Do you want the inside scoop on the sales tools that are helping professionals in the insurance industry be more productive, build deeper relationships, and close more deals every day?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s dive in.

Sales Tool #1: Email–The Old Faithful Sales Machine

Say what? Yes, you read that correctly. Email is (still) one of the top sales tools professionals use every day. But I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill email system. No, I’m talking about email on steroids: Google Apps.

Why Should I Care About Google Apps Email?

Google Apps is a suite of cloud-based software that includes the Gmail-based email client. (You know, the world’s second most popular email client.)

So, what’s the magic behind Google Apps email? It’s the add-on tools (usually browser extensions) available in the Google Apps Marketplace that set Gmail apart from the competition.

How often do you send a proposal via email? How frequently do you reach out to “lost prospects” by email, or follow up on a closed deal? Would you like to know if your emails are getting opened and making an impact? Would you like to create email templates and give your producers a set of best practices for follow up or appointment setting?

Google Apps can help.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Email is one of the most effective online marketing channels, consistently producing a meaningful return on investment. That should be no surprise, as email marketing creates a one-to-one connection with your clients and prospects, allowing you to send a personalized message in a matter of seconds. And with more and more people viewing email on their mobile phones, email marketing will continue to be effective for the foreseeable future.

Email Tools You Can Use Right Now

Tools like Yesware and Tout can help you scale your sales process, understand what happens after you click “send,” and provide clarity and structure for new producers (I’ll provide a list of resources at the end of this article that you can use to improve your email marketing communications). For instance, Yesware can tell you when folks open your emails, how many times they’ve opened them, and even geographic information about the recipient. Over time, this data can be used to fine-tune your email correspondence, proceduralize (and scale) your sales process, and inform you of your overall sales activities.

Understand Your Prospect to Fine-Tune Your Pitch

Other Google Apps add-ons like Crystal and Rapportive can give you detailed information about a prospect or customer and tell you the best way to communicate with them. Good salespeople can use this information to fine-tune their pitch, improve the effectiveness of their communication, and better understand potential customers.

Crystal takes a unique approach with their sales intelligence add-on. The screen shot below depicts Crystal telling me exactly how I should communicate with Katie, including sample language to use and phrases to avoid. You can also see the Rapportive add-on that pulls in Katie’s LinkedIn profile—giving me information I can use in our conversation.

crystal-screenshot

Sales Tool #2: Strike While the Iron is Hot with Electronic Signatures

What percentage of your deals are closed on the phone versus email or face-to-face? If your agency is like hundreds of agency owners I’ve spoken with, you probably do a lot of business over the phone and via email. And that’s ok, people are busy and they prefer to do business their way.

One great tool to reduce the time it takes to close a deal is electronic signatures. Electronic signatures allow your prospects to sign and download documents right from the comfort of their home or office–and they save you the time and money wasted on copying, mailing (or faxing), and receiving policy docs from your clients. This is a big bonus if your agency is “paperless”—you never have to print policy documents, just store them in your digital filing cabinet.

Does your agency use digital signatures at the point of sale and when conducting business by phone or email?

Sales Tool #3: Competition Breeds Success

Gamification is a buzzword that’s been tossed around technology circles for years. The idea is that you can utilize game design and mechanics to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. If you’ve developed a sales culture at your agency, you know that if you challenge and reward folks for certain behaviors, they’ll tend to repeat those behaviors. Game design takes this one step further by building in hooks and rewards that influence people to perform the actions that create results—like disciplined prospecting and follow up.

Most agencies have some form of old-school gamification at their offices—a leaderboard in the break room or an excel spreadsheet with monthly results. But some CRM and sales management systems take gamification to new levels, allowing sales managers to incentivize top-of-the-funnel sales activities that are known to lead to better results.

Take InsideSales.com, one of the leading sales acceleration platforms. Inside Sales features a gamification feature called PowerStandings™ that creates a digital leaderboard, badges, and a reward system that motivates sales people and creates a competitive (and fun) sales culture.

Are you still using an old-school leaderboard stuffed into the back corner of your office? Or have you adopted the latest technology that’s proven to increase performance?

Sales Tool #4: Local Presence

If you’re doing outbound phone prospecting, local presence should be at the top of your “must have” technology list.

The idea is simple—if you’re calling outside of your local area code, a dialer with local presence will automatically call from your target’s area code—increasing connection rates, conversation durations, and ultimately improving sales. Many lead management systems and CRMs include local presence dialers.

Sales Tool #5: Get Personal with Video

This is a little known trick that can help you connect on a deeper level with your clients and prospects. I’ve met agents that have great success selling and retaining clients by integrating video chat like Google Hangouts, Skype or FaceTime.

When your prospects see you, they’re more likely to engage with you at a deep level. This positions you as the trusted expert you really are, and differentiates you from the folks manning the call centers at the faceless corporations you compete with. Your customers and prospects don’t mind talking to a real live human either.

Other agents use video messages in their email communication, monthly newsletters, or record a quick 20-second summary when emailing a quote. It’s a great way to set yourself apart and become more approachable and trustworthy.

If you want to use video at scale, check out the Switch Merge platform, which allows you to integrate personalized video into bulk email campaigns.

Sales Tool #6: Position Yourself as a Trusted Expert

Your website could be one of your best marketing assets—if you’d only use it.

Here’s a quick tip that you can implement this week to help overcome objections, address concerns, and demonstrate value during the sales process…

Take the most frequent 5-10 questions you get about your top selling products or services, and just start writing.

The next time a prospect asks you a question like, “Why is the coverage on my home so high—it’s not even worth that much!” you can answer their question and provide a reference to an article you’ve written on your agency’s website.

Every time a prospect asks a question, it’s an opportunity to set yourself apart from the pack. Using the example above, you could explain the differences between actual cash value and replacement cost, then mention that you’ve written an article on this very subject and include it in a follow up email. Now you’re the trusted expert—not the call center salesman.

Want to take this a bit further? Create a content calendar and syndicate your producer’s writing to LinkedIn, Facebook, your email list, etc. Don’t let that content go to waste! By developing your producer’s reputation as “the insurance guy/girl,” you’ll improve their credibility, amplify their lead flow, and make prospects feel more comfortable.

I’m KJ Prince; happy selling.

Resources Mentioned In this Article:

  • Conspire
  • Crystal Knows
  • Boomerang
  • Calendy
  • Yesware
  • Boomerang
  • Switch Merge
  • Rapportive
  • Inside Sales
  • Google Hangouts
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