Cold calling can get a bad rap. Often, it is associated with entry level jobs and getting hung up on for hours each day. The reality is, however, that cold calling can be one of the secrets to generating promising leads for insurance agents. It's not enough to simply call dozens of people each day or show up at business after business - as an agent, you have to execute good technique to turn cold calls into solid leads. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Have a plan
Just dialing up businesses or individuals isn't going to help your cause. It is essential that you plan ahead so that when you get someone on the phone, you know what you're doing. This means doing your research before picking up the phone. While you don't need to do an in-depth investigation of the person you're calling, you'd be surprised how much a quick online search can turn up. It will not only help you make the appropriate sales pitches, but will also help you feel more confident in what you have to say.
Respect the gatekeeper
Whether you're calling into an office or showing up at their door, it's likely that you'll run into a receptionist of some kind. Even though this person may not be the ultimate person you want to deliver your pitch to, don't make the mistake of being rude or short with him or her. You don't know how much influence the receptionist has over the ultimate decision-maker, and many professionals make a habit of asking their assistants if visitors treated them with respect upon arrival. If there is a nameplate on the receptionist's desk, use their first name and be as engaging as you would with your client.
Make it personal
No one wants to hear a robot giving them a tired old sales pitch. Whether you are in person or on the phone with a potential client, find something personal and interesting to talk about, whether it's a shared love of a local sports team or plans for an upcoming holiday. It will immediately change the tone of the conversation from formulaic to personal.
Making calls all day or driving from client to client may prompt you to fall into bad habits, which is bound to turn off potential customers. If you're on the phone, try standing and facing a mirror. While it may feel a bit silly, it will also make you smile, which will give you a more confident sound over the phone. Recording yourself is another great way to get a little more objective with how you come across. Do you sound rushed, annoyed or unsure? You may be unaware of how you sound to the person on the phone while you're speaking, but hearing it played back will likely change your outlook.
Of course, not every call or stop is going to result in a sale. Nonetheless, it will behoove you to keep careful records of all of your sales pitches. First of all, you can get an idea of how many appointments you set per call, giving you averages that you can work to improve. Plus, if you end up revisiting a potential client, you'll be able to go in prepared. What did you pitch this company or person last time? Why did they turn it down? Paying attention to these details will not only help you customize exactly what you're trying to sell to your potential client, but it will also make them feel as if you are going to give them the personal attention they want in the future.