A quick Google search of sales techniques and strategies yields an endless stream of results. However, most of those results are outdated and over used. The best don’t become the best if they are mailing it in – doing what everyone else is doing.

This report is the exact opposite. Instead of a rehash or rebrands of what you already know, this report will give you proven, inventive sales strategies.

So without wasting time, here is your extensive report on proven sales techniques that you won’t find anywhere else – beginning with what you need to do before meeting with a prospect.

Four Things You Need to Prepare Before a Crucial Prospect Meeting

Imagine you could travel back in time and watch your first few prospect meetings.

There you are, thinking you’re as prepared as possible. Then you trip on a few words. Oops, you just forgot the prospect’s name! You are too pushy during one meeting. The next, you are too soft in your sales approach.

Our first prospect meetings are easy to dissect because our mistakes are glaring. And back then, we were more inclined to make adjustments because we wanted to be successful.

Making adjustments now, after a handful of years in the business, is more difficult because you’ve established your routine. Before you even brace for a lecture, I’m not telling you to change your entire approach.

However, like our dissections of our first prospect meetings, it helps to continue analyzing the profitability of what we say to prospects and how we say it.

The reason: How an insurance agent performs during an initial prospect meeting is a good barometer for their overall success. The better connection you establish, the more sales you close. The more sales you close, the more profitable you are.

Prepare talking points on your products’ benefits, not their features. People don’t buy life insurance because they want life insurance. They want financial coverage for their family and loved ones and a reliable asset-building investment vehicle. So if you spend more time leafing through the pages of policies than you do talking about the benefits of those policies, you’re making your job more difficult.

Instead, focus on the outcome of these benefits. Make them tangible. Put them in dollar figures, and show what those dollar figures can afford.

Take this tactic a step further that show how these benefits solve their stated problem, fulfill their stated desires and coincide with their fiscal beliefs.

Prepare talking points that differentiate your product. Picture yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Why should they buy this policy? And why should they buy it from you? You need unequivocally state how your products differ from those of your competitors.

Just like anything else we buy, people shop around prices and offers before making a purchase. By telling them what they won’t get from other insurance agents, they will start placing a value as they shop around. And that forces your competition to say “no” if a prospect asks them if they offer something that only you do.

Prepare to make adjustments. Not every prospect is cut from the same mold. Each has different reasons for wanting the same thing. Have a blank notepad and two wide open ears to capture and record what they need in an insurance policy. Make sure to also jot down information that could help you make more sales down the road. For example, a family with two middle school children will have two additional drivers in the family in just a few years. Wait until the time is right to discuss that, though.

Prepare to walk prospects through how to get started. You closed the sale? Good job! Now what? That’s the question on mind of this new client. Prepare to walk them through the next things you have to do together to keep this professional relationship rolling. After all, you are the expert here, right? Make sure any question they have is answered before they leave. Plan a follow up correspondence to answer questions they thought of since the initial meeting.

How to Simplify and Sell Complex Products

Life insurance sales agents have a considerable handicap compared to most other sales agents and marketers.

For example, it’s pretty easy for travel agents to show a picture of a tropical beach when selling a vacation resort package. And it’s easy for T.G.I.Friday’s to get viewers to salivate by covering their food in melted cheese and show a group of thin, attractive people eating it. Same goes with beer, HDTVs, jewelry, etc.

Some things just sell themselves quite well on their own, and the agent is just there to collect people’s money.

Life insurance, on the other hand, lacks the sexy appeal that all of those products naturally have. Appeal isn’t the only thing they have in common, though.

Each of those is a straight-forward product. Most customers will need only a few major details about them before deciding to buy them, with price being the most prominent.

Life insurance will never be as straight-forward of a product as $5 foot long.

You didn’t choose this field because it was easy. Most of you live and breathe this work.

You probably have complex policies memorized, down to the clause-riddled legalese. That’s a level of accomplishment and understanding about life insurance that few have.

That said – and I don’t mean to throw cold water on you – I’m willing to bet that most of your clients and prospects don’t give a crap about that and would instead prefer a “less is more” approach.

That’s why simplifying your products can go a long way in selling them. And here are three ways to do that:

Strategy #1: Highlight the most appealing elements of an insurance plan into bold bullet points. The type of information for these bullets is: price, coverage amount, coverage terms, etc. Keep it simple enough that anybody gets the basic jest of it.

Strategy #2: Frequently restate those bullet points while reviewing those pesky details. I realize that there’s an ethical obligation to review those finer-point details, if not a legal obligation. It can be a tedious momentum killer. Revisiting a plan’s highlights reminds clients and prospects that they aren’t buying on the boring details, but rather the product’s most appealing elements.

Strategy #3: Develop a simple marketing campaign and stake your reputation on it. This can be as simple as a guarantee of outstanding customer service, competitive prices, and/or a wide variety of products. Put it on your business card. Put it on your e-mail signature. These things go a long way to sell a prospect before they even walk in the door. If they already believe that you provide competitive prices or the best customer services, that means you’ll have to do less “selling” and have more time to actually sell the product.

The whole point is that there’s only so much a client or prospect can take in during an initial meeting. And there are only so many fine details you can ballyhoo about before you tire and bore yourself.

