Closing is one of the most important and most difficult aspects of effectively selling insurance and good closing strategy can have a tremendous impact on an individual agent’s or agency’s bottom line. As Thomas Freese, author of Secrets of Question Based Selling wrote in an August 2016 article:
“Closing ‘deals’ in sales is easy if the customer has an immanent need, and they recognize the value of your product or service, and you’ve successfully differentiated your offering to the point where the customer believes their return on investment far exceeds the cost. What’s not to like? At that point, all the salesperson has to do is place an order form in front of the customer.*”
Getting to this point, however, requires due diligence. Effective closers should be highly instructive, friendly, and open—willing to work towards small commitments that can serve as stepping stones on the way to larger sales in the future.
But, as Freese points out, customers these days have a healthy skepticism directed towards salespeople and other vendors, and it is increasingly common for customers to hesitate on the precipice. This hesitation is a critical moment, and even if an agent has provided all the information they can and worked to slowly build up the customer’s confidence towards the end of the sale, a new closing strategy may be needed to overcome this moment of doubt.
But which strategy is best? Over the decades various scripts have existed to coax, pressure, or beg the customer to proceed, many of which are now well-known to the point of being liabilities. Bad scripts such as:
• “What do you say we go ahead and sign?”
• “What will it take for us to do business today?”
• (Before they’ve committed to buying) “Would you like to include such-and-such rider?”
• “We do have a promotional discount available, but only if you decide to buy right now.”
• “Is there any reason that you wouldn’t do business with our company today?”
These are all great examples of how not to close. All they accomplish is to put customers on their guard and give them a reason to look for a way out. They sound like high pressure sales tactics because that’s what they are.
Instead, to avoid these pitfalls and remove emotion from the equation, Freese recommends flexibility (as the exact wording suitable to the context and circumstances of one sales opportunity may be very different than the next) and the use of the following line instead of those above:
“Ms. Customer, would it make sense to move forward with your purchase decision?”
Here’s why, in Mr. Freese’s own words:
“The underlying strategy here is pretty simple. If, for whatever reason it does not ‘make sense’ to move forward, they will surely respond by saying, ‘No,’ in which case, it’s easy to ask more questions to find out where the opportunity really stands. On the other hand, if it does make sense to move forward, you’ve made it easy for the customer to say, ‘Sure, let’s do it’… Asking customers if it makes sense brings logic into the equation, thus taking the emotion out. Essentially, you’re just asking for their thoughts relative to taking the next step, which sidesteps the perception that you’re only focused on padding your own pocketbook.*”
Of course, there is much more that goes into an effective insurance sales engine, including marketing, product selection, support, and fulfillment. This is why Imeriti Financial Network, a leading IMO, has been dramatically expanding the training opportunities and other offers made available to a wide range of agents and individuals. For more information, please call 800.921.3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.