I 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 www.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, author and team leader with over 28 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.