First Blog of The Series about Communication-Words

First Blog of The Series about Communication-Words

As an insurance agent and professional salesperson there is no greater skill than good communication skills. Over my two plus decades of sales experience, I have heard of just about every closing technique in the book. I understand how to posture a prospect into writing a check for a one call close. I understand fear of loss is a greater motivator than pleasure of having your product or service. But as a sales professional if you lack good communication skills, none of these $19.95 sales techniques you will learn will ever help you achieve the success in your sales career you are striving to accomplish. Let’s examine the first component of communication.

The first component of communication is the most obvious. It is simply the words you speak. So many new insurance agents or new salespeople get so caught up in the words that they are to use. They always want to see a sales script. Understand that a sales script is a very effective tool and I personally use sales scripts to train insurance agents how to sell certain products and systems. But here is the reality of words in the art of communication, they only account for 7% of the communication process, just 7%. We are so focused on the words we say and it is only 7% of our communication process on selling our insurance product or any other product or service. Understand the words you say are important, but it is not the most important by a long shot when it comes to communicating your message to your prospect.

The dictionary defines word as (noun) A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown. Notice the definition refers to a single distinct element. Actual communication has three elements or components and words are just the first. Certainly using the right word at the right time is crucial, as words do have meaning. But when trying to learn a new sales presentation, don’t get so hung up on the exact words, the other two components of communication are by far more important. Also, understand any language barriers going into your presentation. Different cultures and languages can quite literally change the meaning of a word you use without you even being aware. The other components will certainly help overcome that challenge as well.

In the next two blogs we will begin to explore the other two components of good communication in greater detail. You do have to learn your script or words to be 100% effective but not to the point of perfection. The best sales script ever written is useless the hands of a salesperson or insurance agent with poor communications skills.

It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you use that makes a difference.”–Zig Ziglar

Image courtesy of digitalart 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 26 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.

12 Responses to First Blog of The Series about Communication-Words

  • All salespeople should pay attention to this blog as it will begin you with some valuable tools to help you. Here is another one Tim that they should think about: Can you handle unhappy customers? In an ideal world, unhappy customers would always call up customer service or tech support to get their problems solved. But in this world, many customers prefer to call up their salesperson – he’s the one they know best and the one they trust to fix things. Can you defuse an angry customer? Can you explain a tricky problem without upsetting the customer further? Can you apologize well for mistakes (yours or someone else’s)?

  • Lynn, that is a great point. When dealing with customer service it is even more important to have good communication skills. I think you will enjoy the next two blogs as well. Thank you for your valuable feedback.

  • Valuable information. Here is another good piece to use: Can you make small talk? Most sales presentations and practically all trade shows and events involve a certain amount of small talk before you get down to the real action. Can you chat comfortably with near strangers? Can you make yourself likeable? Can you use casual conversation to start qualifying and building rapport with prospects?

  • Great and important post, Tim. Here is a little more info that could be useful. Can you speak effectively to strangers? When you’re cold calling, you have to build an instant connection between yourself and the stranger on the other end of the phone. Can you interest someone within a few seconds and make them ask for more? Can you start building rapport immediately so the prospect will trust you enough to make an appointment? Can you smoothly qualify a prospect over the phone? Can you close on getting an appointment?

  • Lynn, thata is a great point. Alot of salespeople find building rapport diificult. With good communication skills, it is very easy just using listening skills and mirrioring and matching. Sincerely caring about people will never go out of style.

  • Tim, great article on communication…it also applies to our websites. Too many insurance websites talk about how great they are or contain generic information that doesn’t address the most important questions on the prospects mind: What is in it for me? How are you different compared to every other agent or company?

  • Jack, I agree 100% , the old ways of craming products and services in prospects faces are gone. People hate to be sold but they love to buy. Communication is so key today in all business, but especially ours, insurance.

  • La version française de la discussion est elle disponible?

  • Your messageYou’re always right, I like that and you hit the nail on the head as to why we have gone to hundreds of videos. The consumer today wants info before they talk to anyone, I catch myself doing it everyday.

    With videos we have found that 80% that view them, contact you or give you their contact info. Most of the fun however, is still recruiting, we had these recruiting tools back in the day we would have had two hotels for our reunions. LOL

    We wend out a 5 minute video and if they are still interested we wnd them a 27 minute and then they usually call or send their phone number. We don’t even meet them as they only want us to help them when they have potential case. Love it.

  • Phil,
    Glad to see some other insurance companies catch up to the rest of the online world. I wish you the best of luck with this new venture.
    Just remember videos still don’t replace human beings. At least not yet.

  • True that some people stillewant to meet with the agent, but we have learned that most are happy to make a decision based on video presentation and make application online. Then the only contact is delivery although we have a Virtual dealivery as well for those who have researched their purchase online and compared it with other plans.

    Either way we both win, building futures for customers through Living Benefits and tax free retirement is exciting for our clients.

  • Phil,
    I believe you need to check your numbers. The statistics I see through LIMRA state that 75% of consumers want and do buy life insurance through agents and trusted advisors. Only 21% buy online with no agent involvement. I don’t think that figures up to “most”. I hope you are wrong with your trend. If the insurance companies figure that out, all agents are out of business. If a carrier can sell product with a video, they don’t need you or me. Thank God we aren’t there yet.

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