typical individual won’t understand.
4. Prepare for Objections. Someone is going to say “no.” Most people have the same objections, so being prepared to handle these will increase the likelihood of a sale.
5. Know the Process. Electronic applications are a necessity when selling over the phone. Become an expert on the process. Even the most intuitive e-application can hang up some clients. Being familiar with the application process allows you to guide clients through it.
6. Practice. Rehearse what you want to say in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. Practicing will help reduce “ahhs,” “umms,” and other unnecessary noises that can make you sound unprofessional.
During the Call
7. Smile. Smiling can make your voice sound warmer. Tone is important, and this approach may improve your client’s mood, put them at ease, and make them more receptive to what you have to say.
8. Stand Up. Or, at least, sit up straight. Good posture can increase your confidence.
9. Control Your Rate. Conversational speech ranges between 120 and 150 words per minute, according to VirtualSpeech. Speak at a rate where the individual can understand what you are saying. Record yourself and count the words. You might be surprised at how fast you are talking.
10. Speak Clearly. Your message should be clear and simple. Eliminate unnecessary words or phrases that might confuse your prospect.
11. Say Their Name. Incorporate your client’s name into the call. This will help build rapport and keep them engaged. But don’t make the call awkward by overusing their name. Say their name three or four times throughout the call.
12. Ask Questions. Selling over the phone should be a conversation. Ask open-ended questions that keep the client engaged and on the phone. Prepare questions before the call and be ready to use them to re-engage the client.
13. Small Sales. Incorporate questions that allow the client to respond favorably to your message. The best sales people use a series of questions and commitments to lead the prospect through the process.
14. Focus on the “Why.” A common mistake agents make when selling over the phone is focusing on who they are and what they do. If you want to increase your closing ratio over the phone, focus on why the client will benefit from the products or services you offer.
15. Build Momentum and Keep Calling. Were you told no? Keep calling. Did you make a sale? Keep calling. Block off time to make calls, and only make calls during that time. The more calls you make in a row the more confident you will become. Your presentation will improve, and you will build momentum. Don’t stop making calls for distractions such as emails or follow-ups. Stay focused and keep calling!
After the Call
16. Follow-Ups. If you committed to any follow-ups, follow through. This shows the client you are committed—even if they did not buy from you. If they did buy from you, make sure you have a follow-up process in place to maximize retention and keep the door open for additional sales in the future.
17. Listen to Your Calls. Record your calls and listen to them. How can you improve your message? Was your message clear? How much did you talk compared to the client? Were there any objections you did not know how to handle? Selling over the phone is a process. Continue to look for ways to improve your calls.
18. Make Adjustments. Try new phrases and questions. Keep track of what clients respond to favorably and eliminate phrases that hurt the presentation.
19. Don’t Get Discouraged. You will be told “no.” You might get cursed at. Don’t get discouraged. Remember, they are not rejecting you; they are rejecting your message. Continue to master your craft to reduce the number of “no’s” you receive.
20. Have Fun! Life is short, so have fun! If you believe in what you are selling and truly want to help others, focus on educating versus selling. It won’t seem like work.
How SureBridge Can Help
SureBridge has a comprehensive suite of products that can be sold over the phone. SureBridge’s point-of-sale tool allows agents to quote and submit applications online, making phone sales convenient for both the agent and client. The client can choose from one of three over-the-phone signature options: voice, email, or text. SureBridge also provides e-policy delivery to clients who do not want a printed version of their policy.
Now is the perfect time to incorporate phone sales into your practice. Reach out to your sales director for more information on selling SureBridge products over the phone.
Seth Groff is director of life insurance sales and development at SureBridge.CH/SB000310