How To Use The Secret Art of Consultative Selling To Prospects

I’d like to talk about one of the most misunderstood methods of life insurance selling – it’s called “consultative selling”, and although many of you may have heard this term used before, I guarantee that very few of you are using this method to its full capacity.

You’ve all heard the expression, “Telling is NOT life insurance selling!” Unfortunately, this is what 95% of the salespeople I come into contact with are doing with life insurance selling.

The old mentality of “If you throw enough stuff against the wall, some of it is bound to stick”, does not apply to life insurance selling.

The only thing your prospect cares about is “What is In It For Me?” So, all of you agents and advisors who keep asking me why I don’t use a flip chart in my sales presentation, I want you to listen up…

No One Cares One Iota What YOU Think They Should Like About Your Product!!

The only thing the prospect cares about when they agree to meet with you is that you can provide the solution to their problem. Pretty simple, huh?

The only catch is “How do you find out what their problem is, or emotional hot button really is?” The answer is, “You close your mouth after a brief introduction and ice breaker, and let them tell you what they’re looking for you to do for them.”

A lot of salespeople start by pitching right away – Boy is this wrong!!!

What you should be doing instead is saying something like this, “Mr. & Mrs. Prospect, I’ll tell you anything and everything you want to know about my services, but before I do that I’d like to find out some more information about you. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you some questions, is that O.K.?”

Did you catch that? You have just learned how to create instant rapport with your prospects, and how to get them to immediately open up to you without any hesitation.

O.K. So what do you do next? You take out your handy dandy yellow lined pad, and you start asking your prospects questions. Not just any questions of course, but questions that are related to you solving their problem.

By the way, I suggest that you start by asking the easy, non-threatening questions first, and then, once they feel comfortable with you, you can start asking the sticky questions like, “Can I see your tax return?”, or “Have you been saving for your child’s college education?”, or “Have you put anything away for retirement?”

Do you see what I am doing here? I am asking emotionally charged, leading questions that will switch my prospect over from the logical side of the brain to the emotional side of the brain, which is a lot easier to sell to.

The logical side of the brain makes decisions very slowly, while the emotional side of the brain makes impulsive decisions based on feelings rather than pure logic!!!

Now, since we want Mr. & Mrs. Prospect to sign up for our program that day, it is essential that our life insurance selling is geared to their emotions as well as their logic. “Stop right there Brian, you just told us that we are supposed to be selling to the emotional side of the brain, and now you’re telling us we’re supposed to sell to both the logic and the emotions, which one is it?”

I’m glad you asked that question because this is a very important point that few salespeople understand.

People buy based on their emotions, but they want to back up their emotional decisions with logical reasons for their purchase…

If you don’t mix facts and figures in with your emotional sales presentation, your prospects will end up with “Buyers Remorse”. Buyers remorse will set in a day or two after you leave, when your prospect has a chance to cool off and think about their decision. If they don’t have logical reasons to back up their emotional decision, they will regret buying from you, and will probably ask for a refund.

Therefore, you must give them enough factual ammunition to ward off any life insurance selling killers, like their family or friends who don’t understand what you do, and decide to tell your prospect that they think they wasted their money on your service, or that they heard these types of services were scams.

All of these things are untrue, of course, but you better make sure that you have given your prospect enough cold hard facts and benefits to deflect this criticism, and still feel good about their purchase. In fact, if you do this…

Many of the friends and relatives who were originally skeptics will end up giving you a call to schedule an appointment since you did such a good job educating your prospect!!!

Anyway, let’s get back to what we were talking about earlier. You were at the point where you were asking the prospect emotional, leading questions that, if done properly, will let you know exactly what problem the prospect is looking for you to solve.

One other thing, while you are asking these questions, it is absolutely essential that you take notes on your yellow note pad about the answers your prospect gives you. This shows your prospect that you really do care about what they’re saying, and that you’re not just asking these questions for the hell of it. Also, make sure you are giving your prospects good eye contact throughout the entire question asking phase, or they will think you are shifty.

