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Cold Calling Tips for Insurance Agents

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Fran Majidi November 3, 2020
Cold Calling Tips for Insurance Agents

Cold calling is not for the faint-hearted because it has its pain points. Cold calling techniques help but what's most required are determination and energy, both of which can be draining if you're not prepared with a cold calling script or two.

We have some good tips on writing these scripts and ideas to help you get through the daunting task of cold calling, which needs to get done. Cold calling requires volume calls in order to see sales, but you will succeed if you keep our cold calling tips in mind.

An Honest Warning About Cold Calling

Cold calling people means prospects are not expecting to hear from you and are often unwelcoming, which can be very stressful. Cold calling can be so stressful that even the best agents put it off as long as possible or they don't cold call at all. No one looks forward to a bombardment of rejections, rude dismissals and hang-ups but a strong sales team makes sales calls all day long, even cold calls. It's your job to quote people who may not initially be interested in an insurance quote. Cold calling is a numbers game, which means that you will make a connection with some people and earn new clients if you keep at it. Just not often.

Don't Be Rude to People, Even if Customers Yell at You

Did someone yell at you or curse you out for making a cold call? Did they say they did not give you consent to call? Don't fret it. People don't like strangers calling, at least not unless they have some information that meets their needs.

You'll need a script to have a successful sales conversation, and a great salesperson will even take a licking from an irate customer and still offer a quote. But, whatever you do, choose your words wisely and don't go onto the next call feeling defeated or lacking energy. Don't be rude back -- ever!

Shake it Off

You need to shake off the bad cold-call first before cold calling again. You have to get as pumped up as possible and just as eager to please as you were before the call went sour. You don't have time to sit and dwell or lick wounds. Being rude back when cold calling is a terrible idea because you're not anonymous. It's just awful branding for your agency. Think of your words as free ads to prospects. If you're nice and you don't make the sale, they may call you in the future.

If you are rude, know that your prospect may share their experience, and you may earn a bad reputation, even if all you did was offer a sales pitch! Saying thanks even when they are not interested in buying insurance from you may mean a sale from someone they know who does have interest in switching insurance companies.

Just bounce on another cold call and forget about what a jerk that stranger was. Soon enough, the uncomfortable moments will be forgotten. Rejection, sometimes very vocal rejection, is just par for the course, and you will make sales in between unpleasant cold calls. Make it a point to remind yourself of this fact and keep pushing, just when you are just about ready to throw your phone out the window!

Sound Happy

Have you ever heard the old adage "smile and dial?" Well, it's about time you did, especially when making cold calls. Smile and dial is more than smiling while gritting your teeth. You simply can't sound demoralized or unhappy. Yes, smiling helps in several ways. While you're on the call, you'll sound more upbeat. Smiling also sends positive messages to your brain so you'll actually feel happier, which goes a long way. People don't want an unexpected cold call from someone who sounds like they're down in the dumps. Your prospects will be won over with confidence and an eagerness to help.

Faith Sells

Do you have faith in the products you're trying to sell? Cold calling is a lot easier when you stand by the insurance companies you represent as a salesperson. Do you really believe the consumer is better off buying your product than sticking with their current insurer? Do you really believe your insurance product is worth the price? Even better than these questions are questions about yourself: Are you the most knowledgeable person to protect this person's assets or health or family? If you're selling business insurance, do you know the risks involved with most businesses and how to protect them? How well do you know your insurance products and service? The more confidence you have in answering these questions, the more likely you are to sell a policy -- or two, maybe three if you're really good with convincing customers to bundle.

A cold calling technique is really just a clever way to get across to prospects that they need what you have to sell. One good script is all it takes to keep a prospective customer on the phone long enough to listen to your full pitch. Any sales rep can have a strong success rate if they have faith in the company they represent.

Do You Have a Script? We Have Calling Tips

You'll have a different script for cold calling than you will for an insurance data lead or live-transfer call. We don't suggest that you read the script or even to recite it verbatim. But it's important to keep a few things in mind, because they've worked in the past. Here are some calling tips:

Have Multiple Scripts for Multiple Types of Calls

Make sure your script for cold calls includes the points you need to get across to the client right away. For instance, with data leads and live-transfers, ideally you're on it right away, saying that you are working with SmartFinancial and are ready to give them a quote. This is a deviation from your agency telemarketing script which will most likely say which agency you're calling from.

You may have a wholly different script for a single guy making $40,000 a year and a family with a gross income of $200,000 and two children. A script is not a one-size-fits-all fix. It's just a starting point so you don't lose your nerve and forget what's most important to get across during the call. It can make or break a sale.

