Just Help Me MORE

The  big difference between this in 2012 and today is the level is higher

Don’t sell me……….Help me buy

I’m not about to say “selling is dead” or something silly like that.  What I am saying is being a resource beats being a salesperson.  Do you know things that can help the person buy today?  YOU BETTER.  How about so things look better in 6,12, 18 months and beyond?  I REALLY HOPE SO.  Are you willing to let them go now because your sale today actually doesn’t help the person you are taking money from?  YES

Don’t build to a close………build a relationship

I’ve had a few people working with me for a bit now.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been warning them that how we do business will have a positive but also some negative impacts in the rest of their lives.  What does that mean?  Essentially that they know how we like to to treat people.  When you recognize this in others you get excited.  But, most of the times you’ll recognize their sales flow and that you are just another sale.  I’m used to it but it doesn’t mean I like it.  Every interaction is a chance to make a new acquaintance who can become a friend and beyond.  Making a sale is nice, almost easy.  Making a sale and a friend at the same time is much nicer and just as easy.

Don’t “Ben Franklin” close me?………help me by showing the why

Most sales techniques and tactics are rooted in some very basic human psychology.  It is what it is.  Two or more humans are engaging and our DNA  is wired a certain way. Consider just having a conversation.  We prefer to act like the licensed professionals we are, not “producers.”  A problem is presented and we fix the known and the unknown.  Sure, you can list them out but, at least in insurance, this time and effort is better spent elsewhere.

No fear of loss…….stick to why you are a good person to buy from 

This can be a tricky one.  It is a conversation I have with one of our team once a week.  We have a perpetual machine that steadily drips more people to work with. We also have tools and ways to continually find more people to work with.  Knowing you have this, takes a lot of the “pressure” off selling everyone you are talking to.  But, some of the philosophy and lines that go with this are in conflict;  ” We don’t need you….”  “Sure, we’d be happy to work with you….” But you know you have a backlog of people that may be easier to work with  Knowing that there is no person/business/account that can make your business but some can really hinder things.  It’s more of a “If you want to work with us, great.  If not, no big deal.  Keep in touch…..”

Don’t close me………..make me open to a new relationship

ALWAYS.  Sure, technically getting the yes and taking a payment can and is “a close” but if that is all you are after, that is all you’ll get.  That is not a good use of my time and I do not view it as a good use of my team’s time either.  On the other hand, helping someone buy  insurance, helping them feel good about the transaction, giving them reasons to want to share me/us with others, etc.  That is a much better use of time

Timing is important

Sat in on a webinar a week or so ago.  The title of it intrigued me since I could not figure out why it was setting such a low expectation for a certain metric.  Then I gave them an hour of my life and they basically explained why.

Some people don’t think big enough  

Kind of reinforced me to not pay much attention to consultants who are paid for time not necessarily results.  Anyhow, Lots of goofy ideas where talked about but two stood out;

  1. The times you should be cross selling a current customer/client
  2. The times to ask for referrals

Both are very valid things to talk about.  There are likely dozens of ideas and concepts that have been written about and that those writers will say work.  Cool.  A couple of questions to consider;

  1. When I make the time to call you, I am likely calling to handle something specific.  I may be stressed, busy, on my lunch break, etc  Why would you think I am giving you permission to take more of my time?
  2. What correlation is there between changing a car on an auto insurance policy or refinancing my home with asking me for more money?

Now, I absolutely agree with just about every study surrounding account rounding and the more lines of business in a household.  On the other hand, I am confident to know that whatever I have already done for you should have been done in such a way that you see the value in me.  That value and hopefully personal connection we have made is a very powerful thing and can undo most stats.  Consider this as an alternative; what if you politely kept in touch over the course of a year without trying to sell me anything?  Think about it, you politely keep in touch with this nice person who is already a customer.  By doing this you can hopefully bring additional value and maybe a smile therefore keeping the door open for me to buy something else.  Any way you look at it, me buying something from you is way better than you selling something to me.  Besides, you should have enough people to work with that you do not need to depend on forcing/selling anything to anybody.

On that note, I think asking me to introduce you to friends and family is almost as bad.  Why?

Quit being lazy!!!  Bring value and participate in Social Media!!!

That’s right, I think you asking for referrals, many times, is simply lazy.  I also lump it right in with interruption/spam marketing if you are asking me for referrals when I am calling for some other reason.  Some thoughts;

  • Just like me buying from you, isn’t it better when I proactively share you with friends?  How can you make this easy for me?
  • Is paying for referrals really a good idea
  • If I am only referring you someone so I can enter a contest, is it really a referral?
  • Are you even referable?  Think about it.
  • Really, if we were missing in person do you still think putting a notepad and pen in front of me is a good idea?  **Please say no***

It’s only fair to present some alternatives;

  • Where are we connected on-line?  Hopefully where I am comfortable.  P.S.  do you really think I am sharing canned insurance articles
  • I am not at all opposed to saying thanks with a gift or money.  I hope you are not either.  But should I be offering you money in exchange for your friends contact info?  Do you like it when your email is sold to random vendors?  Do you like it when you are added to a newsletter list without opting in?
  • Seriously, ” you can enter our contest for a t.v. if you refer us to a friend….”  Come on.  Keep selling on price as well and let me know how that works out.   leads us to the next one
  • Be referable.  Seriously, I’ve been thanked several times for referring one person to another and a part of my response is always, ” no problem, thanks for being easy to refer…”
  • Still  one of my favorite “techniques” and still one I have nor will never use.  Try the digital version of this and become a connection on Linkedin.  All of their connections will see it.  How about you like/share something of theirs on Facebook and see what happens.  Even better, how about you proactively refer them in some way or bring other value

Anyway, just some thoughts.  Thanks for letting me share.  Do whatever you think works for you but remember, the world has adjusted and much of what used to “work” doesn’t.