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Ask The Advanced Sales Doctor With Dr. Csaba Sziklai

Q: I was doing well until about three months ago when all of a sudden everything started to go wrong for me. I lost a case to a competitor, a promising prospect stopped returning my calls and several other cases fell apart on me. Since then, I have not made a sale. I think I lost it! Can you suggest anything?

Rx: There are times when suddenly nothing seems to go right. Random events occur that are not your causing and that you are unable to control, but nevertheless, they may have a momentary impact on your life or business. We all have experienced setbacks in business. But when a number of these happen all at once, they seem to defy probability and it can be hard to believe that you are not causing them. We have a tendency to look for a cause-and-effect relationship in events and to try to find an explanation for them. It is easier to believe that you have "lost your touch" than to fathom how several things may go wrong for you all at once without you being responsible for them. Once you have convinced yourself that you "lost it," your self-doubt will cause you to lose confidence in yourself and ultimately becomes a selffulfilling prophecy. It is important that you remember that you cannot control everything that may affect your business on the short term, including the setbacks you just experienced. You are still the same competent person that you were before, you have not lost anything. Recall your past successes and work on regaining your winning attitude. As soon as you make your first sale, things will start looking better again.

Q: Prospects often put me off by saying something like, "I already have insurance," or, "I already have an agent." I am not sure what to say to that. Any suggestions?

Rx: More often than not, prospects will resist when you first approach them, and saying that they already have an agent or insurance are common ways of doing it. Sometimes it is just an excuse and sometimes it is a statement of fact. Either way, you need to acknowledge it as a fact and find out whether the insurance they have meets the prospect's needs or whether the agent is still actively involved with the prospect to take care of his /her needs. People that have purchased insurance in the distant past are, more likely than not, underinsured. And it is your responsibility to make sure that they have the right amount of protection in place. Also, according to some statistics, the average person will buy insurance seven times in his/her lifetime, but only 2.5 times from the same agent. If your prospects are not actively served by their agent, you have an opportunity to take their agents' place and update the prospect's coverage. You may say something like this to respond to your prospect's objection: "I am not suggesting replacing the insurance you have in place or the people that you trust. But it would be in your best interest to sit down with me (or someone like me) to review what protection you have in force to make sure that it meets your needs and the needs of those that depend on you for their financial security. You will walk away from our meeting being reassured that your insurance needs are well taken care of or you will find out what else you might need. In that case, you can follow up with your agent or, if you wish, I can help you take care of it."

Q: I am a multiline agent and most of my sales come from property and casualty products. I get a lot of pressure from my company to sell life insurance products to my existing clients but I get a lot of resistance from them. I am afraid that if I keep pushing them, they may take their P/C business somewhere else. What should I do?

Rx: People come to buy automobile or home owners insurance because they see a need for it, or because they have to. In many states, you cannot register your car unless you have it insured. So your prospects for P/C products are motivated buyers, whereas most people do not perceive a current need for life insurance. This has to do with the way we deal with our mortality; we convince ourselves that we will live long and healthy lives and avoid situations that remind us of the reality that this may not be the case. Selling to an unmotivated prospect presents you with a unique challenge. Buying a property and casualty product is the prospect's agenda so they do not question your motive for selling it to them. But selling life insurance appears to be your agenda; they have no perceived need for it and it is you that approaches the prospect proposing that they buy it. To your prospect you likely to appear as self-serving, motivated by a desire to earn a commission by selling them something that they don't need. Because of this, your first sales strategy should be to position your motivation as serving the client's interest and the interests of his/her dependents. Develop a strong commitment to protecting the future of dependents with life insurance and learn to communicate this commitment to your prospects. Your passionate belief in providing for your client's future security will alleviate your client's suspicions about your motive, setting the stage for exploring their life insurance needs.

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