I have had the privilege of training well over a thousand insurance agents in my career. One of the most sought after skills I am commonly asked are how to close the sale. There are hundreds of techniques to learn and a lot of them do work. However, the real skill to learn is the art of persuasion.
The dictionary defines persuasion as a state of being convinced, a deep conviction or belief. For the insurance agent it really boils down to listening and knowing your prospect and all of your insurance products. An insurance presentation is broken into three categories. There are features, advantages and benefits of any product. Let’s explore each category.
The first is a feature. This is simply something your product does. A feature may be the option to accumulate cash value in a life insurance product for retirement. It may be the insurance agents favorite feature. However, if the prospect doesn’t really care about accumulating cash in their insurance policy, they may think the product is overpriced and decide not to purchase from the insurance agent. This is where the listening comes in. the agent must resist the temptation to spend too much time on features.
The second is an advantage. This is taking a feature the insurance agent feels is important and explains the advantage of this particular feature. The cash value feature could be explained as a great vehicle to accumulate cash that can be taken out tax free upon retirement. Now the prospect sees the advantage of this feature and should be more likely to pay a higher premium for understanding its importance. Always turn a feature into an advantage if the agent intends to spend substantial time on it.
The third and most important is a benefit. A benefit is a feature of the product that solves the issue the agent uncovered by asking questions and listening to the answers. If the prospect was concerned about paying high taxes for retirement this benefit solves this problem. Simply put a benefit is a feature that solves the problem or issue. this is where the presentation time is best spent.
Remember if the insurance agent is to be persuasive in the presentation they must learn to focus on the benefits and not the features. If they must present a feature, present it as an advantage. Otherwise, the insurance agent should get use to hearing “need to think about it”. The best insurance agents I have ever had the privledge to coach were masters of the art of persuasion and rarely got any objections.
“To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.” —Edward R. Murrow
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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 and team leader with over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.