20 Golden Sales Tips for Insurance Agents

Fran Majidi
January 25, 2021
Sales Tips for Insurance Agents

Without further ado, here are the 20 ways to kill it in insurance sales. So, get to it and make some money!

1. Start to Really Care

It’s easier said than done because you’re selling to strangers. In fact, you go through the ritual of speaking to dozens of strangers a day. It’s easy to sound completely apathetic after a few calls in, but that’s when you lose the prospect. Turn on that compassion-switch as quickly as you can before you get on the phone with a lead. When you care about covering all the right bases on top of finding a good rate, it comes through. If you’re churning and burning it comes through too, and the consumer will most likely think twice before doing business with you.

2. Don’t Improvise

You may be the most kind-hearted person and really know your stuff when it comes to insurance but you still don’t want to get on the phone unprepared. The best salespeople have a process and best practices in place, especially when it comes to phone sales.

Phone sales are different from in-person sales, where people feel obligated to sit and listen. In those situations, you have time to win over the consumer and turn them into a customer. With phone sales, it’s easy to get hung up on if you’re not engaging the prospect the right way right away.

We always suggest writing a call script and practicing it with honest loved ones. It’s important to ensure the best call possible and not “wing it,” which is a gamble, an expensive one if you’re buying live transfer calls.

Live transfers have a higher close rate than data leads for most agents, but you have a limited window of time to engage the caller and they cost more. You also have a limited amount of time to get as much information out of that person as possible, to sell as many policies as possible. You want to be polished.

The best call scripts are not memorized and recited thoughtlessly. You don’t want to repeat the script verbatim or recite anything at all. Just have your ducks in a row. Remember exact sentiments, facts and figures and anything else that you know will help you build trust and rapport.

3. Come Up for Air

Sometimes, at SmartFinancial we meet the most genuine and wonderful insurance agents, and we can see why they have a loyal client base because they truly care for their clients. However, they have a hard time winning over new clients. They want to know why they can’t make great phone sales. Well, the answer is simple: they just talk too much.

Look, being an insurance agent is a great career for talkers but it’s also one that requires deep listening. Not only will you not get a good sense of your client’s risk, you will not get a sense of what products they really need if you’re doing most of the talking. But the main reason sales fail when the gift-of-gab becomes excessive: it turns people off. No one wants to feel obligated to listen to someone ramble, especially if they have a busy lifestyle. So, back off a little and try to have conversations in which the other person on the phone does most of the talking.

4. Stay Hungry

You sold an auto policy. Great. Don’t leave that customer alone. If you weren’t able to convince them to bundle their home policy with it, keep digging and finding ways to convince them to do so. Sometimes, policyholders feel compelled to stay with the insurer their mortgage lender found for them. If this is holding back your client, explain why it’s okay to switch insurers and why it’s actually a great idea to bundle with your auto. See if you can sell a life policy to boot. Why not? It’s only awkward if you make it awkward. Not many Americans buy life insurance because agents are not asking the right questions: “What will your family do if something were to happen to you?” It’s not that awkward! It’s a very caring question that may help you sell a policy, for the good of that customer’s family!

When you really establish rapport with a client, it’s not awkward to be upfront and ask for more business. “Hey, I’d really appreciate some referrals too. Would be happy to help your friends and family out.” When you mean it, it works. If you’re talking hard and fast, as if the other person doesn’t exist or matter, it won’t work. Get your heart into the game and stay hungry, even when you meet with success. There’s always another level of protection you can offer by upselling.

5. Mirror Your Prospect

Be chatty if they are chatty. Be concise if they seem rushed. But don’t be unfriendly if they are not the most pleasant people you’ve ever come across. Some people just automatically get into a bad mood when dealing with insurance and insurance agents. Be positive but don’t over do it with the talk. Just get to the heart of what you have to offer and let them take the reins. Sometimes, the most negative caller will turn around as soon as you put the ball in their court and make them feel important and heard. But if the prospect is not a chatty Kathy and doesn’t respond to your chit-chat, get back to business. You may not become best friends, but you may get that person’s business if you just cut to the chase. If they want to talk your head off, let them. Laugh even if the jokes are not funny. And at the end, ask for referrals. You earned it. And you’ll probably get it.

Again, mirror the prospect. If he/she is using slang, go ahead. But unless they are particularly casual, it’s best to stay professional and avoid slang and cuss words, even “damn.” You never know how religious someone is. Avoid politics too because you don’t want to lose business because you like different candidates. If they bring up controversial topics try to say as little and agree as much as possible.

6. Get the Lead on Zoom

Now don’t get pushy about it, especially if you are expecting them to jump onboard a video call on the fly. But if they seem interested in seeing you face to face, a Zoom meeting with an insurance prospect is a perfect alternative to an office visit, with or without the pandemic raging. Remember that your goal as an agent is to make as many friends as possible. The only difference is that you are there to protect all these new friends you’re making. So, putting yourself top of mind and making yourself stand out by offering to chat virtually may be a more personable way to establish a connection. Once you make the sale try to have Zoom meetings so you’re a real human being attached to that declarations page. It will prevent your clients from switching down the line for a few dollars.

7. Dress Sharp

You don’t want to look like a kid if you’re young and you never want to look like a schlep, no matter your age. Have a few suits ready for those in-person meetings and wear one, at least wear a button-down shirt that’s ironed if you’re doing a Zoom meeting. People are impressed by suits, so wear one at the office, whether you’re a man or a woman. We like to think of people who are protecting our assets as being conservative, so look the part. The less flash, often the better when it comes to insurance. Just look clean and professional. And serious, even if you make some jokes along the way.

