In sales, confidence doesn’t come from the win; it is the win that results from confidence.
Selling is a transfer of confidence. Salespeople are always working to give prospects, and even existing clients, confidence that by working with them, they will get better results than if they don’t.
Of course, you can’t give away what you don’t possess. You will never make that prospect confident in you if you aren’t confident yourself.
There are three primary sources of sales confidence. To reach your growth potential, you must stay focused on the sources, build them to a potent level, maintain that level, and share that confidence with others.
1. Client impact
Prospects and clients are always looking for opportunities to get better results for their business. That's where you come in. As you discuss a prospect's needs, you must be confident in addressing those problems and delivering improved results.
For most of the problems faced by your prospects, you have solutions at your disposal. For example, you have most likely accumulated a list of solutions that includes compliance, technology (benefits administration), HR resources, communication tools, creative insurance strategies, and on and on the list goes.
There was a time when having these solutions was enough to provide a level of confidence. After all, not all agencies had recognized the need for these resources. Times have changed. Now, these solutions are merely the ante to the game.
Unfortunately, the way most producers use these solutions hasn't changed. They load them into their capabilities presentation and drone on and on about all the stuff they provide clients as if they were somehow special.
Merely having the solutions doesn't mean clients will ever benefit from their impact; most of the time, they don't.
When delivering these solutions to clients, most producers/agencies will do nothing more than hand out usernames and passwords to a website, leaving the client on their own to figure out how to use them. It’s impossible to be confident discussing a solution when you know it will never make the needed impact.
To be confident in your ability to deliver that impact, two more steps are critical. First, you need to study and understand your solutions well enough to have meaningful conversations about the problems you can solve with them. Second, once you identify that a prospect is suffering from that problem, you must drive the solution's implementation to ensure the solution is used effectively and the problem is fixed.
While your competitors are merely talking about the products they offer, you will be confidently having conversations with the prospect about their problems you can solve.
2. Tell a better story
I’m not talking about some gimmicky, trick-you-into-buying-from-me story. This is about the sales conversation/process you take to the buyer. In fairness, appropriately done, it isn't even really a sales process; it is a buying process you provide the buyer to ensure they make the best buying decision.
Confidence can’t survive in a sea of sameness.
You compete in a world where most buyers believe, “Insurance brokers are all the same.” Whether it is true or not, you can’t blame them for thinking that when they hear the same message over and over and over. Does this sound familiar?
“We, at ABC Agency, have been in business for 56 years. We have great relationships with all the right carriers. Let me show you the list of ‘free stuff’ we provide our clients. But the real reason our clients do business with us is the level of service we provide. Our goal is to feel like an extension of your HR department.” 🙄
When the stories a prospect hears from brokers all sound the same, you can't blame them for stereotyping. It has to be painful to sit across from a buyer and watch the "here we go again" realization set in. At that point, you have lost them. Even if you have the greatest strategy they have ever heard, it quickly becomes the greatest strategy they NEVER heard once they tune you out.
Change the conversation. Change the game. Change the outcome.
To win more often, stop talking about yourself and start asking about them. When you show up and, instead of telling them your story, you make it clear you want to improve their story, you'll get their attention.
Take the time to learn about their vision of what they want to accomplish through their benefits program. Slow down enough to understand what it is about their current situation that is holding them back. Do this, and you move from being a salesperson to the coveted category of advisor.
With that understanding, you can now confidently lay out a plan of how you can systematically move them to where they want to go. It is always easier to embark on a journey when you are confident the destination is where you want and need to be.
3. Maintain a healthy pipeline
Of the three areas of sales confidence, this is the most important. I always hesitate to say this because I fear it may be misinterpreted as a greedy money grab. Sure, a healthy pipeline is essential because of the potential new revenue it represents. However, that is not my point in terms of it creating sales confidence.
If you don’t have a healthy pipeline of prospects, the other areas of sales confidence don’t matter. Your ability to make an impact or to have a more impactful sales conversation is irrelevant if you don't have anyone to share them with.
It should be a privilege to potentially have the opportunity of working with you.
However, when your pipeline is healthy, everything you do is more effective and impactful. You control the conversation and guide the prospect comfortably forward. You don’t chase the wrong opportunities. You bring an assertive tone to the conversation that allows the buyer to find confidence in you and what you share.
Confidence is contagious
You are asking prospects to make a big decision when it comes to working with you. Chances are, they are suspicious and even cynical because of their past experiences with “others just like you.”
When you know you can deliver a meaningful impact on their business, when your sales conversation focuses on improving their story, and when you have a healthy pipeline of interested buyers, you are bound to be confident.
To break the gravity that holds prospects in place, you have to introduce a force that is even more powerful. We’ve all experienced it. There are few forces in the Universe with an attraction stronger than confidence.
Go be(come) the confident force your prospects and clients need.
Photo by Yaroslav Kryuchka.