Be better than the last
In my short, 4-year career, I’ve already discovered a few key factors to making and closing deals. The tactic that works best for me is simple: maintain focus on building and growing relationships. I don’t get caught up in attempting to seal deals during first meetings or upon introductions. Instead, I work to understand the client/prospect and what they desire versus what they can afford.
In my particular arena, (Volunteer Fire & Rescue Departments), I deal with many different personalities on the volunteer boards of directors. When doing this, I concentrate on either solidifying existing relationships or beginning new ones.
This can be a slippery slope for a few reasons:
A – The last sales person the prospective client dealt with may have either failed to meet their needs or failed to deliver when they were supposed to.
B – The last sales person may have failed to communicate efficiently with the client or prospect.
These things can leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths. Over time, I’ve developed my own sales tactics—and they work. Instead of working to sell, I’ve worked to create a trustworthy reputation for myself, and I’ve noticed a marked difference in my results.
FOCUSING ON RELATIONSHIPS
I get to know clients and prospects on personal and not just professional levels. I spend time learning about their businesses and any conflicts they might have within their day-to-day operations, but I also spend time learning about their families.
I concentrate on building these relationships and taking the time to let us get to know each other. Some products don’t need much help; they sell themselves, and that makes it easy to maintain a client-focused rather than product-focused approach.
No one is perfect, and no one has all the answers. You don’t have to be, either. And you don’t have to be someone who you aren’t. Be yourself and focus on authentic interactions—they’re refreshing. Let people see the emotion and fire you have inside for what you do. Use real life examples and radiate a genuine attitude instead of an “I need to make this sale” attitude.
In the insurance industry, it can take time to get complete answers to your clients’ questions. When I don’t have the necessary information right away, I respond to the client with a call or email and let them know that I’m working on getting exact answers and will get back to them promptly. Then, I stay true to this. My first rule of thumb is to return all phone calls and emails within 24 hours. When you’re making promises and establishing trust, people come to depend on you. Showing clients your dependable, real self makes you more trustworthy and relatable, and these things will greatly encourage retention.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Quality relationships will make you successful. Weak relationships that are not able to develop will fail. If your first-approach focus is on making the sale alone, it’s bound to get you off on the wrong foot with your prospects. Instead, taking the time to make sure your prospects are comfortable with you, able to trust and depend on you and able to see the true passion you have for what you do will bring you much better success. Don’t be a sales person, be a passionate representative!
In his spare time, Scott indulges in his passion for fishing on Lake Anna, VA. Coupled with his love for local bass tournament photography, Scott directs a bass tournament series that raises money for Virginian charities.
Scott Cain, VFIS
If you’ve run out of opportunities and prospecting tactics, it might be time to explore a new industry (or venture down the river, if you will).