Evaluate and Share Your Sales Successes and Failures

By | March 24, 2014

The “typical” P/C producer’s life is packed with sales drama. It features climactic successes and failures mixed in with routine yesses and noes. You can accept these ups and downs as business as usual or you can use sales history as a breadcrumb trail for producers to follow.

As the cliché goes, there is nothing fatal about failure as long as you learn something from it. And when you are a sales professional, there is always plenty to learn. That’s why it’s wise for commercial lines producers to keep a record of wins and losses.


Dissecting successes is often more difficult than analyzing failure. That’s because some producers like to imagine that their professional instincts were spot-on, resulting in the sale, when in reality, further factors came into play. They often include the following, among others.

  • Systematizing the pre-qualification process to eliminate the weakest sales candidates, allowing you time to concentrate on the most salable opportunities.
  • Researching the selected business’ operation/industry and the decision-maker’s personal interests to uncover sales-aiding hot buttons.
  • Recognizing which proposal format, page elements and presentation style helped to close the sale.
  • Considering the online factor. Determine whether social marketing activities or other online research helped you to find or otherwise develop the lead.
  • Noting the successful sale’s original source, as it may be mined for quality leads.


A competitive premium is an essential ingredient for taking business away from another P/C provider. But it’s a rookie mistake to hang your hat on this issue alone. Imagining that price closes every sale every time is overly simplistic. Here are 10 reasons why someone walks away.

  1. Allowing the incumbent agent adequate time to overcome your offer.
  2. Inaccurate information about the prospect’s industry or business.
  3. Inaccurate auditables like payroll and sales.
  4. Missing or insufficient coverages.
  5. Poorly constructed proposal document.
  6. Weak proposal presentation.
  7. Failure to identify and address the prospect’s key concerns.
  8. Personality conflict with the prospect.
  9. Using an “unknown” company or being allocated second-tier carriers.
  10. Various payment-related issues.

Take Notes

Spend a few moments, immediately after the final determination of each new business offer, to record what you perceive are the reasons for the prospect’s decision. In each instance, note your preparations and actions, and match them to the prospect’s reactions. Accumulate this sales data over time, and combine it with similar insights from others to enhance productivity.


While individual producers can learn from their solo sales history, they can divine even more when they combine their production trail with selected agents. Shared information helps each participating producer to get a better handle on what works. It accompanies (or supplants) the traditional behavioral adjustments for the various prospect types. It’s not a magic formula for closing sales; rather it’s a road sign on the never-ending path to sales success.


Evolve and guard your agency’s best sales secrets. Keep these hard-earned insights in-house. But of course, you can’t fully share and compare if you are a small one or two producer shop. So, reach out to friendly insurance pals who operate outside of your marketing territory and exchange sales analyses. But, never involve local agents with whom you actively compete, or your success may become theirs.

About Alan L. Shulman

Alan Shulman, CPCU, is the publisher of Agency Ideas® sales and marketing newsletter (free basic subscription at www.agencyideas.com/join). He is also the author of “500 Sales Ideas for Commercial Lines Producers” among many other P&C sales resources. Email: alan@agencyideas.com. Website: www.agencyideas.com. More from Alan L. Shulman

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West March 24, 2014
March 24, 2014
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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