There are times we could all benefit from lying on a therapist’s couch. Much of the time, we talk through our challenges with good friends. However we get there, we feel and become better simply because there is a concerned ear to let us talk ourselves through a situation.

Businesses—yours and your clients’—need the same concerned ear.

As we are taking prospective clients who may become part of our network through our sales process, you may think we spend that time talking about us and what we offer. Instead, our initial conversation puts us in the role of that “therapist,” asking questions and taking notes to learn about them.

On one recent call, we scheduled an hour and a half to visit with the agency’s two leaders to learn more about them, their agency, and how they operate. Of course, as we ask questions, we allow the potential new member to talk and elaborate as long as it is productive. The hour-and-a-half call lasted two and a half hours.

Oh, it gets personal

We didn’t just discuss the easy questions (How much are you growing? How full are your pipelines?), we tackled the toughest issues.

  • We discussed why certain team members are intimidated by the leader. We probed further and asked how that affected the organization and its performance.
  • We explored the dynamic (somewhat combative) within the leadership team and the message it sends to the rest of the agency.
  • We talked about the company vision and how it was communicated throughout the organization.

We facilitated a much-needed conversation between these two leaders. As we finished the call, one of them commented in a very good-natured way, "This felt like a marriage counseling session.”

Sure, we offered some advice during this call, but mostly what we did was ask questions, listen very carefully, and, hopefully, made it very clear how genuinely interested we are in them and their situation.

We love this part of what we do because our clients tell us time and again how powerful and motivating these conversations (“counseling sessions”) are.

Guess what? Your clients need these conversations, too

You can, and need to be, the one taking this powerful conversation and genuinely interested ear to your prospects and clients. And it’s more attainable than you realize.

The most powerful conversations you will have with prospects/clients aren’t when you show up with answers; it’s when you ask the right questions for the right reason.

Let your excuses for not taking this approach go; they stink.

We hear, “My prospects don’t want to talk about anything but insurance.” I call BS! If that’s your perception, it’s because you only give them a chance to ask about insurance. I promise that when you ask them about their bigger business issues, they will jump at the opportunity to talk.

We hear, “They won’t give me that much time.” I call BS again! We request at least an hour every time we have this call with a prospect. No agency has ever said, "No thanks, I don't want to talk about my business that long." And any time it becomes apparent we are going to run long, we stop and ask if they want to wrap up or continue. Never has anyone said, “Let’s stop; we've talked about our business enough." Your prospects are no different.

We hear, “But I’m just an insurance agent.” I call my third and biggest BS! That is your personal head trash, and you must let it go. If you don't, you won't be "just" an insurance agent much longer.

Start having bigger business conversations with your prospects and clients. They are craving it. They need it!

If you want more help with getting a plan together for your agency, our Q4i Agency Annual Planning Guide will help. Download it today. 

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Photo by grinvalds