Improving Your Sales Process by Answering the Phone

By Tim Sawyer | December 17, 2012

This post is part of a series on insurance marketing and training sponsored by Astonish.

It’s almost maddening how many sales opportunities are lost by insurance agents, CSRs, producers, or even receptionists who simply don’t know how to effectively answer the phone. And it’s not their fault, really. Marketing and selling to the modern consumer is not the same as selling to traditional consumers who walk in ready to buy insurance or come by because they were referred by cousin Vinny.

In order to sell to the modern consumer, your agents, producers, CSRs, and everyone in the agency needs to possess the ability to handle incoming calls the right way. After all, that incoming call could be a prospect calling because he or she saw a paid search ad online. Does your staff know how to sell to an Internet lead?

Not many do. Here are a few tips on how to improve your sales process by effectively answering the phone:

Tip #1. Positivity wins.

Too many insurance professionals dread answering the phone, fearing it might be a shopper on the other end. That’s the wrong attitude. Every call is an opportunity. It’s every person’s job in your agency to maximize good business opportunities. As trivial as it may sound, answering every call with a smile and a positive talk track, such as “It’s a great day at … Insurance. How can I help you?” could make a difference when trying to win over new business.

It’s important to remember that your callers may be dreading the call too. Buying essentials such as insurance isn’t something everybody is excited about. You have to make it positive and exciting or at least enjoyable for them.

Tip #2. Don’t launch into a checklist of information you need to get them a quote.

When someone shopping for insurance calls, ask them why they are shopping today. Maybe they just got married and need a life insurance policy. That’s great information. Say, “Congratulations! Where did you go on your honeymoon? Oh, that’s a beautiful place. How long have you been in the area?”

As you’re building a rapport with this prospect, you’re also building trust. You’re also finding out more about the prospect. As you’re asking questions get a feel for if they now have two cars they may need insured. They could save money by bundling coverage for both cars in one policy. Do they have a house together? Perhaps you could find a deal if they insure their home and cars with the same company.

Your goal is to offer them solutions to problems they didn’t know they had. That’s how you sell insurance to Internet leads and insurance shoppers. It’s all about building a rapport, being positive, and offering solutions they didn’t know they needed.

About the Author: Tim Sawyer is the Co-founder, President, and Director of Client Services for Astonish. His company offers a complete digital marketing system that includes coaching and insurance sales training for local agencies. Showing agencies how to harness the power of company values and sales goals is just one of the benefits of working with Astonish coaching. Many successful local agencies are seeing extraordinary growth and profitability by incorporating the Astonish system into their marketing plan.

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Latest Comments

  • December 31, 2012 at 11:15 am
    Whodathunkit says:
    Company underwriters need to get out from behind their desk and take a look at the real world. Many live in la la land and don't know what businesses need or how they actuall... read more
  • December 24, 2012 at 9:31 am
    Joseph W.Pettit says:
    This is an excellent article as respects the personal lines market. But,as a long time Marketing person dealing with commercial insurance,I must vent my frustation as respects... read more
  • December 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm
    Jeff says:
    Someone got paid for writing this. That is astonishing.
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