Now, after you are finished asking all of your questions, it’s time for you to make a transition into the presentation part of the interview. This is where, like a doctor, you have listened emphatically to all of their “symptoms”, and now it is time to “prescribe” a solution to their problem.

To make this transition seem natural, I suggest that you say something like this, “Has anyone ever discussed your financial situation with you before?”, or “How much do you know about financial planning?” They will probably say something like, “We know very little about financial planning”.

At this point, you say, “Well, what I’d like to do is explain to you how financial planning works, what I do, and then we’ll decide whether or not it makes sense for you to become a client, O.K.?”

What you’ve now done is the following – you have made the meeting very non-threatening by offering to educate them on a topic they know very little or nothing about, and you have also, in a non-threatening manner, set them up to understand that they will be asked to make a decision at the end of the meeting, but only if it makes sense for them to get involved.

Now, at this point, you whip out your good old yellow pad, and you give them a simple down-to-earth presentation of the benefits of using your services.

Oh, I almost forgot, there is one more thing that I always do during a sales presentation. I sit next to my prospects. I never sit on the other side of my desk. I want my prospects to feel comfortable with me, like I’m on their side, and you cannot accomplish this feeling by sitting across from your prospects. So, if possible…

Always Sit Next to Your Prospects!!!

As you go through the presentation, I want you to weave in what you learned during the question and answer part of the interview. Spend a lot of time focusing on the benefits and solutions that they told you they were looking for. Spend less time on the features and benefits that didn’t seem to be as important to them.

If you do this properly, you will make them feel like your service is customized especially for them, which is exactly the way you want them to feel.

Everyone wants personalized services, no one wants the “one size fits all” mentality.

I also want you to make sure that your prospect understands each and every feature and benefit that you describe to them. A lot of people will nod their head politely, even if they don’t understand what the heck you’re talking about. You don’t want this to happen because if you lose your prospect’s concentration, you will also lose the sale.

The way to make sure that this doesn’t happen is that, every now and then, you say something like, “Do you understand what I’m saying here, if not, please let me know?”. This simple statement should make your prospect feel comfortable enough to tell you that they are confused about something you are saying. It will also make them feel like you really do care about them.

Anyway, towards the end of the presentation, you will be getting ready for your final transition into the close. A lot of salespeople do beautifully up to this point, and then get nervous, and give off strange vibes to the prospect, who responds by stalling, and saying something like “I want to think this over.” Now, I know most of you have never been stalled before, and you always close on your first appointment (Yeah, right), but for those of you who would still like to know how to close up to 10 out of 10 prospects, I want you to say something like this at the end of your presentation, “Well, that’s basically what I do, do you have any questions on anything that I didn’t cover here?”

If you did my presentation properly, most prospects will say something like, “No, you pretty much covered everything, the only thing you didn’t tell us is how much you charge?”

Now you got them exactly where you want them, they are so anxious to use your services that they are actually…

Closing YOU!!!

Here’s what you say when they ask that question, “Mr. & Mrs. Prospect, did I explain to you what my fee structure is, or how my guarantee works?” They will say, “No, you never explained it to us.”

Then you say, “Well here’s the way I work, I give you a written guarantee that you must be absolutely thrilled with my financial advice or you can ask for and get a full refund of my entire fee anytime within your first 3 months of working with me. This almost never happens, but if for some strange reason it happens in your case, we will be happy to refund your fee in full.”

And then comes the clincher, you use a non-threatening trial close like, “So, Mr. & Mrs. Prospect, does this sound like something you would be interested in?”

If they say “Yes”, which in my case about 9 out of every 10 do, then you follow up by saying, “Great, then all I need to do to get you started is to fill out this financial questionnaire, which shouldn’t take us very long, O.K., Mr. Prospect?”, and then you fill out the questionnaire so you can get started.

Related Articles:

“Listening” – The One Crucial Sales Skill that Every Agent Can Improve

How to Instantly Win a Prospect’s Trust

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Brian J. Kay, Executive Director, Leads4Insurance
921 Port Washington Blvd., Suite # 3 Port Washington, NY 11050
tel:(516)944-6700 fax:(516)944-5275