For Producers

The Sales Skills you Need to Succeed

What is the most important difference between a good insurance agent or broker and a truly great risk advisor? Relentless devotion to the development and mastery of your sales skills.

Although it may seem like certain individuals are simply “born with” an inherent gift for sales, there’s good news for those of us who weren’t: the ability to sell effectively can be learned — and improved upon. All you need is the drive to succeed and the motivation to begin. As Norman Ralph Augustine once said, "Motivation will almost always beat mere talent."

Here are the top 5 sales skills you need to put yourself on the path to success:

Value Proposition

This concise, thoughtful expression of the unique value you provide to your customers is perhaps the most important tool you have to convince a potential client that you’re the right person for the job. A great value proposition helps the customer understand why the benefits of your product or service outweigh the cost, and the reason(s) that your offering is preferable compared to your competition. Not sure how to identify or elucidate your Value Proposition? This article can help.

Know your Product, Services, and Solutions — and your Customer

When you put in the time to get to know your client outside of the 90-day bidding cycle, your efforts will be rewarded tenfold in return. Designate time to listen to your client’s concerns, fears, strengths, and aspirations. Rather than controlling the conversation, encourage your client to speak at least 80% of the time, and employ a technique known as “active listening” to make them feel seen, heard, and appreciated. This way, you’ll find opportunities for cross-selling when the time is right, and be better equipped to recommend the right solutions to suit their specific needs. Cross-selling is not only an exciting chance to add value for your clients in unexpected ways, it’s also a key account development strategy — one that requires a deep understanding of your customer in order to be successful.

Look and Feel of the Customer Experience

Every insurance professional knows that winning new business is hard enough, but the real challenge lies in retaining that business year after year. A huge part of the decision to renew depends on an intangible quality: your client’s customer experience. As Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Every touchpoint of contact between you and your client should be considered a new opportunity to win their business, so the way you present yourself to the world — both in person and online — is crucially important. Analyze your social media presence and ask yourself: is this an accurate representation of my personal brand? Would a client feel proud to be associated with me? This extends to the appearance of your office, your clothing choices, and even the look and feel of your business cards. Communication and availability is similarly important; if you promptly return every phone call and arrive early for every meeting, your clients will be less likely to consider replacing you. Every touchpoint adds up to create and shape a client’s impression of you and the quality of your service.

Mental Fortitude and Emotional Intelligence

Let’s be honest: insurance and risk management professionals deal with a lot of rejection. Those who have found success in this business are the ones whose resilience in the face of rejection helps them bounce back time after time. You develop your mental fortitude through practice — that is, dealing with adversity in real-time situations. In those moments, you can either succumb to negative thoughts, or persevere towards achieving your goals and visions of yourself and your career. The choice is yours.

Persuasion and Negotiation

Life is full of negotiations — whether you’re negotiating the details of a transaction with a client, or negotiating with your toddler to eat his vegetables at the dinner table. In order to negotiate successfully, you must master the ability to confidently persuade (or influence) others without being coercive or controlling. When attempting to persuade a disparity in your favor, consider the following strategies:

  1. Showcase the benefits the other party would receive should they choose to accept your proposal. This is especially effective with skeptical or uninterested potential prospects. Help them envision how their life and business would look should they choose to work with you.
  2. Do your research prior to the meeting so you will be equipped with a deep understanding of every angle, from knowledge of your product to background on your customer’s unique needs. Armed with this information, you can effectively counter any questions or reluctance with compelling, concise answers.

One of the most exciting things about the ever-changing nature of the insurance industry is that there’s always something new to learn — whether that’s a new skill, a new product, or a new way to do the same thing you’ve been doing for years. In order to stay on top of your game, you must begin every day with renewed enthusiasm about opportunities for personal growth, learning, and development.

To help you identify specific areas of unrealized growth potential (UGP), Beyond Insurance developed the Producer Growth Assessment, a complimentary, 34-question survey that evaluates your current skill set and highlights topics to focus on in order to supercharge sales and drive new growth. The newest offering, the Sales Accelerator courses — 10 high-quality, mobile-friendly, self-paced online learning modules that correlate to your UGP — will help you hone the skills you need to develop a stronger, more profitable book of business.

With motivation, integrity, and exceptional sales skills, there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals.