I know many salespeople are afraid of challenging the thinking of their prospects and clients. They are afraid of telling them what they need to hear, but don't really want to hear. They are afraid of having uncomfortable conversations.

Why are salespeople so afraid of challenging their prospect’s and client’s thinking?

Simple. They lack sales confidence.

Selling is a transfer of confidence. As insurance advisors, it is your job to give your prospects confidence that by working with you and your team, they can get better results than their current situation provides. Of course, you can’t give away what you don’t have. You can’t give them confidence in you until you are truly confident in you.

You both need you to have sales swagger

To be clear, I’m not encouraging you to become that arrogant, aggressive, pushy salesperson. But, I am encouraging you to take an assertive approach to the sales conversations you have with prospects.

Those prospects are facing challenges they’ve likely never faced before:

  • The compliance burden they face has never been heavier.
  • The complexity of designing a benefit program has never been greater.
  • Their ability to attract/retain talent has never been more compromised.
  • Their need to be more operationally efficient through access to the appropriate technology has never been more urgent.

The conversations and relationship their current broker has with them has likely never had them thinking through these issues with any clarity. The only way to help them break through is to challenge their thinking, dissect their current situation, and walk them to the obvious conclusion that there is a better way.

Confidence isn’t built in a day

Of course, you have an initial burden of creating and being able to demonstrate a better way. You have to be confident in your ability to improve their situation.

There are three sources of sales confidence: impact, sales conversation, and pipeline.

Confidence source one: Impact

You must be able to demonstrably make a positive impact on their business and you must be able to do so in ways that reach beyond your insurance advice. You need to impact the compliance, technology, communication, attraction/retention, etc. needs of their business.

Of course, you know this already. It’s why you have invested so heavily in third-party resources. But having access to those resources is NOT the same as being able to make an impact with them.

You and your team must study those resources and understand the needs each addresses. You must understand the operational and financial impact they can have when put in place. You must understand how to effectively implement each solution to ensure the impact is actually made.

Confidence source two: Sales conversation

You will never have real sales confidence if you are having the same sales conversation as everyone else. Most are out there offering free quotes, pointing out how long you’ve been in business, bragging about the platinum status you have with carriers, beating the prospect over the head with your capabilities binder, and explaining how you will be like an extension of their HR department. Sound familiar?

Your prospects have had this conversation so many times with so many brokers, they can repeat it in their sleep. This conversation is a lame attempt to earn business by arguing that you are a better version of what they already have. But, buyers rarely move for a better version of what they already have. You must show them that you compete in a whole new category.

To be truly confident with your conversation, the conversation must focus on the buyer and their story. Through your conversation, you must uncover exactly what their current situation looks like (not just the insurance chapters, but the compliance, technology, communication, etc. chapters as well).

Your conversation must help uncover what is working and what isn’t working in each area. The conversation must lead to a plan that specifically identifies how you will improve their story by effectively making the impact described above.

Confidence source three: Pipeline

Until you keep your pipeline filled with the right number of the right opportunities, you will likely never be able to challenge the thinking of your prospects. If your pipeline is too light, you will hold on to each of the few prospects you do have for dear life. You will be too afraid of telling them anything you think they don’t want to hear, no matter how badly they need to hear it.

Reinforce your sales confidence every week

If you want to become comfortable taking uncomfortable conversations to your prospects, you need to build/reinforce your sales confidence every week. Start each week by answering the following questions.

  1. What will I do this week to better understand the solutions (insurance and non-insurance) I have access to and the impact they can make on a client’s business?

Hint – understanding the features and benefits of your solutions is not enough, you have to understand the operational/financial impact they can deliver.

  1. Which parts of my sales process/conversation do I need to practice/role-play this week to become more fluent when in front of a prospect?

Hint – The best performers/professionals in any field practice their asses off. If you think you can show up and wing it, you’re still an amateur who can expect nothing more than random results.

  1. How will I improve my pipeline to ensure I have the right number of the right prospects?

Hint – If you haven’t studied your conversion rates, close rates, and identified your ideal prospect/client, you will never know if your pipeline is what it needs to be.

If you take the few minutes each week to plan around these questions, spend the next five days executing that plan, and do this week after week, you will develop the swagger both you and your prospects need you to have.

Someone is going to be uncomfortable

You are painfully aware of how much your world as an insurance advisor has changed, but so has the business world in which your prospects and clients compete. Change is never easy, but avoiding change leads to something even more uncomfortable... irrelevance.

Someone is going to have uncomfortable conversations with your prospects and clients. Make sure it’s you.

If you're afraid to initiate uncomfortable conversations with your prospects and clients, don't be surprised when they initiate an uncomfortable conversation with you about how they chose your more courageous competition.

Photo by pathdoc

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