CompleteMarkets
Topics such as "How to sell like hell," "Presentations that change the game" "Break the rules, make new rules, and be heard through the noise" "The Comp Contrarian - become a Workers' Comp Guru" "Change the conversation. Capture the account."

SELLING ON EMOTION

Sales 101 teaches that people buy on emotion and then justify their decision with logic. Yet, I would probably win a bet with you that most of your presentation is logic driven. 


Today is a good day to eliminate "logic" as the foundation of your presentation. 


Touch your prospects’ hearts, and their minds will follow – moving you closer to the sale. Here are a few examples of how to trigger prospects; emotional buttons:


  • Lurking Liability


"Sam, our job is to work with our clients to keep attorneys from discovering and exploiting ‘lurking liability’ in their businesses. For example, when our client, Sam Spade, owner of Sam's chain of Mystery Restaurants faced a nasty liability lawsuit, here’s how we worked with him and his team to protect his assets.” (Describe what you did and the result). We can do the same for you.


  • CLOSED!


“Harry, no business owner wants a CLOSED sign over their door. 


“When you get a call at 4:20 in the morning, telling you that your building is on fire, one of the first persons you’d want to contact is your insurance agent.  We can work with you, your CPA, and attorney to do an appraisal of the value of your building and its contents, potential loss of income, and so forth, so that your insurance company can write a check that will keep your business in business. Our job is to keep CLOSED from happening to you.”


  • Your check or the insurance company's check? 


"Sam, what would happen if your driver loses control of a loaded truck that jumps the curb into a building and injures four people? You and I would want to make sure that your insurance company, rather than you, picks up the tab for attorney fees, hospital and medical provider bills for the victims, contractors who repair the building, lost income for the building’s tenants – and possibly more.


“Above all, you and I want to make sure that attorneys can't get at your personal assets and any of your business assets in a liability lawsuit. Let's meet with your in-house and outside financial team to play some "what ifs." Make sense? 


  • Swiss Cheese 

“Harry, just like Swiss cheese, (bring cheese and crackers to snack on as you go through this presentation) insurance has holes in it. When you or your business suffers an accident or disaster, you need to know what your insurance company will – and won’t – cover. Let’s take a few minutes to identify any potential gaps in your current coverage and see how we can close them. Does this work for you? (Sell by exclusion, rather than inclusion). “



The idea is to stop focusing on coverage and amounts (which will be the ultimate result).

Encourage prospects to give you complete information on their business, provide access to their financial records, put you at the top of the list when they make changes to their operations, and introduce you to their other trusted advisers (by the way, working with these advisers will help you garner effective introductions to new prospects – their clients).


Remember, your primary goal is to make sure that the insurance companies write their checks for the amounts that your clients expect them to write! 



BE LIKE MIKE – LET FAILURE BREED SUCCESS

These words (they’re almost poetry) belong on posters in schools and kids' bedrooms everywhere – and in the minds of you and your producers:

I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career/ I've lost almost 300 games/ 26 times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot/ and missed./ I've failed over, and over and over again in my life./ And that is why/ I succeed.
 
 
          Michael Jordan

You might recognize them from the script of a recent Nike commercial that shows Jordan exiting his car under the United Center and entering the arena. The spot might or might or not sell shoes, but it's a great way to promote a critical and often overlooked truth: failure has an integral relation to success.

People who are afraid to fail will coast though life and never come close to their potential. Failure – honest failure despite genuine effort – is an underrated teacher and motivator, as well as a sign you’re striving at close to your full capacity.

If you're not failing from time to time, you're not pushing yourself; and if you're not pushing yourself, your life is destined to be a sorry litany of mightas and couldas.
Of all the ways writers and thinkers have expressed this sentiment throughout the ages ("A man's reach should exceed his grasp . . ." “If at first, you don’t succeed …” and so forth), few are likely to resonate in our culture as well as the Nike commercial, written by Jamie Barrett after conversations with Jordan.
The moral of this blog: Fail to succeed – and dare to fail for unbelievable success!

Here are a few ways you can apply this principle to selling:

  • Target the big guys. Go after an account that you know is at least 20% larger than your current     largest client. 
  • Give seminars. If you haven’t presented a seminar to a group recently, schedule it now. Start with five to ten people.
  • Make cold calls. Most sales experts (usually including me) don’t favor this approach. However, if you spend two hours a week cold calling, you might get some appointments – and you’ll certainly get practice. 
  • Do team selling. Commit to this approach for the next two weeks with your benefits expert, another producer, or non-insurance salesperson. Yeah. Make it the non-insurance salesperson. Pick the right one and you'll learn a ton.
To put it in a nutshell: Be lIke Mike!

