Closing the Sale: The Final Challenge

Closing the sale is a challenging task in the insurance field.One of the most challenging tasks before an insurance agent is the last action they must do to get a commission: closing the sale. Below are five tips to consider when closing a sale, and actions which may increase your sales record if you apply them.

1) Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Instead of thinking like an agent, think like the client. If you were sitting in their place, with the information you laid out for them, would you make the final decision to purchase? Why or why not? Asking yourself this tough question will lead to a needed self-evaluation of your sales technique, which may prove effective in increasing sales.

2) Respond to objections. The most important task in sales of any kind is overcoming objections. This is very true in insurance. People may have a variety of reasons as to why they are hesitant to pay money to the insurance company you represent. The trick is to identify what the objections are, so you will know how to address them. Sometimes the client won’t tell you. If that’s the case, ask them. If they say it’s because they can’t afford it, you can respond with something like, “But Mary, can you really afford not to have insurance in these tough times?” In this example, you have shifted their concern of spending a little money per month to the bigger loss of thousands of dollars if they aren’t covered. You can also remind them, in the case of life insurance, of the consequences to the loved ones who are left behind. Reminding the client of the facts and how things work is important to closing the sale.

3) Be a teacher. As mentioned in the previous tip, one of your jobs is to inform your client of things they may not be aware of, or have forgotten. They depend on you, the insurance expert, to enlighten them if they have the wrong information. This is also critical for legal reasons, so that you don’t get an errors and omissions complaint.

4) Be sensitive to emotional needs. This requires some psychology. Understand that to many people, insurance is an emotional issue. They may have had an insurance company not pay for their grandmother’s funeral expenses or their child’s medical need. Be empathetic and listen to their story, even if the client is making inaccurate generalizations about the whole insurance industry. If you take the time to listen, it may set you apart from other insurance people in their minds. They will feel that you care, and you may win the sale because they trust you.

5) Don’t talk yourself out of a sale! Some sales people don’t know when to quit. When the customer says they have decided to try the policy, don’t feel the need to keep selling. Sometimes they will reconsider if you talk too much. Once you have convinced them, just thank them for their decision and tell them you are sure it will benefit them.

In conclusion, by informing your client, being considerate to their needs, and listening, you will develop a relationship of trust that the client feels comfortable with. Closing the sale is about maintaining that trust to the end. Ethics dictates that we keep our clients’ best interests at heart, and it is the only right way to do business.


Preparing for the Affordable Care Act

Though 2014 may still seem afar off, the remainder of this year will be critical for insurance agents to plan for the changes that will go into effect next year with the Affordable Care Act. As an agent, you will fare better if you understand that this major shift within the industry will require you to educate yourself and your clients and will require a tremendous level of work and preparation leading to January 1, 2014. However, with some estimates saying that as many as 30 million new health insurance customers will seek coverage under the ACA, the work should pay off handsomely.

Over the next three quarters leading to implementation, many agents will be spending tremendous amounts of time educating their clients on how the laws will affect their businesses. A great deal of effort will need to be put forth for Human Resource departments who will be working feverishly this year to determine who is eligible for coverage under the new law. Changes to definitions in eligibility, waiting periods, etc. will most certainly call for today’s insurance salesperson to evolve into a consultant, advising the client of viable options he/she will be able to implement under the new system.

One of the more important suggestions for many companies will entail how the establishment of employee wellness programs will impact the employer’s overall out of pocket expense. Make sure you’re prepared to offer advice on this to the companies you serve. With employers spending about 36% more on healthcare today than they did five years ago, the question of staggering premium payments is a huge concern. However, pre-care programs and screenings are perfect ways for companies to reduce future costs. How to manage costs while still complying with the law is an important challenge for companies. Are you ready to help them meet it?

Under the new law, some companies will be seeking out new benefits with which to attract high-performing employees, since the insurance exchanges will make health much more standardized. Make sure that you’re ready to offer your clients creative solutions, beyond just the obvious addition of dental and vision.

With any change, initial frustration is likely; however, the shifts within this industry will make way for increased opportunity. Savvy health insurance agents will educate themselves, stay abreast of changes and communicate the best ways for their clients to maximize benefits while minimizing their costs. The agents who will work hard now to educate and respond creatively to the changing needs of their current and potential clients will absolutely set themselves apart in the world of health insurance post – ACA.