Most everyone has heard Wayne Gretzky’s explanation of his success, “I skate to where the puck is going to be.”  

Sounds obvious, yet challenging, at the same time. Of course, if Gretzky had gone to where the puck was at that exact moment, he would arrive too late. That part is easy to understand.

The more difficult question, the one that really matters, is, of all the places the puck could go, how did he know where it would be?

They don’t call him the Great One for no reason. He knew where the puck would be because he knew where it needed to be for the play to be successful.

Scoring starts with recognizing success

The same idea applies to your prospects and clients. Satisfying their current insurance needs is safe and obvious but will have you arriving at the same place as your competitors.

To separate yourself from the pack of "puck chasers," you must anticipate where your buyer needs their “puck” to move to tomorrow. You must recognize their additional and future needs—even if they can’t see them on their own.

If they don’t need them already, it won’t be long until they need:

  • Training/leadership development
  • Communication strategies
  • Wellness programs
  • Assistance with employee engagement issues
  • Improved employee productivity
  • Performance management
  • Compliance assistance
  • Technology solutions

Does this list of additional needs remind you of your capabilities presentation and list of value-adds? If so, don't get a false sense of security.

Having the resources alone is like having all the right sports equipment; they don’t mean much if you aren’t skilled in using them. More than that, if your prospects/clients don’t recognize the need, they won’t be interested.

Define the win

The first thing to recognize is that you and your prospects/clients are on the same team. You should first define what success looks like as early in the sales conversation as possible. That could sound something like this:

“We won't ask for your business until and unless it becomes obvious there is an opportunity for meaningful improvement to your overall HR/benefits program. Also, we must earn your confidence in our ability to fix any problems we may identify.”

I don’t know about you, but I believe any prospect giving you a legitimate opportunity would consider that definition of mutual success to be reasonable; they would see it as a win.

Design a successful play

With the goal clearly established, it becomes easy to lay out the steps of the play that will lead to the score.

Looking back at the list of needs above, have a conversation with the prospect to identify which areas they are doing well with and which are a current struggle.

The next step of the play is to walk them through the solutions you would put in place, and how you would use those solutions to address needs and ensure improved results.

From there, it’s all but an empty-net goal.

When you know what it takes for any given “play” to be successful with your prospects and you share the vision of that play with them, it becomes infinitely easier to ensure you arrive together where the “puck is going to be.”


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