COMMISSIONS: YOU’RE UNDERPAID!

You’re as much a watchdog over your clients’ financial condition as their accountants.

Can you truly do the job with an average agency commission of 8% to 12%?

Let's spend a few minutes determining exactly what you do. What does, or should, your commission cover?

• prospecting and marketing
• making phone calls
• setting appointments
• doing an exposure survey
• gathering data
• preparing specs to submit
• completing applications/supplements
• placing protection
• evaluating insurance company responses
• negotiating with underwriters
• presenting findings
• checking policies and endorsements
• processing policy changes
• handling claims
• completing certificates
• answering client questions
• providing daily service
• preparing specs for renewal and doing a renewal visit or phone call
• sending renewal information to insurance companies
• training  to avoid E&O and be better prepared for client questions
• yadda, yadda yadda.

Now add your agency "value added." (Please consider not using these words.) Discover what each buyer wants - provide it and get paid for your value. This is what makes it valuable, not value added.
 
Here’s a brief example, using a Workers Comp account.  Shouldn't you get paid for this value?

• guaranteeing error and overcharge free program
• validating the experience mod
• training supervisors
• educating employees
• building and helping implement a  return-to- work program
• ...and much, much more 

(This is a shameless ad to encourage you who are not CWCA's to attend the Institute of WorkComp Professionals program): https://bigideas.infusionsoft.com/app/linkClick/30787/01acbcb28405071a/1795693/98a90901952d5aee
Include the multiple coverages you provide. So, how underpaid are you? Simply put: You prevent:
1. a closed sign over the client’s door
2. potential bankruptcy
3. multiple lawsuits
4. government harassing and punishing your clients
5. ...etc. etc., etc.

Your homework: Add all the other services that you provide clients to earn your commission.
How does each client value these additional steps? How much should you charge for them?
 
Add it all up and ask yourself how much money you lost or gave away in 2013 – and earlier.
 
You've heard it many times. A journey starts with a single step. It’s time to start getting paid what you’re worth!

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FIVE STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATIONS

Is your presentation so deadly dull that your buyer needs NoDoz to stay awake? With today's technology, presenting without graphics, color, and "plainspeak” means that you’ll drown in the sea of same old-same old. 

That's OK if you want to sell on price. I know an agent who wrote a book How to Sell on Price.
It ended in Chapter 11. 

Buyers today have more ways to buy what we sell, and are more knowledgeable than ever. 
There’s far less loyalty 

Buyers have experience being buyers. To cut through the noise, you’ll need to disrupt their status quo.  Because we all sell the same product (at least our clients think so), it's your job to show them differently. Don't let the sale be product driven – it must be driven by you and your agency through your presentation.  This is a five-part process:

1. Create insurance understanding so that the buyer sells herself.  If she doesn’t understand, she misunderstands –which means that she’ll focus on price. 

2, Prove that you’re not a copycat agency; crush your competition.

3. 
Command the buyer’s complete attention by tying coverage to images, stories, and testimonials that trigger her mind and imagination.  For emphasis, remain standing during your presentation and use a flip chart.

4, 
Work with the buyer to find her problems – and solve them.

5. 
Make the sale.



Go for it!

I LOVE OUR COMPETITORS – DO YOU LIKE YOURS?

 Our competitors do more for us than our friends. Our friends are too polite to point out our weaknesses, but our competitors spend a lot of effort to advertise them boldly. Our competitors are attentive, hard-working, and would take our business away from us if they could.
They keep us alert. They inspire us to improve our services and client value. If we had no competitors, we would be less efficient and inattentive.
We need use the discipline they force upon us. We salute our competitors. They’re good for us. God bless them all.
Do you truly know your fiercest competitors? Have you called them for a quote?  Have you ever called your own agency as a “mystery shopper” to ask for a Personal or Commercial quote?
Research is easy today. What research are you conducting on your competitors?
When you personally lose a high-payoff client, does someone from your agency survey the defector?
When your producer loses a client, do you, as an agency principal, call the lost client to find out what went wrong? 
When you know that a non-owner producer for a competitive agency did a terrific job of 
“pirating” one of yours client legally and ethically, maybe it's time to invite this producer for lunch. You might be able to pirate him or her from your competitor!
If you’re wooing quality prospects without letting them know you want to create a long-term relationship, you might well lose them.  The same thing goes for your clients: on your next visit, let them know that know you cherish your relationship and want it to be long term. Build a plan 
with benchmarks to show that you’re committed to turning your promises into performance – and then follow up.
A parting thought: Your best clients might well be your fiercest competitor's best prospect. Be careful out there! 

ARE YOU MEMORABLE – OR JUST PROFESSIONAL?

