Asking the Right Questions
Ask the right questions. Most of the producers I train are amazed to find out that asking the right insurance sales related questions makes such a huge difference—not only in closing the sale, but also in the size of the account! Why? Because asking the right insurance sales questions is how you find out what is most important to your prospects and clients…which will also help you provide your clients with the right solutions to their “problems.”
If you want to gain and maintain control during the sales call, then you need to be asking the right questions. When you ask the right sales questions, you can lead your clients in the direction they need to go. So, you can help them to discover for themselves, the “problems” that they face now and in their future.
By asking the right questions and really listening you will find out what your client’s biggest concerns are. When you know what your client is most concerned about solving, then you can provide the solution they are looking for. That will make the sale almost automatic.
What made you take my call?
Why it works: This question should get your prospect talking about what they are hoping to achieve by switching insurance coverage. You may be able to get a feel for how you could best approach the sales process and possibly take note of what not to do by learning where their current services are lacking.
What do you like best about your current agent and the service they provide?
Why it works: This is a positive way of opening the discussion on why they are shopping for new coverage. The lead will tell you straight-out what they value in an agent and essentially what you need to do to earn their business. They may also offer negative aspects, which will be details you want to avoid.
How did that car handle last month’s ice storm [insert a relevant recent local weather event]?
Why it works: Your prospect is not going to say anything but “great” or “I stayed home,” thinking that a “good” answer will get them a better rate. But that is not the point of asking that question. Some sales questions are not asked so much for the answer as for getting the prospect thinking. Here, they will be thinking about driving risks and the importance of having quality coverage while you make your presentation.
How did you decide on this make/model of car?
Why it works: This is another somewhat psychological question. Your lead’s answer will almost never be “it was the cheapest one.” Buying decisions are rarely made on price alone. There are many factors that influence buying and going through the motions with this decision will subconsciously remind the lead that price is not the only consideration.
What coverage do you want?
Why it works: This is an aspirational question. It is a very different question than “What coverage do you have?” Assumptive questions can get the prospect thinking about what they want in new coverage, not what they already have. There are enough people who window shop for coverage but almost never leave their carrier. You do not want to play into that possibility.
Do you know anyone who has been seriously hurt in a car accident?
Why it works: Many decisions in life are wrapped up with emotion. Many people do know a friend, coworker, or family member who was seriously hurt in an accident. People often offer up their stories to you. Just listen. This exchange subtly helps insurance leads remember that car insurance serves an important purpose in the event of an accident.
Besides price, what is the next-most-important thing for you?
Why it works: Everyone cares about how much it costs. Even if they can afford to pay more than they will need to pay, people want to feel like they are getting a good deal. However, other factors matter, like what that price gets them. Let them list some things they consider important. This is another one that gets the conversation to focus on value rather than price.
Who are our main competitors, besides your current agent?
Why it works: Knowing the answer to a question like this greatly informs how you proceed. If your lead has only requested a quote from you, the sale is yours to lose. You need only convince the lead you are a better choice than their current coverage. If they are playing the field, you will have to adjust your approach.
When do you anticipate making your final decision? Today, or will you need more time?
Why it works: You will want to know whether your prospect will be able to make a “yes” or “no” decision immediately after your sales presentation and consultation, but this is also a way to draw out a bit more than a one-word answer. You may learn if your prospect has another decision maker (a spouse, board member, business partner, etc.) who needs to be consulted and sold on the policy.
What are your kids’ names? How old?
Why it works: Do not forget that the insurance business is about building relationships. If you are not able to close the deal today, you will get another chance the next time you call or meet. Remember to ask about the kids in follow-ups. It shows that you are listening, that you respect the lead as a real person with a real life, and it helps strengthen that relationship you will need to close the sale.
There are countless questions you can ask your insurance leads. Even with the best aged leads, you still need to ask the right sales questions and then just listen. Most leads are not ready to buy right away, but half of aged leads will buy after the right nurturing. Asking the right questions in consultations and follow-ups will get you most of the way there.
Brandon Smith is working to be a catalyst in the evolution of independent agents: In addition to his role as managing partner for GiiG (Glidewell Investments & Insurance Group), he is the founder of Producer Development Program and the CEO/Owner of PolicyTee. He also was co-founder of Insurance Agency Owners Alliance (IAOA), an association of agents who innovate and collaborate through events, webinars and more. Brandon has spent years motivating and inspiring audiences to get out of their comfort zone and to dream again. With his background as a Dave Ramsey endorsed local provider for GiiG, Brandon honed his skills and helps motivate audiences who are just surviving in business rather than thriving.
With his engaging, and fun personality, Brandon connects with his audiences and delivers content that they can immediately use when they get back to their home or office. The 17-year industry veteran was recognized by Rough Notes Magazine as their cover agent in July of 2020.
He attended Southwestern University on a basketball scholarship and still enjoys hoops in his free time. Brandon is a die-hard Red Sox fan, loves coffee and Wi-Fi, and was once a line leader in second grade. Brandon, his wife Joy and three children (Avery 13, Boston 10, and Harper 8) reside in Missoula, Montana.
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