Successful call scripts for insurance agents are memorized but never recited robotically or word for word. "Winging it" is not an option for insurance agents when it comes to a call script either. First impressions are everything and the competition is hungry, if not ravenous.
You want to be polished and prepared, especially if you're a talker. Too much fluff and not enough substance is a turn off to potential insurance shoppers. Not listening to the shopper is also a bad move.
How Insurance Agents Meet Shoppers
At SmartFinancial, we provide you with the opportunity to connect with active insurance shoppers to avoid cold calling and cold calling scripts. But it's your job to take the reins during the calls we send you or the calls you make to Internet leads.
With all types of contact with insurance shoppers, you must bring the conversation to a successful sale or work towards a sale over time. Whether you sell health insurance or auto insurance, you must sound confident on that first call, which is the most important call you make.
SmartFinancial Account Managers will give you tips and assistance on how to succeed over the phone with insurance sales, but for now here's our roundup of the most important points to keep in mind when creating an insurance call script.
What's the Difference Between a Cold Calling Script and a Lead Script?
A Cold Call vs Calling a Lead
The difference between cold-calling and using leads is that insurance leads are warm, meaning there is already a foundation there, an existing relationship between the customer and SmartFinancial. You are not starting from scratch as you would with cold calling.
Good cold calling scripts are important, but you must create another one for leads, which are actively shopping when you receive their data. Practicing a script until you memorize it is highly advised.
Consumer is Actively Shopping
The consumer you're contacting has already taken steps towards getting a quote. They have spent time and energy filling out SmartFinancial's questions, which will then determine an estimate. Because of the time and energy they've invested, your chances of making a sale are higher than cold calling. In a successful script, you'll be brief and congenial but you'll be prepared to quote right away.
But there's more you need to do to secure the sale. You have to be prepared to do all the following.
Create a Jumping Off Point
When cold calling, you are starting a conversation with nothing which makes opening up dialogue more challenging. You don't know if the person on the other line needs health insurance, mortgage protection insurance, income protection insurance, auto insurance or life insurance. And you have to get them talking to find out which insurance products they need.
Once you get to know the person on the other line, you will know, "Ah, he's an entrepreneur. He needs business insurance!" Or, "He has a qualifying event, so I should sell them a health insurance policy."
You may also find that in most cases cold calling is not successful. You'll have a much higher close ratio with Internet leads, even higher with hot live transfers, which are qualified by live agents at SmartFinancial's call center.
With a lead, you will already have their basic information, but you'll have to ask more questions. Sometimes an unexpected injury that wasn't covered by the carrier causes a consumer to shop around. Sometimes it's simply a search for a lower premium. Find out what's missing from their current insurance policy.
The Difference Between Cold Calling and Leads
The biggest difference between a cold calling and a warm call is that you have a jumping off point. With a live transfer, the lead has already been screened to see if they fit with your insurance company.
When you have an insurance lead or live call from SmartFinancial, say something like, "You filled out a form for a quote with SmartFinancial. I'm here to help give you that quote in just a few minutes. First, let me say hello!" etc. These phone calls are less obtrusive because the consumer initiated contact to purchase insurance, unlike an insurance cold call.
Selling Car Insurance Policies
If you're selling car insurance, mention the customer's name and the type of car they own to make them feel important and seen. Obviously, you cannot do that on a cold call, which is more challenging.
With a lead, you can remind the customer of the fact that they've initiated the quoting process so they don't get annoyed that you're calling. Notice that instead of this call becoming an initial contact, it's more of a follow-up now, and something that the consumer wants and expects without a doubt. Remember this will help you keep the customer on the phone.
Learn as Much as You Can
Remember, you're calling to deliver the quote they wanted. Now here's the tricky part: Even though you want to cut to the chase so as to not frustrate the consumer, you aim to keep them on the phone and learn as much as you can about them (more on this later) for upselling and cross-selling purposes.
Find Out Why They Are Shopping
The best cold calling script for insurance agents will attempt to pry information from a prospect. With Internet leads and live transfer calls, you already know what they need, and they are actively shopping.
After the pleasantries, ask why are they looking to switch insurance companies. Nine times out of 10, the issue is the price of their insurance policy. Sometimes, it's customer service. You must be ready at this point with a script about your pricing and about your customer service.
Often the customer's insurer is the only insurance provider that approached them. Find something in the same price range or lower if you're an independent agent, and you may be able to sell an insurance plan, if you convince the shopper it's superior to the coverage they have now.
Life insurance plans often take longer to sell for all insurance agents. As you can imagine that at least a few follow up appointments may be necessary to make the sale. Life insurance planning requires trust-building, which we touch on below.
Convince the Insurance Shopper to Trust You
If you have testimonials from happy customers, you can send them all along with a quote, which you should always email to consumers in addition to quoting over the phone.
No one feels comfortable with an ephemeral amount floating in the air. Put the estimated total annual insurance costs down in an email.
Some agents get creative and create personalized video quotes which they send along. It's up to you how you want to do it, just know that the person on the other line wants a quote ASAP!
Stay Organized with Leads and Prospects from Cold Calls
Keep all the information the customer shares at this point in your back pocket but preferably a CRM. If you're a captive agent, make them feel like they're family, not just a number. Focus on value and customer service.
If you're an independent agent, focus on price with a churn-and-burn mentality because these types of customers are liable to jump ship again, which is why independent agents tend to have to sell higher volumes of policies.
There are ways to mitigate customers from jumping ship. One of them is to offer a total insurance policy review of the client's existing insurance policies. The more policies they buy, the more likely they are to stay, too. Passive income is nothing to sneeze at so make retention a priority.
Ask More Questions, Let Them Know the Quote Is Coming
Unlike cold calling scripts, when you call a lead, all you have to say is, "Just a few questions before we get started on a quote." It's enough of a warning but promises what they are after, a quote.
If it's a live transfer call, the prospect may have confirmed their answers already with a SmartFinancial Call Concierge so breeze through them again quickly, finding areas that prompt questions so you can get to know the customer better.
At this point, you'll want to get the customer in "yes-mode" by going over the answers they've already reviewed with a SmartFinancial agent. The consumer will be inclined to say yes when you ask if they are ready to purchase a policy.
A Word on Cold Calling Scripts
The best cold calling scripts require more than being prepared to quote. You'll need to get the most basic information from a person who has not made an attempt to buy insurance. Here's what you need to do to make a successful cold call.
Educate Customer on How Insurance Works
Whether it's a cold call or an insurance lead, most consumers don't understand insurance concepts, and if you don't explain, they will not feel comfortable buying enough coverage. They don't understand minimum thresholds or that liability will not pay for their repairs if they are at fault. They don't even know how much accidents cost, especially with all the new cars on the road.
Raise their minimums, which may only make a $20 difference a month but can make or break their financial situation if they are in an accident. Cross sell an umbrella policy if they are high-net worth individuals. Explain that if they shop elsewhere for the superior coverage you're offering, they may end up paying more.
Keep Them Talking
Aim to spend 20 to 30 minutes on the phone, which includes the time you take to educate the customer. Talk about their families, their jobs, their goals in the next year and in the next ten years or longer. Aim to sell life insurance, to build a college fund and bundle as many policies as possible. Set out to protect everything the consumer has to lose.
Don't keep chattering though. The most important part of this talk-time is trying to get the prospect to open up. In fact, first one to speak loses! So, listen and take notes about every type of insurance that is relevant to your new customer's unique situation.