There’s nothing wrong with being professional; it just means that you blend in with the other professionals. To get new clients, you’ll have find ways of standing out from the crowd.  

You certainly can be memorably professionally – even professionally memorable. 

Although this isn’t rocket science, it’s not easy. You’ll need to think differently, blending an unwavering  and disciplined focus with creativity and flexibility. 

Here are a few ways to make yourself a memorable professional:

  • Take clients and prospects to local workshops/seminars. Find a business educational event that triggers a thought about a client or prospect who might like it and learn from it. Invite this person and ask her to bring a business buddy. The idea is to stoke ideas and conversation that your agency can use to help your guests. Invite them to a follow-up breakfast ASAP where you and they can chat about implementation.
  • Host client/prospect business meetings or events in your conference/training room/parking lot. Be sure to sit in on these events and meet the attendees.
  • Host client appreciation breakfasts or lunches. The guest speaker should be a local business owner or professional who is widely respected. He or she should give a 20 to 30-minute talk and then take questions. This approach can be especially effective with attorneys, CPAs, and other “centers of influence.”
  • Invite new teenage drivers to your office quarterly. Have them spend 45 minutes or so listening to and viewing pictures of auto accident victims presented by someone from the coroner's office. 
  • Honor your clients publicly by running an article in the local media. For example, “Acme Insurance Agency is pleased to recognize our client, John Harris Construction, for receiving the Vanderburgh County Contractors’ Association Contractor of the Year award.”
Let's test your boldness meter. Just insure a new restaurant? Volunteer to dress like a cup of coffee. Stand in front of the building during morning rush holding a coffee -shaped sign that says: "I'm Jim's insurance guy helping him kick off his new business. Stop in and have a complimentary cup on our agency.”

PROSPECTING: KEEP SCORE TO WIN (DUH

“Never give up. Never, never, never, never give up.”

 Attributed to Winston Churchill.
(Estimates of how many "nevers" vary)
 
 
One great measure of success is how tenacious you are in staying in touch with prospects.  This is simple – it’s just not easy!
How long should you keep call on a prospect? If you guessed until "one of you dies," congratulations!

Because there are so many potential prospects, why not give up after a certain point and move on?  This is a valid argument – but only for prospects you didn’t really have a chance to get in the first place. If you believe that the prospect is right for you and your agency, don’t give up!

Start keeping score. The first step is to monitor each “touch” closely; did you contact them by e-mail (with their approval), snail mail, phone, etc.  To convince the prospect that you’re serious, you need to show them accurate records of efforts to contact them.
 Do you monitor each touch closely? That’s step number one. Note how you "touched" the prospect this first time: E-mail (with permission), snail mail, phone etc. Only when you possess accurate records will you have a chance to convince the prospect that you’re serious.
Here’s an example:
For three years I had been sending140 prospects a monthly letter, together with a quarterly report tailored to their business.
In one particular case, whenever I tried to follow up with the prospect by phone (whether during the day or after hours), I always ended up in her voice mail. So, I sent her this fax:
           “I want to work with you, Cheryl.

 “During the past three years I’ve mailed you 36 letters with significant information tailored to help you make money and reduce your business costs.

“You have also received 12 bulletins targeted at your industry – construction.
“I’ve left 24 voice mail messages for you. Am I mistaken that we're a good business fit?
“After all these contacts, you might consider me a nuisance. I don’t want to be that. I just want to work with you. Please take a moment and let me know if I should continue to contact you.
“With the permission of these clients, here’s a partial list of contractors we work with. Feel free to call anyone on this lit so you can learn how our agency turns our promises into performance.

“When your business suffers a disaster, I know that you would want someone as persistent as I to make sure the insurance company writes the check you and your employees expect.”

Feel free to vary the wording to what works for you.

The idea is simple. Track your contacts to continue to show them that you care about doing business with them.

If a prospect won’t return your phone calls, fax him or her a “message return slip” that you’ve blown up to 8.5” by 11”. Handwrite your message “Please call (your name and phone number)” Add humor when you don’t receive a call back.
After trying to reach another prospect for a full year, I Fed-Xed an unsolicited, but impressive proposal, with “To be determined” where the figures go. I made sure that the date, three years into the future, was prominent on the cover and on each page. The package also included my usual cover letter, dated three years in advance.

I expected a call. When I got it, I told the prospect, “I need to earn your business. I figure that it will take three years.” It didn’t.

So, what’s the purpose of this blog? Change the rules and make new rules. Be persistent, consistent, and creative – all essential traits of a great producer. You are a great producer, aren’t you?

