Whether you’re new to insurance sales or have been doing it for a long time, you’re sure to agree, one of the most challenging aspects of the job is making cold calls. It is so hard, in fact, that a lot of agents forego the practice altogether and sell only to prospects they know or people who come to them.
Cold calling is very different from business-to-business selling because you are calling consumers at their homes for the most part; and unlike business-to-business selling, this is more like telemarketing. The calls are unexpected, and you have no way of knowing whether the prospect is going to be interested in what you have to offer. But then again, maybe they will.
Here are a few techniques you can try to turn cold calls into warm ones:
- Be customer conscious in your approach. When a prospect first answers the phone and establishes that they are the person you are trying to reach, introduce yourself, and then incorporate a question about their current coverage into the conversation to engage them right away.
- Ask a lot of leading questions. Good questions to ask include ‘How many kids do you have? How many years to go until you retire? What kind of work do you do?’ If you are comfortable sharing your own personal information with a prospect this is the time to do it. Establishing a bond – a personal connection -- can only help with the sales process.
- Hit your prospects in the heart not the head. People buy emotionally much more than they do rationally, so keep talking about their family and you will have a chance at doing your sales presentation for them.
- Keep the conversation short and simple. This is not the time to debate semantics or try to explain how the insurance industry works. Your goal at this stage is to secure an invitation to set up a sales appointment where the prospect will be able to actually secure coverage. Collect only the information you need to take the conversation to the next stage. At this point you will not need to collect much more information than the prospect’s full name, birthdate and address.
- Hire a warm transfer service to chase down leads for you. For agents who simply don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone and making that first call, there’s a service called Live-Lead that does the cold-call on the agent’s behalf, checks to see if the customer is ready to talk, and if they are instantly transfers the call to the agent. More information is available at www.liveleadpros.com.
Remember, in order to be effective at cold calling one must first take the “cold” out of the call. Get good at that and your sales numbers are sure to increase dramatically.