Say Their Name

When cold calling, use the lead's name if you know it, so they know you care about them and that they are not just another phone number. This is a cold calling technique that works well because it makes the person stop and listen. Calling a person by their name tops all cold calling tips because it humanizes the person on the other end of the line and may help you buy time to serve your pitch.

Remember the Point of the Script

With a cold call, you have very little time to convince the person on the other line not to hang up the phone. Telemarketing scripts work, because if you get nervous, you'll have memorized most if not all that you need to do and say. The best telemarketing scripts will help you get to know the person on the other line.

Don't Ramble During Cold Calls

Take time to get your most important points across but let the person talk. The one thing most agents still get wrong is that they don't come up for air. If you are too pushy and refuse to listen, it's a bad move. Listening is the number one thing you should be doing once you've convinced the other person to stay on the phone. Listening also helps you finetune your strategy of persuading that person to buy. Ask lots of questions if the person is not opening up. You may have been hoping to sell health insurance and find that they need life insurance instead. But you won't know unless you get the other person talking.

Don't Waste People's Time

We get it: People are hesitant to open up during a cold call and you may scramble to fill the silence with a lot of chatter. Bad move. Customers want to know what you want and how you can help them. Step one is to figure out how you can help the person on the other line even before you dial! Otherwise, you'll have a hard time maintaining their interest and they will get off the phone.

No one said getting a prospect to tell you their life story would be easy, but keep practicing your script and revising it until you get fewer and fewer rejections. See where it is that you lose people during a cold call. Keep rewriting that script until it hooks more customers! Step 2: Forget about sales numbers and form a true connection so you're not just another salesperson interrupting their day.

Anticipate Needs

You'll have the opportunity to do a little research, especially with data leads and cold calls. What company do the work for or own? Do they own a house? Do they have a LinkedIn page or Facebook page? Do a quick Google search on the prospect to see what comes up.

Someone with kids will have very different priorities than a single person in their 20s. Use that knowledge when cold calling, to sell the products you know the prospect needs. Your success rate depends on how you customize each sales conversation to each individual.

When doing background research, make sure you have the right person or else you'll be completely thrown off course during the cold call.

Consider Objections

There will be hesitation and lots of no's. This is why no one likes cold calling. However, great salespeople are prepared to turn around a no or a maybe. Sometimes, the right pitch can do the trick and end in sales. If you anticipate why a prospect may object, you will be ready to respond and can route the conversation to a sale. For example, if someone says they need to discuss your service with their spouse, you can set up a sales conversation with both people. Or, if they say the product you're selling is out of their price range, you can talk about the problems past clients have encountered with cheap insurers. If the product you're selling doesn't fit their budget, how can you manage to convince them that they should reprioritize to make it work?

Create a List of Cold Calling Pain Points

Create a list of common objections you've gotten when making cold calls in the past. Make the list as long as possible. If you're an agency owner, go over your list with your team so everyone can benefit from your research. Practice each example to help you bring the conversation around next time you come across the same problems. What's the point of hitting the same wall over and over again. Find a way to smash through it to make the sale. Once you figure out how to do that, you'll hate cold calling a little less!

Break Up Cold Calling with Leads and Live Transfers

Sales teams that are flourishing are buying insurance leads, and that's the truth. Don't spend an entire day making cold calls. Let's face it: Cold calling is demoralizing and backbreaking stuff so you have to break up the day. But push through, spending a couple of hours on the task, and hopefully leaving off on a high note so your confidence won't be sinking as you bounce to a purchased lead.

Consider breaking up cold calling by scheduling live transfer calls, which have a higher close ratio than internet leads. Follow up on leads purchased from SmartFinancial in between sessions of cold calling so that your day is not filled with rejection only. Avoid using cold calling scripts with transfer calls, however. Work with your account manager to craft a script that lets the customer know that you are ready to give them a quote right away. Sales reps often make the mistake of giving a generic greeting during these calls, which confuses the lead who has just spent a considerable amount of time with the lead vendor's call center.

Insurance agents across the country are having great success with SmartFinancial leads by working closely with their dedicated account managers, and often by having a thorough follow-up strategy in place where they call, text and email several times over the span of weeks and then at renewal time.

What's the Difference Between a Lead and a Cold Call?

Unlike cold calling, you're guaranteed that the lead you buy is actively shopping for the type of insurance product you sell. You may not sell after a single call, but if you follow up regularly, you can find great success with leads. We always urge agents to try to make the first contact immediately because statistically, first-contact agents usually make the sale. Unlike other vendors who share information with four or more agents, SmartFinancial only shares the lead with three other agents. After spending a couple of hours cold calling, making sales with SmartFinancial insurance leads will be a breeze.