If you’re truly ready to give up, here's one more try:

Mail the prospect white handkerchief with this wording: "Certainly there are times when one has to ‘raise the white flag of surrender." I feel that this is the right time. I hope the educational material t I sent you has helped drive money in your door or solved a pressing problem. You will continue to receive our monthly bulletin.

“P.S: May I etch my phone number one more time in your memory...555-333-3333?”

However, I, Pres Diamond, hope you never give up and that I can see you give your Churchill  “V for Victory” sign after you turn another prospect into a client.

 

RISK MANAGEMENT: DRAW AND SELL

Try drawing “risk management” on the back of your business card or on a piece of paper. 


Now, ask your team members to draw risk “management.” How many of these drawings will be similar or identical? 


Very few, if any. 


Do you think your prospects will understand “risk management” better when you talk about it or when you draw it? 


Let's revisit the question: '"How many of your drawings are similar or identical?" 


People make decisions by instantly drawing mind pictures of what you say.  If your buyer can’t draw “risk management” in her mind, she can't see it. If she can't see it, she can't understand it – and if she can't understand it, the chances are that she won’t buy it (unless you happen to have the lowest price).


How many times have you heard people say, "I see what you're saying" – compared to how often they say, “I hear what you're saying “?


Who watches TV when the picture goes out?  How many billboards do you see without pictures?

 

Pictures jump-start the mind. They create understanding. Thirty seconds of showing equals seven single- spaced typewritten pages (3,000 words). 


Pictures tell the story you want to tell. This is the best and possibly the easiest way to sell. Tell stories. Draw pictures. Have fun. Write business.

 

 

 

USE YOUR ‘WAR ROOM’ TO PLAN CLIENT ACQUISITION AND RETENTION

How much money are you wasting at weekly sales meetings that you could be earning at “client acquisition and retention” meetings in your agency’s “war room?”

To grow revenues on a consistent, systematic basis, each meeting should follow these tactics;

1. Meet with producers on Friday afternoons to create and review their plans for the following week.  Because most people have high energy in the morning, producers should be using this time to focus on acquiring and retaining clients. 

2. To improve attendees’ concentration, don’t allow chairs, food, or drink in the War Room

3. Change leaders with every meeting. This is a great training tool that gets everyone involved 

4. Make attendance mandatory for producers, marketing staff, account managers, and other team members as needed 

5. The meeting should be no longer than 40 minutes. Be sure that it starts and ends on time –
always – failure to enforce this will spill over into other agency processes, making the meeting useless.  To encourage promptness, have the last person in take minutes; other late-comers should contribute to a “fine pot” for distribution to nonprofit agency activities.

6. Have the leader publish and distribute the agenda, listing each attendee's responsibility three days in advance. The leader can either create the entire agenda or ask agency personnel for input.

7. The agenda should include:

A sample presentation to a client or prospect that demonstrates coverage, retention, acquisition or marketing.  As a rule, the study should take no more than 40 minutes – the average length of a sales presentation; however, it can go longer if the client asks open-ended questions that might lead to a larger sale.
An electronic/hardcopy list of each producer's prospects that shows how the lead was obtained, the date of the appointment, and the agenda for the sales call. Producers who have knowledge about the prospect and/or suggestions for closing the sale should share this information.
Sales results for all producers during the past week (the leader might ask them for more information when posting the agenda).
Relevant input from account managers. 
Updated information on insurance companies (markets, etc.).

Use these tactics consistently – and watch your client list, retention rate, and earnings grow!

THEEE STEPS TO SALES SUCCESS

It’s simple to sell insurance– but it’s not easy!
 
To make selling easier, we’d recommend these guidelines:

Don’t use bullet points in presentations:

There's a reason they're called bullet points:
you practically have to put
a gun to your prospect’s head
to make her read them.

Eliminating bullet points helps make the prospect’s eyes go where you want them to.
 
Show prospects the money. 

M comes before S in the alphabet – and in the selling process. M stands for market. S stands for $ales. If you don’t Market, you make the $ale harder. 

M also stands for Money – the prospect’s money.  Begin your presentation by saying, "Let’s talk about your money and how to make it go farther!"
 
Focus on emotion, rather than facts.
 
Most of what bombards people’s minds, and stands out in their short-term memory,  is fact driven, which means it rarely “sticks” with the. To cut through this sea of facts, you need to tap into your prospect’s emotions. Because most people are reluctant to change and fear what they don’t understand (in this case insurance) you need to make the topic easy for them to understand.  Use consistency and persistency, together with frequency, to overcome your prospect’s resistance and build a desire in her mind to say, "I’d better check this out."  Unless you create this feeling, price will rule the transaction – and you’ll lose the sale.
 
 
 A gentle reminder: Do today what others won't so that you can do tomorrow what others can't!

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