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Old 02-02-2011, 03:11 PM   #1
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Frank Stastny on The Most Important Part Of Sales Is... - Insurance Forum
 
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The most important part of the entire sales process is the initial phone call. If the initial phone call isn’t absolutely perfect then the agent will not be working up to his fullest potential. If the agent blows the initial phone call a sale may never ensue.

Using the phone successfully it is a learned, well practiced art. It isn’t something that just “comes naturally”. There is no “secret” method or system to selling insurance over the phone or calling to set appointments. The “secret” is in the agent’s ability to handle the call properly and make it smooth and conversational.

Most agents only think they know what the prospect on the other end of the phone is actually hearing when the agent makes a statement. Many times the prospect is hearing something totally different.

Don’t believe me? Try this, tape the next five calls, play them back and listen to them with a very critical ear. Most agents are surprised when they hear what they are actually saying and how it sounds to the prospect. What the prospect actually hears is not necessarily what we think we hear ourselves saying.

When the prospect first picks up the phone they are not paying attention nor are they ready to start “listening”. When the phone rings they are probably doing something else and only picked it up because it rang. To get their attention the agent must speak slowly and clearly to give them time to start “paying attention”. If the agent just rattles off his name and the reason for the call the prospect probably didn’t “hear” a word the agent said. All they probably heard is “bla, bla, bla, bla”.

Tips to making it a successful call:

1. Speak slowly enough to be understood, especially in the first few seconds. Many agents speak way too fast when they begin the call.

2. In the first few seconds don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to. Saying “how you doing” is the wrong question to ask and should never be stated. Both you and they know you don’t care.

3. Speak loudly enough to be heard. Mumbling and slurring words is not going to get them to listen.

4. Enunciate every word perfectly. They must be able to understand every word you say. If the prospect has to ask you to repeat what you have said then it breaks the smooth rhythm of the call and the call probably won’t be as successful.

5. Pay special attention to the timing with which you say things. If your timing is off just a little bit it may not be a successful call.

6. Are maintaining control of the call (this also speaks to the “timing”) or are you allowing the prospect to take control? If you permit the prospect to say something like “I’m not interested” you have lost control. Once you lose control it is very difficult to regain it.

7. Choose the words you use very carefully. Some words “throw up a red flag” where as others will elicit the response you are looking for. “What” is a red flag word. Example: “What are you paying each month?” The prospect is going to immediately ask them self “Why is he asking that? That is confidential information”. A better way to ask that question is, “May I ask how much you are paying...” When you say “May I ask” you are really asking permission to ask them.

7. Design your phone presentation to get the information you need within the first sixty seconds of the call so you can decide if you want to continue the call. That decision should be yours, not the prospects.

8. Always speak in a relaxed conversational manner. Leave all of the “hype” out of it. It turns people off.

9. There is a learning curve to using the phone properly. It is so much more than simply having someone’s “script”. The word “script” has a lot of negative connotations. It implies that it is something an agent will print, attempt to put “in their own words” and read. It will sound like a sales script/sales pitch instead of sounding like you are calling them to offer your help.

10. Hone your listening skills. Many agents may be "good talkers" but they may not have ever learned to "listen". Some agents are too busy talking and never take time to listen. The prospect will give you all kind of clues of how to get their attention if the agent knows what to listen for.

Develop a smooth, conversational, well thought out phone “presentation” and your degree of success will increase dramatically.

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Old 02-02-2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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SEARCH on The Most Important Part Of Sales Is... - Insurance Forum
 
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Another priceless gem Frank!
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:34 PM   #3
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Very nicely put!
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:35 PM   #4
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Frank, I do appreciate your helpful information.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:44 PM   #5
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LGilmore on The Most Important Part Of Sales Is... - Insurance Forum
 
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Nicely put. About the only thing I would add is breathe a bit before you begin the call. Relax yourself and your speech will be less forced, it will be more casual.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:27 PM   #6
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Frank Stastny on The Most Important Part Of Sales Is... - Insurance Forum
 
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Originally Posted by LGilmore View Post
Nicely put. About the only thing I would add is breathe a bit before you begin the call. Relax yourself and your speech will be less forced, it will be more casual.
That is an excellent one.

I use to do a lot of public speaking and I'll never forget my first time, speaking that is. I was so pumped up that I started talking and forgot to breathe. I guess I was trying to get the whole speech out in one breath.

Speaking slowly will greatly help in giving the agent plenty of time to breathe when talking.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:40 AM   #7
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Great information Frank. I know it takes a great deal of your time to write out your thoughts and post them for all to see.

