Sales Skills

Five Practical Tips for Better Prospecting

The 2013 Independent Producer Survey showed that the majority of producers (55%) consider prospecting their #1 challenge. It beat all other obstacles, such as clients’ lack of understanding around the need for insurance (34%), negative opinions of insurance products (25%), and product affordability (22%).

Instead of viewing prospecting as a trial, try these five practical tips that will make your prospecting more disciplined, enjoyable, and successful:

  1. Be consistent. Prospect daily.  
    Prospecting is the art of developing new relationships.  To improve your prospecting results, you must first set aside the time and energy to build relationships and prospect every day.  Rather than putting it off until Thursday afternoon, include time for prospecting each day into your weekly plan.  At the end of the week, determine how many new relationships you’ve opened up and, how many existing relationships you’ve made stronger.  When you prospect consistently, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.
  2. Prospect in a manner that works for you.
    If you absolutely dread cold-calling, try something else that’s more appealing. Do you currently sit on boards or associations that could foster new business opportunities? Spend your prospecting time networking with your centers of influence, attending trade shows and conferences, social networking, and asking for referrals.  You should include all these strategies in your weekly arsenal.  Then, measure the results and focus on what generates the greatest ROI for your investment of time.
  1. Rehearse your script…your value proposition
    Ineffective prospecting often occurs with poor language choices – what you are saying when you prospect. As Steve Kloyda, the Prospecting Expert, says, “Always use a script!”  Then rehearse until the words are comfortable for you to say and sound natural. Commit your script to memory.  When you stop “winging it” and communicating ineffectively with prospects, your results will improve dramatically.
  2. Focus on the outcome.
    The ultimate outcome of prospecting is to start a relationship that creates value and leads to new business. This means obtaining a commitment to meet with the prospect – getting an appointment. Selling is premature at this point.  There is no need to product dump early in the stage of relationship building.
  3. Nurture the relationship over time.
    Business relationships are built over time. Make the consistent pursuit of clients who are interested in your unique process part of a longer-term plan for success.  Ensure that your centers of influence and prospects hear from you frequently and with predictability. Content, such as calls, thank you notes, emails, white papers, surveys, studies, media clips, and other communications, will create value and open new opportunities.  Show that you are truly interested in working with them, that you are not going to disappear.  Business owners look for people who execute well, are determined, and want to partner with them.

Producers, who attend Beyond Insurance workshops, learn that prospects will only listen and care about your solutions when they trust and consider you credible.  While prospecting is the first stage of the sales cycle, it is also the early stage of establishing a trusted relationship.

What tips and strategies have elevated your performance and success in prospecting?