One of the most important skills of an insurance agent is to listen and pay attention to what the client wants and needs, not selling them your favorite product. After over 15 years of training insurance agents with product knowledge, sales techniques, networking, properly using social media and listening skills, focus on listening is by far the toughest for most to learn. The average insurance agent says they listen but do they really listen. My experience is they don’t listen thoroughly.
Here is a great exercise to have an insurance agent to do. Watch this short video of young people passing a basketball. Count how many times the team in white shirts passes the basketball. Go ahead, watch the video. Did you get it right? Or did you miss an important component? Listening takes a lot of practice, focus and most of all not following the daily distractions. In our high tech world of cell phones, emails, text messages, computers, flat screen TVs, music blasting and digital images, it has become more difficult than ever to sit in a public place and really listen to a client’s wants and needs, but it has to happen.
Here is a little exercise I train my insurance agents to do to improve their listening skills. Have them go to a crowded coffee shop or restaurant. Make sure there are plenty of distractions. Loud conversations, background music, TVs playing, cell phone conversations, the works. Then have the agent to sit and focus on some one’s conversation. Not staring, don’t be a stalker or a creeper, but really listening to their conversation that is not directed at them personally. The more they can pick up, the better listener the insurance agent will become. If you can focus on a single conversation in the middle of numerous distractions, they next time the insurance agent sits down with a client with hardly any distractions the agent will pay closer attention to detail.
Any insurance agent that masters the skill of listening will always be a top producer. The agent makes more sales, gets more referrals and has better persistency than an average or below average insurance agent. Don’t spend all of your time working on sales skills and closing techniques, work on your listening skills to improve your insurance sales.
“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention. ”—Richard Moss, Author
Special thanks to Daniel J. Simons for the Video and image by www.transcriptiondepartment.com
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.