by Preston Diamond
Someone once said, “If you can see John Smith through John Smith’s eyes, you’ll sell John Smith what John Smith buys.”
I knew I had the order after a tough sales call in 1962 with a potential buyer. I felt it. Did I miss something? No. I don’t think I did. But I must have, because I didn’t get the order. What I missed was not “seeing John Smith through John Smith’s eyes.”
Could I have done my homework and discovered in advance that this buyer did not trust anyone with facial hair? Could I know that my “fashionable beard” way back in the early 60’s would be my downfall? Probably not.
But I did gain a friend that day, and eventually an order. It took three years before Abe finally said, “you’ve earned it Pres.” Then he said it out loud. “I just did not trust anyone with facial hair.”
With resources at the click of a mouse, like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., there are more resources today than ever before to find out everything you should know about your buyer before you visit. Do your due diligence—find out everything there is to know about your client before going into that meeting. The more arrows you have in your quill, the better the chance of hitting your target. Even more importantly make sure your buyer knows just as much about you.
Which brings us to the subject of repetition, which someone else once described as the “mother of success.” Find a process that works for you and make sure it’s hard-wired in your brain. This means keep notes. Think of those notes as your “Scrapbook of Success; Your Scrapbook of Learning.” Failure is simply learning how to do it another way. Do it right. Fail for success. This is the best way to win…and win big.
Repetition also means it’s more profitable and powerful to court your buyer using your educational knowledge as a footbridge to an improved business lifestyle your buyer must have, to the point where he is ready to say “Yes, I want to partner with you!” Remember, Inch by inch it’s a cinch. It’s hard by the yard. Which means, small steps well done will likely lead to big wins?
Let’s take a minute to add a few rosy words into your sales lingo. You tell me, which of these phrases sound better, and which changes the conversation?
- “Please sign this application” or “Please OK this agreement,” or “Please write your name here.”
Truth is, any word but “sign” works. Hand the buyer a nice pen to sign with as you’re talking, and leave it as their gift after signing. But please, no company ad on the pen.
- “May I ask you some questions?” or “May I check a few points with you?” Which changes the conversation? Check a few points is not as intimidating as “May I ask a few questions.”
- “May I call you during the year?” or “Would you mind if I check in during the year?” Check in again changes the conversation.
Don’t simply talk about the buyer’s building. Change the conversation, i.e. “No wonder your insurance costs so much. Your premises look like a landfill. When’s a good time for me to come by to help get it ready so you’re a winner when the insurance company comes calling?”
Great looking premises? Why not, “You should get a sweet deal on your insurance because your building is in tip top shape that others would be jealous of.” Much better.
You know, MS Prospect, “Insurance is just like Swiss cheese…filled with holes. My job is to know these holes, the fine print, and how it affects you.” When you suffer a disaster it’s also my job to make sure the insurance company writes the check you expect when you suffer that disaster. When I present your report of my findings, (never say proposal/presentation) would you prefer a non-fat, low fat or artery clogging Report?” Report how the buyer likes to process information. Artery clogging may mean you’re dealing with a very detailed buyer. Be aware.
Remember John Smith from above? Cover the holes. Don’t make your findings artery clogging, when your buyer only wants low fat. Simply address the scope of the holes.
“Words to Change the Conversation” is your lifejacket in not drowning in the sea of sameness.
Preston Diamond is the founding member and current Managing Director of The Institute of WorkComp Professionals, which educates, certifies, and mentors insurance agents in Workers’ Compensation insurance. During his long career, Preston has taught insurance at a California Community College, chaired a week long insurance agency management school for six years, presented more than 300 times at seminars and workshops and has consulted with more than 400 insurance agencies. For more information visit www.workcompprofessionals.com