Since releasing the APPX Commercial Course , I have had several producers and agency owners ask me the same general question. “How do I increase my closing ratio.” That is a question I have probably fielded my entire insurance career.
I have stepped inside nearly 1,000 agencies nationwide, including my own, and have seen some best practices as well as began training on many of these best practices since beginning my consulting career here with APP
I can’t tell you how many times salespeople have asked us to help them to improve their closing ratio, using this same story. However, despite what you might think is the problem, Your inability to close is not the only problem, it is simply a symptom of a much bigger problem- you need an insurance sales strategy. . Your Inability to close is just the bi-product of something deeper and more important that just , “the inability to close.” I want to dig in a little deeper here in this blog and help you to find the answer for your agency on this question.
Before we do that, here’s an update to our APP adventures last week.
The Real Hurdle to Increasing Your Sales Closing Ratio
So you may be thinking , “Heath, alright just tell me , what is the much bigger problem you speak of.” I will answer that question in this way; the Real problem is that your prospect does not think it’s worth making a change right now. In short, it’s nice to know about your offering, but not necessary. In other words, you have not sold the client on why they should move to your agency. If your prospects aren’t making the connections between what you sell and the value they could get from it, it’s because you’re not showing them, you are not explaining it properly, in other words, you are not “closing them.”
So let’s break this down now. I have a simple 5 step process for an effective insurance sales strategy, that I have in our APPX Commercial Course. I believe the process applies here as well to how to improve closing ratios.
- Know your Value add and understand your Value Proposition
- Share Examples and Ask Questions
- Take your time
- Under promise and over deliver
- Stop trying So hard.
Know Your Value and Close More Insurance Deals
Make sure you’re able to clearly articulate the value of your offering, this has to be at the center of your insurance sales strategy. At the end of the day this is a business decision, you have to be able to show the prospect how your proposition offers the greatest solution to their pain point.
You should ensure that you’ve identified their specific pain point(s) such as reduced operating costs, increase sales , decreased work place injury, improved rates, deeper discounts or just simply better coverages.
A little Ninja Trick for commercial sales: Adding metrics makes your proposal even more impactful.
How does what you provide become the solution to their problem? That should be the question you are solving in every single sales situation. Once you can identify that and you can articulate that you are well on your way to improved closing ratios. But wait there’s more…
Tell Stories To Close The Sale
Be a story teller. That is the easiest way that I can articulate this point. Share stories and examples of how you’ve helped other customer improve as part of your insurance sales strategy. Paint a beautiful picture, telling them how they were doing things before, the challenges they faced, and the results they’ve achieved since working with you.
Bring real life cases, and real life examples of customers that you have helped improve their coverages, close on that new house, drive that new car off the lot, bundle their home and Auto with an umbrella for deeper discounts and increased savings, or just how you found coverage for a tough to place risk. Everyone loves a good story.
Never , ever forget the value of asking questions. But, not just any questions, it’s imperative that you ask the right questions, to find out what is important to this particular prospect.
- Outside of price , what is important to you in the buying process?
- What are you looking for in an agency?
- Who are the decision makers in the process?
Asking the right questions can make a big difference in how you approach a prospect , and ultimately how you close on a prospect. When your team has the right insurance training this becomes easier.
This leads me to the next point.
Slow Down to Speed Up Your Sale
Based on the scenario we discussed earlier, you may be just moving things along entirely too quickly. Know we are all about speed and efficiency. However, if you are simply showing your stuff, sending a proposal in the email, giving away your greatest leverage….. Your pricing.
It’s highly likely that they don’t feel like you’re focused on their individual business. It is imperative that you do not make the prospect feel rushed or compromise the customer experience, but moving to quickly. Take time to build the relationship so that they truly feel that you are a credible resource, not a sleazy salesperson.
If your agency has a clearly defined sales process, there is rarely a time where you should go rogue and skip steps in the process. Slow down and always follow the proven process. In most cases, taking short cuts will come back to bite you. If you can do this , if you can slow down, and make the prospect feel valued you are one step closer to making that deal happen.
Under Promise & Over Deliver
We have all heard this saying before haven’t we? There is a reason that this has been brought up countless times through the years. Too many salespeople over promise and under deliver, thus causing a distrust in salespeople no matter the industry. This is the reason why it is imperative that we as insurance sales professionals under promise and over deliver.
To do this we must engage in an open dialogue with our customers to ensure expectations are understood on both sides. By having set expectations on both sides of the transaction we are able to understand the assignment, and over deliver on our promises thus delivering an incredible sales experience as part of your insurance sales strategy.
Don’t Hard Close: Walk Your Client to the Best Decision
Instead, we should be focussed on helping our prospects determine if it makes good business sense to make a change or make the decision to purchase from our agency. Here is the good news, If it does, they’ll say yes!! If not, they’ll stay with what they’ve got.
Today’s prospects are too savvy to fall prey to any closing techniques. They have too much information at their fingertips , and more convenient options as well. The more you try to close them, the less they want to do business with you. The more you try to put a client in a closing technique you learned at a sales conference, the sleazier you become.
Instead, put your emphasis on the front end of the sales cycle, building rapport, understanding pain points, listening and asking questions, taking your time throughout the process and making the sales experience less about you and more about them. Before you know it, your prospects will be saying, “Where do I sign.“
Let me offer a Bonus option for you. In order to improve your closing ratio, I am firm believer in follow ups. The average sale takes 5 follow ups in order to close the sale. However, 44% of sales reps follow up with a prospect only once before giving up.
After four follow-ups, 94% of salespeople have given up. Can you be that rare breed , that top 2% or so that follows up 5 times? The Reluctance of following up is understandable. Salespeople are very aware that their profession can carry a reputation for being pushy or aggressive. You don’t want to be seen as annoying or not taking the hint, so you simply stop following up.
Would you believe me if I were to tell you that , the main reason why a prospect won’t get back to you is not because they are not interested, it’s because they are just busy. Prospects will tell you have a lot of things to juggle and many different demands on their time.
According to Harvard Business Review:
“Professionals have on average over 200 emails in their inbox at any one time.”
In other words, they’re (probably) not ignoring you because they don’t want to act on your quite , its simply because they want someone to get their attention because they have a lot going on.
Lets talk about changing the narrative in your mind to boost your insurance sales strategy. I recommend that we change the narrative, they are going to buy from you, because you are passionate about helping them, you are passionate bout their family or their business.
You’re not following up because you are a sleazy sales person looking to close a deal, you are following up because you are passionate about coverage, you are passionate about what you do.
I have had many producers and agency owners, throughout my career, ask me the same question. How do I increase my closing ratio? I have given you my 5 techniques to improve your closing ratio. As you read through this blog post, I hope you see that it is not all about simply “closing the sale”.