It’s Not the Leads. It’s You.

It’s endlessly interesting to see which people succeed on our insurance sales floor and which ones fall apart. Any sales job has its learning curve. We give them a lot of rope, but there’s always a couple new salespeople every year who complain that they are getting bad leads.

Before you go to your boss with this accusation, look around you at your co-workers. Are they making sales? Surely, they are, unless you’ve joined a failing company.

I’ll also bet they are getting the same kind of leads that you are. If Sally sitting next to is closing multiple sales every week, I can guarantee you that your complaint about bad leads will fall on deaf ears with your manager.

Sometimes we must take a hard look at ourselves and our pitches. It’s hard to admit when you are the problem, but the sooner you realize it, the quicker you’ll be on to closing deals.

Here are a few tips for overcoming common rookie sales mistakes that we see all the time. The good news is that they are easy to fix.  Just follow our pointers, and you’ll be over the hump in no time.

Avoid the Pointless “How Are You Today?” Opener

Remember the last telemarketing call that you answered unaware? The one where after a slight hesitation, a total stranger said, “Hi How are you Today?”

How did you feel in that moment?

I’ll tell you. Annoyed. Unless you are the nicest person the planet, you feel downright irritated when someone you don’t know and have never spoken to in your life starts their call with such a generic and pointless question.

It may feel polite to you to ask them how they are today, but it’s actually a stall tactic you are using while you try to rally the courage to unleash a sales pitch. Everyone knows this, including the person you just called.

Trust me. Don’t be that guy.

State Your Purpose in the First Five Seconds

Your opening line is prime real estate, so don’t squander it with a useless question. Instead, identify who you are and state your purpose within the first 5 seconds. Do this in a manner that connects them to your call so that you don’t feel like a stranger to them.

“Hi Jane, this is Mary from ABC Auto Insurance. I got your inquiry about auto insurance, and I’m calling to see how we can help.”


“Hi Jane, this is Mary from ABC Auto Insurance. I see that you were online looking for auto insurance quotes, and I’m the lucky person who gets to help you. Are you looking for a lower rate or better coverage?”

Now you’ve said who you are, why they are talking to you and introduced a subject or questions where they can’t say just yes or no. It gets them talking.

Remember, these are the same five seconds during which the person you’ve called is deciding whether they are going to hang up on you. State who you are quickly and tell them the purpose of your call. I’ve found that a great many people appreciate candor from salespeople.

Be straightforward, not slick.

Provide Maximum Value to Boost Your Confidence on the Call

Over the years, we’ve had several new salespeople here at my agency suffer from this malady of asking pointless polite questions. There’s always a reason. What’s yours?

Do you know your product backward and forward? If not, this is probably while you are stalling. Ask your sales director to role play with you. He or she can fire questions at you until you know the material solid.

Are you getting cold feet because you think these people don’t want to hear from you? Think about what you might say during your call that truly provides value.

For example, my agents are calling people to sell Medicare supplements. However, we’ve learned that many people new to Medicare are confused about Medicare itself. We tackle this in the first paragraph on our website’s New to Medicare page to break down that barrier.

We tackle it first on our sales calls as well. If we spend ten minutes up front explaining how Medicare itself works, then we’ve provided something of real value to them. This gains trust  trust and can more easily move on to what we are selling.

Make a list of 5 ways in which you provide value to the people that you help with your product or service. Keep these in mind when you are speaking to people and find ways to work that into your conversation.

Knowing that you have something really valuable to offer will make you less reluctant to start a conversation with a potential client.

What are some of the greatest sales challenges you’ve overcome? How did you improve? We’d love to hear from you.

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