When either happens, the initial excitement and momentum gained are in jeopardy of stalling out. A likely result is that you’ll have to work to rebuild that momentum needed to close a deal instead of actually closing the deal.

Stop that from happening by implementing the three strategies above.

The Power of Positive Branding

Pretend you are on a diet. A real, somewhat arduous diet. One in which you’re begrudgingly counting every damn calorie that you putting into your body.

For lunch today, you have two choices: tuna fish in mayonnaise dressing for $3.99 or seafood salad or $4.99. Which one falls in line with your diet? Which one sounds more delicious?

Obviously, the second sounds more appealing. And it is priced higher because it sounds more appealing. However, these two choices on this short menu have the exact same ingredients and are the exact same product.

Yet, many will pay more for the one that sounds healthier and uses catchier words with positive associations.

This is just one example of the true power of positive branding.

It is why we are seeing less of the word “milkshake” and more of the word “smoothie.” Less of the word “therapist” and more of the words “life coach.”

It is why, according to a recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research, the sales of prunes shot through the roof after they were relabeled as “dried plums.”

Last example, also from the journal article. There’s a seemingly healthy entrée at Romano’s Macaroni Grill called Grilled Chicken Florentine Salad. But this heavy glob of food contains 840 calories, 53 grams of fat (82% of our recommended daily consumption), and 5460 mg of sodium (a whopping 228% of our recommended daily consumption).

It’s completely and utterly unhealthy. “Chicken Florentine Salad.” Does that sell like a delicious way to eat healthy?

The point to all this is that the word “insurance” and “policy” aren’t exactly sellable words. And your job is to sell them. And while we’re at it, the title “insurance salesman” also doesn’t call to mind anything exciting.

It’s probably too bold to suggest changing the names policies on your menu of the entrées – such as whole-life insurance, universal life coverage, accidental death, limited pay and endowments. While not appealing per se, sometimes more hassle and confusion can be created by a total overhaul.

Instead, a better idea is to rebrand yourself.

If you’re in this line of business, you’ve probably heard the old Woody Allen joke: “There’s one thing worse in life than death; It’s spending an evening with an insurance salesman.” Ouch.

People aren’t going to just stop believing in a stereotype unless something’s done to change it. So let’s change it… starting with you.

Do you consider yourself a money-hungry snake-oil salesman? Do you think you are boring? Do you think you are, as Woody Allen says, “the one thing in life worse than death?” You’re none of these.

And here are some ways you can rebrand yourself and people’s perception of this industry:

– Show your prospects and clients your personality.
– Suggest to them policies that fit their budget, not what is the most lucrative to you.
– Don’t be afraid to substitute the white shirt and black tie for a business casual look.
– If you’re really brave, tell the Woody Allen joke as soon as you meet a prospect to break the ice.
– Break down your policies in simple, digestible terms (See the above section on simplifying complex products).

What all this sums up to is a transformation of what people expect an insurance agent to look and act like. Like the “seafood salad” example, they may see this as a refreshing change of pace that they may be willing to pay a little extra for.

Remember Who Your No. 1 Customer Is

Who’s the first person you think of when you think of years known, money invested, trust built, commitment proven?

Who’s the person you wish was in your office extolling everything about you and what you are do?

Who would be immediately interested at any time of day to learn that you have a new product?

You’re probably picturing a long-time client. However, the answer to all the above answers is you.

Do you own your product? Do you like your product? If somebody else was selling it, would you recommend it to your best friend?

If you answered no to any of these, prospects will see right through you. Because you can’t sell anybody unless you have sold yourself.

Assuming you answered yes to the above questions, you can use your enthusiasm to your advantage when you are speaking with prospects. Especially hesitant ones. Here are a few ways to develop and hone your enthusiasm.

First, reflect upon how your product has improved your life. Quantify it in real, applicable terms. Now incorporate it into your pitch. For example, you can say that permanent life insurance has helped you write off $3,000 in taxes, or whatever the amount is. Or that it is putting you on track to retire a few years earlier than you originally planned. Or that you are on pace to have your children’s college education paid for – before they even more into the dorms.

Buying life insurance is an important and serious decision; people don’t buy it on a whim. Your hard evidence about how it has benefitted you can be a powerfully convincing piece of information for a skeptical prospect.

Second, be upfront about your enthusiasm. There’s no shame in admitting that you like what you sell. This isn’t the Hair Club for Men. Besides, nobody else is getting up every day and telling people what they love about buying insurance from you. That job is yours and yours alone.

Third, try recording yourself meeting with a prospect and watch it critically from their perspective. Were you sold? Would you like the way you were treated? If you can’t say 100% yes, you need to rethink your strategy.

Here’s another way to think about it. Buying your own product allows you to think critically about it. It puts you in your clients’ and prospects’ shoes.

If you charge appointment fees, charge yourself. Is the money worth it? Is there too much paperwork, a lot of follow-up mail, a lot of technical terms? If you record your initial meetings, are you talking too much?

Being your own client puts you in the position to be honest with yourself and prospects. It will help you streamline your strategy, highlight your product’s appeal and establish a higher base level of enthusiasm about your line of work.