Lets take a look at some actual numbers that might open you eyes to the benefit of selling insurance over the phone. This data was collected from an insurance agent who uses our aged life insurance leads for his marketing.
The agent buys 100 life insurance leads a month. He calls them, emails them, and sends the interested prospects marketing material thru the US mail. The agent makes, on average, 5-10 sales, per month with these leads. Of those sales only 1-3 are done in the office or at the client's home. The remaining sales are all done over the phone and email. This may or may not be surprising to you, but take a look at the actual commission that would have been lost if this agent refused to do business over the phone.
Average commission per sale $420
3 Sales per month in office. 3 Sales X $420 = $1,260 in commission.
5 Sales per month over the phone. 5 Sales X $420 = $2,100 in commission.
If the agent did not make sales of life insurance over the phone he would potentially lose out on $2,100 of commissions. This is huge if you add this up for the entire year. Granted, there is a better opportunity to cross-sell insurance products in the office, but some people will refuse to come to your office. If you are not convinced I suggest you try this on your own. Do some research by trying to sell insurance over the phone for those clients who do not want to come into your office. I would bet you come up with similar ratios as we did in the example above.
I am not saying that you must only sell insurance over the phone (even though this can be done). I am simply saying that a successful agent will be able to do this. The first thing you must do is make sure you have a reliable fast way to take an application over the phone. I know for life insurance there are some carriers that have online application that can be filled out by the agent or client and E-signed by both. This allows for a very streamlined way of submitting new business.
There are several obstacles that you must overcome if you want to consistently sell insurance via the telephone.
Getting pass the Gatekeepers. This is the first thing you will have to do to even be able to make your sales pitch. Gatekeepers could be a secretary, family member or colleague of the person you are trying to sell insurance too. Gatekeepers should be your friend. If you treat them with respect they will reciprocate.
Evasive Decision Makers. This can be troubling, but you must not let it get you down. Assume that your prospect will vanish, occasionally during the sales process. Have a plan in place to overcome this obstacle.
Voicemail Messages. You must expect to get the prospects voicemail before you even dial the number. Jot down a few sentences about what you want to say before you call. This will help you leave a clear message. Make sure you speak clearly and repeat the key points of your message. You do not want your message to be too long or you will most likely be cut off by the machine. Also, try to avoid leaving messages on Friday as people will tend to forget come Monday.
When you actually speak with the prospect make sure to use as custom opener that grabs their attention. The first few words to the client are crucial. A good opening statement will hook the client and leave them wanting to know more. You will know if you have a good or bad opening statement by the number of "clicks" or "not interested comments" you get.
Follow up, follow up, follow up. Do not do this to the point of badgering the client, but make sure they remember you. If you have to use the old cold calling Rolodex system then do so. There is also new computer software that will help manage these leads. Email is another great way to follow up so you do not call the lead too much.
The final close over the phone should be relatively easy. They are either going to want to do it or not. This is a little different then a in office meeting where it might take some more tact. Remember, over the phone sales are transactional. This is not a bad thing. Get those people as clients and they might eventually come into your office where you can begin some better relationship building skills. First, just work on getting them as clients whether that is by phone or office.