8. Family Is Everything, Sometimes

People love their kids more than anyone in the world and younger people are more focused on themselves than anyone else in the world. These are two important truths to remember because all your clients will fall into one of these two categories. The more you find ways to protect a client’s family the better you’ll do with folks who fall into the first category: this group of people usually has a higher income and puts more emphasis on financial security than a younger person or someone who lives alone. The latter group tends to focus on getting the best value depending on their budget, but they take more risks. Be everything to both of these groups and you will do especially well.

9. Impress with Experience

Make up for a lack of experience by talking about how long the insurance company you represent has been around. Put the focus on the company and insurance product if you’ve been selling for less than a year. For the first few years of being an agent, it’s the wisest thing to do to avoid hesitation due to your age, if you’re young and can’t hide the lack of experience. Even if you’ve been selling for years, it’s great to show combined experience on your part and how long your company has been protecting Americans. Yes, to some extent you are selling yourself, but you really would do best to sell the products and the financial strength behind them first and foremost.

10. Get Pumped Before You Talk

Inject a little energy into your calls. There’s nothing worse than someone who sounds like they are about to fall asleep trying to convince you to buy something from them. Don’t be annoying and super caffeinated, either but have some enthusiasm for what you sell and what you’re trying to do for the person on the other end of the conversation. Insurance is not an entertaining topic but if you’re inquisitive about the prospect’s interests, family and career you’ll begin to have some great conversations that will end in sales.

11. Be Prepared for Objections

There are ways to prepare for some objections, like if a prospect wants to speak with a spouse. Ask if you can schedule something for a time when you can speak with them both at the same time, if possible. If they feel the price is too high, be prepared to explain why it’s not as cheap as they’d liked. This will require extensive knowledge of the product and anecdotes of the what-ifs without the right coverage. And most importantly, why work with you? Be ready to sell. This is what insurance marketing is all about--selling yourself and the insurance product.

12. Buy Leads, Skip the Marketing

Seriously. Unless you like marketing or studied it in school, it takes time and effort. If you have a staff doing it for you, you have to pay them. Why not just pay for the leads and stay busy making calls? In a numbers game, which insurance certainly is, the more people you contact on a given day, the more policies you’re bound to write. So, keep that in mind when trying to decide if you want to become a blogger, a video blogger or if you want to spend time and money marketing yourself.

SmartFinancial’s leads are the perfect way to create a foothold in the territories you cover. You can expand from each sale you make, using referrals to your greatest advantage. What you make of these leads is up to you, but most leads are not one-call closers. Be prepared to earn each bit of business by following up and relentlessly advising the client to buy your products. Your account manager is always there to hold your hand through this difficult process, among other services they provide.

13. Avoid Jargon; It’s Not Impressive

No, don’t do that! You’re confusing the customer! Don’t start talking about your fiduciary duties as an insurance agent. Avoid all jargon if possible, or if you have to talk about an uncommon term, explain what it means. Don’t assume the consumer understands these terms or will be impressed by them. Most will give their business to the guy/gal who clarifies their situation not someone who makes it seem even more confusing. Seriously, most people want to feel like they ‘get it.’ Help the prospect ‘get it’ and you may be pleasantly surprised.

14. Don’t Delay a Quote but Don’t Sell on Price

Got a live transfer call on the line? They just filled out a form and then spent at least 10 to 15 minutes on the phone with a call center concierge before they got to you. They are ready for a quote. Don’t stall. Go over what you need quickly, with as little effort from the consumer as possible (get them to answer yes; when it comes time to buy, hopefully they’ll say yes). Try to strike up conversation but don’t stall on the quote if they seem annoyed. After your conversation, you’ll also want to email the quote. Some agents make videos--be creative. You’ll likely face objections about price if you don’t sell bare-bones policies or sell a more expensive product. This is where you get to really sell. Whether it’s right there on the phone or in a follow up call, you’ve got to get the consumer away from the issue of pricing. They have to trust that they will be taken care of if something goes wrong. That’s why they are buying insurance in the first place and that trumps all.

15. Customer Service Is Everything

You may be your own CSR, but even if you have assistants, remember that customer service is everything. You may have all the knowledge in the world about how to protect someone’s various assets but if you don’t have good bedside manners or if you don’t establish much of a relationship with your customers, you’ll lose them on price or to someone who does go beyond the numbers. Be kind, earnest and pleasant. Be honest most of all.

16. Proofread Every Written Piece of Communication

It doesn’t matter if it’s a text or email, proofread everything. Learn the differences between “your” and “you’re” because these sorts of typos can make you look unprofessional.

17. Manage Expectations

Do not expect to sell every lead you get, whether you generate the lead yourself or if you buy it. If insurance agents sold every lead they buy they’d all be billionaires. With internet data leads, you need to work in volume and follow up relentlessly. Live transfers still require some work but they do close much easier than internet leads.

18. Listen to Recorded Calls

All your calls with leads are recorded when you work with SmartFinancial. It’s not a bad idea to review how you sound talking to clients. It may not be fun but you’ll learn quickly what’s not working and what is. You have to learn to become self-critical to become better. Here’s the perfect way to start evaluating your strengths and weaknesses.

19. Ask the Client How You’re Doing

Why not just ask your clients what they like and don’t like about working with you? Seriously. Bet they’ll tell you exactly where you’re lacking and where you’re aces! Establish that comfort level. That question is nicely followed up with a request for referrals if the answer was mostly positive.

20. Assume the Sale

Act like you have it and you may very well own it at the end of the conversation. Of course you don’t want to be cocky about it, but you should be confident in what you are selling and act confident that the consumer is going to buy.