When you sell insurance, communicating successfully can be the determining factor in whether you close the sale or waste your time. With confidence and trust at the core of any strong client relationship, making a connection with a prospect hinges on making an emotional connection with them. The best way to ensure that every interaction is successful is to start honing your communication skills.
Selling Insurance: Overcoming Communication Challenges & Barriers
When Communication Skills Don’t Come Naturally
Communicating effectively doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it is a skill that can be learned. Reviewing some basic communication and insurance sales tips may improve your ability to make a meaningful connection with a prospect, client, co-worker, or another insurance industry professional that will help you grow your business and increase revenue.
Online Introductions – First Impressions Count
Many of your initial introductions are online. You should consider your agency website, social media sites, and emails “the front line” in your insurance sales and marketing strategy. Garnering attention for your products and services in an industry flooded with competitors is easy with these 10 sales insurance sales tips that focus on how you are communicating online:
- Use graphics and photos that appeal to your niche in the insurance sales marketplace.
- Use colors and fonts that will be easy to read and will appeal to customers visually.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping content relevant and current.
- Consider your words carefully with respect for your prospect’s time and values.
- Avoid slang and overuse of acronyms.
- Don’t neglect the basics – have someone you trust proofread everything you put online that represents you or your agency, including social media posts, blog entries, and auto-response emails. Your reputation is on display with every post – so make sure you appear knowledgeable and professional without any spelling or grammatical errors that might distract someone from your mission.
- Remember to include your basic contact information in every form of online communication, including reference to your email, cell phone, and website.
- Make every interaction meaningful. Auto-response emails, for instance, can be timed to coincide with enrollment periods and more personal events, like birthdays (especially if they are approaching a milestone like 65) or anniversaries.
- Always include a prompt to contact you with questions or to address a specific need they have.
- Demonstrating your appreciation for your prospects and clients isn’t complicated. Say “thank you” for their time and trust.
Review marketing insurance ideas that will showcase your expertise and communicate your commitment to your customers.
Avoiding Uncomfortable Phone Calls
Preparing to communicate effectively over the phone can keep you from wasting your time with an uncomfortable and unproductive phone call with a prospective customer. Your tone should be friendly and warm. Pause long enough for your prospect to respond, and listen carefully. Check your volume with a co-worker or friend – if you don’t speak loud enough, or your tone comes across as too aggressive to someone, continue to practice your phone calls until you are satisfied that you are setting the right tone for the conversation.
Without seeing you, your voice is the only way you can communicate your interest, empathy, and knowledge. Engage your prospect with questions to pinpoint their specific needs – and prepare a smooth transition as you set up your next call or meeting, with the intention of setting up and closing the sale.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
We’ve all heard the expression, but when it comes to face-to-face meetings with insurance sales prospects or clients, non-verbal communication can make or break a sale. Whether you meet a prospect at an insurance event or as a referral from a client, your body language is as important as the words you choose. Be aware of important non-verbal communication skills:
- Maintain eye contact
- Practice a strong handshake
- Mirror the other person’s actions
- When sitting or standing, avoid invading someone’s personal space
- Gesture naturally
Body language is going to be significant when you are meeting with prospects, clients, or other industry professionals. Navigating the fine line between casual friendliness and professional behavior can be tricky, so make sure that your stance and demeanor reflect the image you want to portray for your business at all times.
Overcoming Verbal Communication Challenges
In any conversation with a prospective insurance client, you want to be likeable, friendly, and helpful, but it can be a challenge to communicate successfully when you are meeting strangers. Small talk can certainly put someone at ease, and it’s important to know how to navigate the social part of the conversation, but when you start talking business, you want them to continue feeling comfortable.
- Ask guided questions that will enable you to explore their specific needs and preferences
- Be purposeful in your tone and inflection
- Don’t rush to conclusions
- Listen carefully for clues in what will benefit a prospect
- Focus on the concerns your prospect has expressed, and how you’d like to help them
- Respond to your prospect’s needs by describing the benefits of your products and services without seeming pushy
Guiding the conversation toward a sale is the ultimate goal, so making and effort to build trust and develop a rapport is imperative.
The Fear of Public Speaking
Many people have a fear of speaking publicly in front of groups for good reason. It’s difficult to capture everyone’s attention, keep them interested and entertained, and be able to address any unexpected questions or comments that may be voiced.
If you have to speak publicly in front of a group, at an insurance information event, convention, or seminar:
- Know what you’ll say and how you’ll say it.
- Create a strategy in advance.
- Make sure your integrity, knowledge, and passion to meet the needs of your clients shines through.
- Make sure your “on-stage” presence is in sync with your one-on-one conversations.
- Be prepared to improvise and answer questions.
Communication is one of the most important factors in demonstrating leadership and sales skills. Employees need to understand what is expected of them, and clients need to feel confident in the consistency of your service. Every interaction you have with a client can be exponentially important to your business, leading to potential referral and ancillary product business in the future. Practice the insurance sales tips we’ve discussed – and you’ll be ready to successfully communicate the value of your products, services, and brand.