Rick
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:51 AM   #8
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The Most Important Part Of Sales Is...

The Close!

When they say "No", that's when the real "Work" begins!

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Old 02-03-2011, 09:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by YouGotMyMoney View Post
When they say "No", that's when the real "Work" begins!
Yes!
If they say "no", that just means they need more information.

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D. Dayton Sayer IV
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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SERVICE!!!! Is the most important part of sales without question!!

While I like that Frank took a page out of the Liano book with a "self promotional" post like this, I'll add some additional insight

Anyone can read a script, ask questions, speak slowly and clearly with volume, and while that's all good, albeit obvious info, number one, if you mumble, can't articulate words etc maybe phone sales isn't for you. Secondly, the skill set starts when the client hesitates, as in the "I'm not interested, need to speak to spouse, think it over" etc. There are so many other factors in the design of what you do on a call that are critical to your success.

First let's look at this:

[COLOR=Sienna][I]2. In the first few seconds don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to. Saying “how you doing” is the wrong question to ask and should never be stated. Both you and they know you don’t care.[/I][/COLOR]

What if you actually care about people? Don't people appreciate you asking how they are? I know I do? If you're sincere, this is always a good thing to do.

[COLOR=Sienna][I]6. Are [/I][/COLOR]you [COLOR=Sienna][I]maintaining control of the call (this also speaks to the “timing”) or are you allowing the prospect to take control? If you permit the prospect to say something like “I’m not interested” you have lost control. Once you lose control it is very difficult to regain it.[/I][/COLOR]

If you do lose control of the sale, you can regain it simply by asking a question, and then another, and continue forward, that's how you control the call to begin with and lead the client to the desired outcome.
[B]
Now let's look at the two #7's LOL[/B]

[COLOR=Sienna][I]7. Choose the words you use very carefully. Some words “throw up a red flag” where as others will elicit the response you are looking for. [/I][I]“What” is a red flag word. Example: [/I][I]“What are you paying each month?” The prospect is going to immediately ask them self [/I][I]“Why is he asking that? That is confidential information”. A better way to ask that question is, [/I][I]“May I ask how much you are paying...” When you say [/I][I]“May I ask” you are really asking permission to ask them.[/I][/COLOR]

If you developed trust and rapport, when you ask this type of question,you'll get the answer, period, if you do what #7 (part 2) says you might have a problem because . . .

[COLOR=Sienna][I]7. Design your phone presentation to get the information you need within the first sixty seconds of the call so [U]you[/U] can decide if you want to continue the call. That decision should be yours, not the prospects.[/I][/COLOR]

This is a common and tremendous mistake I see in most sales realms. The salesperson immediately tries to see if there's a sale, rather than working to gain a client. I can't tell you how many sales are written where other agents have dismissed the consumer because they are taught to blow through people as if they were number. It reminds me of the terrible car close "If I have what you want will you take it today?" This and questions like this are solely in the interest of the agent, not the consumer, which will put the consumer off, they can tell you are trying to fish for a sale.

EDIT: the more I read #7 (the 2nd one) the more it's wrong, the client [B]has to decide[/B] to do business with you, they pay you, it's not the other way around, this one is just bad advice.

[COLOR=Sienna][I]9. There is a learning curve to using the phone properly. It is so much more than simply having someone’s “script”. The word “script” has a lot of negative connotations. It implies that it is something an agent will print, [U]attempt[/U] to put “in their own words” and read. It will sound like a sales script/sales pitch instead of sounding like you are calling them to offer your help. [/I][/COLOR]

A script [B]is a[/B] presentation, an outline, a guideline whatever you want to call it, you cannot wing it or go unscripted, you will fail. You CANNOT sound like you're reading it, that makes the difference which should be added. I can play recordings of agents reading a script and you'd never know it, now if you heard them the first time they read it though, you may put a bullet in your head LOL but that's why it takes practice!!!

And we should add the following:[LIST][*]Learn the products[*]Always wait for the client to stop talking until you speak again.[*]Take notes about what their needs are.[*]Listen to what they say and if it even says anything, meaning when it's a vague statement, like "I need to think about it" which doesn't tell you a thing, then ask more questions to move you towards the sale.[*]Ask for the sale, close like Mark said, don't think most people will offer up their wallet to you no matter what you hear on the forum.[/LIST]
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Last edited by robliano; 02-03-2011 at 12:40 PM.
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