I recently sat down with Ben Newman to talk about his mindset on how insurance agents can get better using the phone to set appointments and sell. Selling life insurance over the phone is an art many agents can’t master. But, for those who do, they do it with extraordinary success!
Luckily, Ben had already recorded a video on the topic which made sharing this with our network of agents even easier!
For those of you who do not know him, Ben Newman is a top performance coach and in my opinion, the best financial services speaker in the country. Newman spent more than a decade as a top 2% financial advisor and now travels the world working with top performing insurance agencies, financial firms, Fortune 500 insurance companies, and championship sports organizations.
2019 Success Story
One of Ben’s recent success stories came with a team of seven financial advisors who, in Ben’s mind, were not challenging themselves enough.
The team of financial advisors determined $60 million in new assets under management (AUM) was a realistic goal for 2018.
Ben pushed back and convinced them to rewrite their goals to $80 million (he really thought they could do more). Fast forward to the end of 2018: the team blew away their new goal, bringing in more than $110 million in assets under management. That’s a pretty good way to start 2019!
They worked with Ben on breaking down the daily disciplines we all face and executed them with relentless accountability, specifically, making the daily dials and learning to better love the telephone.
Over the next few months we will be releasing a series of articles from Ben to help you get over the hurdles you’re facing and become a top producer in your sales category.
Are You Interested in Having Ben Work with Your Sales Team?
Telephoning for Insurance Sales
Telephoning for insurance sales is daunting, but it’s critical and the rest of this article comes from a discussion I had recently with Ben.
Start with the right mindset
“Looking back, I didn’t realize that I started in the insurance business with a competitive advantage. I had no fear of the phone because I had experienced success prior to starting a career in the insurance business.
“My career started in Chicago as a paper broker and I’ll never forget the first day of training and a gentleman I met named Floyd. Floyd came in and dropped this big thick red book and says, ‘Pick a state.’
“Pick a state? What did I sign up for? I was fresh out of college and had no idea what was happening.
He said: “pick a state” and so I said, “I don’t know, North Carolina?”
Floyd says, “Go to the printer and make copies of every newspaper company and printing company from North Carolina. That’s your calling list. Go have fun.”
Targeted Phone Prospecting
“I spent the next 2.5 years learning to crush the phone when calling new prospects,” Ben said.
“So, what I did when I came to the insurance business was this. I put it into perspective. How hard could this be for us to make phone calls to individuals we’ve been referred to? I’ll never forget when Floyd said, ‘pick a state’. That was the foundation I needed to remind myself of.
“The first person I ever sold was Rebel Good in Elkin, North Carolina and I sold truckloads of paper for his newspaper company for the three years that I was at the Evanston paper company.
Build Relationships Over the Phone
“And, I can share with you that to know that you can have a relationship over the phone, while never meeting face-to-face, changed my entire perspective.
“There are things you’ve been through in your life that are far worse than picking up that telephone. As adults we build up in our minds these skyscrapers like ‘I can’t dial the phone’ or ‘it’s going to be so hard’.
“The key is taking action. Make those calls and don’t worry about the results.”
Energy Can be Felt Through the Phone
Floyd taught me a lot on that first day in training. He said: ‘People feel your energy through the telephone. If you’re smiling people feel that. If you’re laughing people can feel your laugh as if they’re right there in front of you.
“Floyd also said they will know if you are having a bad day.
“You may need to pause and reset or reframe your state to be a little more energized on the phone. But, more than anything… take action.”
Preparing to Set Appointments Over the Phone
“When you prepare for phoning and you have that moment where you’re like, ‘here comes the call reluctance again. I do not want to touch this telephone. The telephone has been so bad to me’.
Remember, all you have to do is take action.
“What I always encourage individuals that we coach to do is to go back to a point in time when they were focused, confident and in their ideal state with phoning.
“With the professional athletes we coach we connect them back to their ideal state when their confidence was at its highest level. It’s the same for you on the telephone. Before you pick up the phone, take a break, take a deep breath, reset back to that point where you are confident about the phone and it will give you that boost of energy to want to pick up the phone. Forget about the call reluctance and just be active and enjoy the opportunity
“If we don’t dial the business doesn’t work. It’s probably the most important thing you can do aside from getting and asking for referrals. If you don’t dial the telephone, it’s very hard to grow a business.”
Appointment Setting Power Phrases
“As far as language or power phrases, there’s a couple of things that I did strategically on the phone when prospecting and setting appointments.
“I was taught that when somebody picks up the phone to ask her if it is a good time to talk. What I found was that if they picked up the phone, then it was logically a good time to talk.
“So, I transitioned the referral language to: ‘NAME, this is Ben with XYZ company. My name may not sound familiar to you, but I recently enjoyed working with Rachel and she said great things about you. I’m so excited to have this opportunity to connect with you on the phone.
“What you have now done is the person hasn’t cut you off and you’re able to go into comfortable language. By telling them that their friend had said great things about them, I was able to get past that person wondering how I got their number and why I was calling.
“And, I also love using the words educate and help. So, if there’s any way you can incorporate those words into your language so the conversations more about the person you’re calling as opposed to I have some great ideas or I have some great products or I want to come tell you all about me and my company.
“Do the best you can to make it all about the individual that you’re calling, and I think that you’ll see your call ratios in terms of set meetings will go way up.”
Objections Are Buying signs
I loved when individuals would give me objections on the phone. The best was ‘I’m all set; everything’s taken care of”.
“Objections are buying signs. Run to objections, not from them.
“Here’s how I approached this objection. ‘I think it’s fantastic you are set.
“So typically, I would say I think that’s fantastic. I’d love to learn more of your story and I’d love to hear more about you. Your friend said great things about you, that you’re a very diligent business owner which leads me to believe that you have done planning. I don’t need all your business, I don’t even know how I could help you, but I’d love to hear your story. How do you feel about getting together for lunch next week?”
It ISN’T “Cold Calling”
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this: ‘I’ve run out of names; now I have to cold call.
“Don’t call it cold calling. You can’t run out of names until you’ve called every single person in the state or city you live in. What you feed your mind is very important. With the power of social media, you simple cannot run out of names. It’s just not possible.
“You can reference the +1 concept, and there’s some great language on our website that dives into exactly what you can say in an email to be very strategic. Cold calling is the person who calls you at eight o’clock at night why and you’re wondering why is this person calling me? Whereas strategic calling is where you’ve identified a reason to call that person; maybe you find a friend of a friend that you notice through social media. Or, you look for the weekly announcements for people with new jobs and call to congratulate them.
“Find strategic ways to contact them. Never give up.
“And, most important, take action.”
Here is a great resource if you’re looking for an affordable keynote speaker for sales to work with your team on improving the effectiveness of their language.
- Overcoming Objections
- Cross Selling Life Insurance
- Everything You Need to Know About Selling Mortgage Protection Insurance