In so many ways, the sales game has changed. Well, to be fair, the buying game has changed, but too many salespeople still take the same old, tired approach.

By now, I hope you are aware that buyers are doing most of their research online and mostly have their mind made up before they are even willing to meet with you.

As a result, when you do get in front of that prospect, you damn well better be prepared to discuss what is most important to them, rather than wasting everyone’s time by blathering on about the things they’ve just learned online.

What the buyer wants to hear

According to The Challenger Sale, the top five things buyers are looking for in a salesperson are:

Someone who:

  1. Offers unique and valuable perspectives on the market
  2. Helps me navigate alternatives
  3. Provides ongoing advice and consultation
  4. Helps me avoid potential land mines
  5. Educates me on new issues and outcomes

What the buyer keeps hearing instead

Yet, what do most insurance brokers want to discuss when they get in front of a prospect?

  • Price – “We have great relationships with the carriers and will use our Gold or Platinum status to get you the best price.”
    • Reality check – Yet, if it were your client considering letting other brokers get quotes, you would explain how underwriters don’t like multiple brokers quoting and, besides, brokers are all going to get the same rates anyway.
  • Product – “Look at our ‘Capabilities’ binder, we have so much stuff that we make available to our clients.”
    • Reality check – You probably stop short of explaining how frustrated you are with the vendors from whom you access these additional resources because none of your clients actually use them.
  • Service – “The real difference is our people; we provide great service. We’ll be like an extension of your HR department.”
    • Reality check – Of course, this can’t be tested until they become a client and things start to fall apart.

Do you notice a difference between these two lists?

Not a single one of these insurance broker talking points made the list of what buyers are truly looking for.

Now, I’m not suggesting these things aren’t important. But they are only important in terms of them being minimum expectations. They mean nothing in terms of differentiating yourself from your competition.

Time is being wasted – theirs and yours

Your prospect's time is valuable; they aren’t going to waste it meeting with anyone who they don’t think can meet the minimum expectations. By the time they are willing to meet with you, they have done their research.

They assume you have a good product (access to the right resources) and will offer it to them at a fair price. They also assume that, if they become a client, you will provide good service.

If they didn’t believe you could meet the price-product-service minimum, they wouldn’t waste their time meeting with you. But, guess who else they assume can meet that same minimum? Yep, any of your competitors with whom they are willing to meet.

The message is killing the messenger

This is why your price-product-service message is killing you. You are not going to differentiate yourself and earn that prospect’s business by simply validating what they’ve already assumed on your behalf.

Prospects are not interested in discussing the products you offer; they are interested in discussing the problems they have for which your products may be part of the solution.

Think back on your recent sales presentations. Are you cloaking yourself in a coat of minimum expectations or are you delivering value by discussing what the buyer really wants and needs to hear?

Photo by Olegb

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