For years, Dave Williams worked as an inside salesperson at Costco and was quite good at it. One day, a gentleman came into the store with his wife, and Williams approached him. By the end of the conversation, Farmers Insurance CEO Kurt Parker not only bought the products Williams was selling, but he asked Williams if he’d be interested in interviewing with the district manager for a position as an insurance agent. Williams was very interested and has been a Farmers agent now for six months.
“I’ve been pretty successful,” he says with a modest laugh. “I love the hours, the interaction with clients and building friendships.”
Currently, Williams offers home, car, earthquake, life and commercial insurance, which is a product many people don’t know Farmers offers. When Williams first began selling insurance, he was given Internet leads, and he had success with them. “I started buying leads on my own, too,” he said, even though the push didn’t come from the top. “My first month, I sold a couple of policies for high-value homes and other lines of business from those. When I started live transfer-calls from SmartFinancial, those worked out great, too.”
Some agents struggle with Internet leads but according to Williams, there’s great value in them.
Success depends on the number of leads bought and the amount of effort given to each lead. Williams works more leads than anyone he knows, so he’s actively making more sales too.
“People shop online so if you’re not taking advantage of the online shoppers you’re losing an integral part of your business,” he explains. “It’s important to remember that you may close on the phone or in person but people are shopping online.”
Williams advises that you work with the right company. ““After doing this for a while every day, I see the difference in the lead companies,” he says. “You can tell in a month if the leads are high quality. You start to see if people are surprised that you’re calling. That sort of thing gives you insight into how the leads are generated. Internet leads don’t convert at a very high rate so you can’t look at that, but if you look at call value, quality does manifest itself there.”
Another thing that sets one lead company apart from another is how the account managers service agents. According to Williams, SmartFinancial has given him the proper tools to succeed. “I’ve had the greatest experience working with my account manager at SmartFinancial,” Williams says. “She really helped me establish the right way to engage after a live transfer, and it’s made a big difference.”
Here’s what else Williams says you should look for in a lead: “First, all the information about the lead should be correct and accurate. If I get someone on the phone, they should have the expectation of getting a call. Just filling out a form is not enough if they don’t want to talk to you or don’t want a quote. The rest is up to you. If you can close on the phone you’ll be successful.”
6 Golden Tips from Dave Williams
1. The most important thing to keep in mind is that internet leads take a lot of calling and a lot of work. Sales won’t happen right away. You have to be consistent.
2. Work with the right company so you don’t have frustrations. If you’re working with the right company you’ll get results
3. Scripting is important, and you must refine a script over time. If it’s not working don’t be afraid to change it. Asking how their day is makes a difference; it breaks the ice, and you seem more like a friend than a salesperson. You have to make a connection because within 30 seconds they determine whether or not they will work with you. Allow space during your script to establish a genuine rapport during the conversation. There is value in a relationship and people will buy a policy from you simply because they like you.
4. At the end of the call, ask if they have questions or need clarification. If the answer is no, tell them about payment options.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. Say “I want to earn your business today.” Be honest. Why not? Everybody is selling something and everybody is buying something; insurance is no different. People want a good product at a good price, so assume the sale. Make them say they don’t want to buy today if they won’t buy. Assume they will buy until they say otherwise.
6. Be genuine when you’re selling. Don’t come off as a salesperson. Treat the lead like it’s your neighbor or best buddy and they happened to ask about insurance. If you’re fake they will sense it.