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InfluenceI am always baffled by agents and salespeople that have to sell the hard way. Pounding pavement, smiling and dialing worthless leads, just trying to get an appointment. Then once they sit down to sell their prospect their wonderful products and services, it is met with a “think about it”, “need to speak to my accountant or attorney” or “pray about it”. In other words, they lack credibility and their product is perceived as more expensive than their original problem. Why not use the influence first?

The fact is people all see business people in four different categories:

  • They are either total strangers with zero trust and credibility.
  • They are visible, meaning they know them and maybe what they do, but really have not built any trust yet.
  • They are credible, meaning they know them personally, like an advisor, have maybe done business prior and or have complete trust in them.
  • They are profitable, meaning the business relationship is set up so the client consistently saves money or makes money because of the salesperson’s products and services.


Number 4 takes a lot of time and effort to accomplish. These clients would be very hard to sway. Number 3 also can take a long time to build one’s credibility. Number 2 can take time or money to create with marketing. Therefore, most sales people and insurance agents start at number 1, total strangers.

If most sales are set up as total strangers, how can one use influence? Easy, build relationships with influential people. You need a person of influence to set up your appointments. For example, if you sell life insurance to business owners such as “key man” or “buy/sell”, build a relationship with a business attorney. As the business attorney writes partnership agreements which need buy/sell” life insurance, the attorney sends you there to solve that issue. Now you have a person of influence recommend you to write their life insurance and you just jumped from number 1, stranger to number 3, credibility. Building relationships is the key to a successful career in sales.

Just like in the story about the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg, spend your time finding a goose and you can have all of the golden eggs you would ever want. Use influence to close your sales not techniques, after all we are in the 21st century, that old technique stuff just doesn’t work anymore. Good luck goose hunting!

“The people who influence you are the people who believe in you”.—Henry Drummond

Image by Stuart Miles images at

Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger, author and team leader with over 28 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.

7 Responses to Do You Use Influence to Close Your Sales?

  • Call it a gift of persuasion and prayer to connect and close the sale.

  • Doreen, I must disagree. It is not a gift or a prayer, it is a calculated connection where both parties gain. Could be monetary, advice or referrals, but both sides must benefit from the relationship.

  • Ok, I agree with what you are saying, I also stand by what I said.Thanks

  • Tim, This is a great post and you are spot-on in your response to Doreen. She should read “Influence” by Robert Cialdini to gain an understanding. These are learned techniques and the responses can be more predictable based on the approach.

  • Tim!!! Been a long time… Hope things r great with u just as your writings r superb. Nice weekend👍

    • Kamal, thank you for your kind words, it has been a while. I hope you have a nice weekend as well. Thank you.

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