From the Front Line: Smart Choice Magazine, Issue III

From the Front Line
[From the 2018 Smart Choice Magazine, Issue III]

By: Luke Royal, Indiana State Director

According to Pew Research center, anyone born between 1981 and 1996, who will be ages 22-37 in 2018, is considered a Millennial. As a millennial working in insurance, my age is actually something I avoid bringing up, like the plague. With all of the labels my generation has acquired, both good and bad, most millennials, including myself, actually don’t identify as one. After working with hundreds of agencies and dozens of carriers, one thing is for certain – I see a shortage of millennials sticking around in our industry. To help curve this trend, I would like to highlight some key moments that have helped shape my career, as examples of ways, together, we can support more millennials in this business.

Like many others, working in insurance wasn’t something I originally planned, but it has been a great decision for me. Starting a new career in the industry did allow me to create, let’s say, several “coachable” moments. It can be appealing to change gears and try something else before you have a book of renewals. A week without progress can be tough. Receiving a cancellation is tough as well, but something we all must go through. Fortunately, I have been blessed to have great encouragers and mentors along the way that have helped make those moments not as bad. If you notice hardship or not, it never hurts to inspire and encourage those around you. All of us can likely relate to a deal that fell through for reasons that may or may not have been our fault. Encouraging the millennials in our industry will help maintain their interest, boost their efforts, and ultimately add to your bottom line.

To help millennials be successful in our industry, I suggest you take the time to coach and invest in them. With the amount of change occurring and something new around every corner, it takes time to learn everything. Millennials can spend their life reading tutorials, blogs, articles and even magazines like this, but 90 percent of what I learned came from individuals who purposefully coached me and were available as open resources for when I had questions – so many questions.

One lesson that my generation could benefit from is consultative selling. How many agents do you know who sell solely based on price, and leave out the value they provide as their local expert? Millennials are accustomed to buying basically everything online, without any personal interaction, and as a result, carriers are progressively marketing their products as commodities. The need for a true insurance adviser is greater than ever, as a result, and all it takes is a little coaching to make a profound difference in the effectiveness of what you do.

Coaching a millennial to help them set their foundation in insurance is still separate from being a true mentor. Mentoring is a long-term commitment and encompasses a larger breadth of involvement. It’s not necessarily a monetary commitment as much as a time commitment. For example, a mentor helps elevate professionalism and character, while a coach equips someone for the task at hand. There is no shortage of exemplary character around and the best way to mentor is by holding yourself to a higher standard that others see. Being a sounding board of reason, sharing experiences, lessons, and communicating what has made a difference for your career, so that the next generation doesn’t fall into the same ruts, makes all the difference to someone new to the business. You can be a mentor to anyone, but a millennial in this industry might be the most in need of your time and expertise.

With the pressure of new technology and the shift in how consumers want to transact, we need millennials to help us stay relevant and to keep the local agency alive.  As a result, millennials that chose to make a career out of insurance have a great future ahead of them. But, they won’t be able to do it without your help. You can be instrumental in bringing new talent into the industry and perpetuating the role of an agent by being an encourager, a coach and a mentor. I believe it could be a mutually rewarding experience for every generation and age group in our industry.

Sources:

Defining generations: Where Millennials end and post-Millennials begin

To Make The Sale, Leave

To Make the Sale, Leave

By: Josh Seibert, Sandler Training®
  

The STORY:

Nick was having trouble trying to close the prospect. Still never having attended any company sales training courses, he hit upon a solution to the problem. One of the most experienced salespeople was in the back, and Nick decided to go and ask his advice.

“If you could excuse me for one moment,” Nick said, “I just remembered that I have an important message for one of the other fellows who is in the back room . . . I forgot to give it to him earlier.”

“You are going to come back, aren’t you?” asked the prospect.

“Of course,” responded Nick, “why would you think I wouldn’t?”

“Oh, I know I’m a royal pain in the butt when it comes to making a decision about buying something,” responded the prospect. “Most of the time, the salespeople get tired of trying to convince me and wander away, and I never see them again.”

Nick wasn’t sure what to say. He really needed to get the experienced salesperson’s advice so he turned and headed toward the back room.

“Wait a minute,” said the prospect, “I don’t want you to leave. I’ll buy it.”

“You’re sure?” asked Nick, hoping he hadn’t said too much.

“Definitely. Wrap it up.”

When the customer is out the door, thought Nick, I’ll go back and ask the experienced salesperson what to do the next time this happens.

The RESULT:

Nick did something very important for the wrong reason. From the prospect’s point of view, which is the only one that counts in selling, Nick was getting up to leave, never to be seen again. Again, the prospect would be left standing alone, not having bought anything. This pressure on the prospect, which Nick applied without realizing it, was enough to make the prospect give up and buy. Unfortunately, if Nick does ask for advice, he’ll probably be told the wrong thing.

DISCUSSION:

Getting up and leaving a prospect is almost impossible for a salesperson to consider. Why would you ever want to give the impression that you are going to walk out the door?

The reason for getting up and leaving is to let the prospect know it is time to make a decision.

The pressure is now on the prospect where it belongs.

This is not a tactic that you want to try with every prospect you come across. But if you have reached the “end of your rope” with one, you have nothing to lose by trying. The worst that could happen is you won’t make the sale. But then, you had no chance anyway.

APPROACH:

There are many ways to get up and leave. One approach is to physically start to move away.

Another is to simply look at the prospect and say, “Off the record . . . I get the impression that you haven’t come to a decision. Let’s assume that you decide it’s over. You don’t buy. What happens now?”

This verbal getting up and leaving forces the prospect to see a future in which he does not have your product/service. If he is in enough pain to be seriously considering buying, then looking at a future without buying is more painful. The only catch to the verbal leaving is that you MUST wait for a response. Do not rescue him or physically leave him.

Do not change “What happens now?” to “What happens then?” The word “now” brings the future, without your product/service, into the present, and as a result, pressure to decide becomes overwhelming.

THOUGHT:

“Leaving” the prospect makes the prospect want to come to a decision.

 

Josh Seibert is the president of Training & Development Solutions, Inc., Sandler Training located in the Piedmont Triad.  He can be reached at 336-884-1348 or www.training.sandler.com

©Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Marketing At Its Core…

Marketing At Its Core…
By: Katie Wilmoth, Director, Marketing and Communications

This past summer, my husband and I took our kids to the beach – our kids (at the time) were 6 years old, 4 years old, and 9 months old, so we had our hands full! I find that at their current ages, they’re like a mini case study in the ways of the world. I never cease to marvel at how perceptive and astute they are for their ages.

At home, we don’t keep cable or satellite and instead, stream or download things we’d like to watch. So our kids have no concept of what television was like in the old days, and therefore, they aren’t familiar with commercials.

Throughout the course of the week, our oldest daughter would run up to one of us and say something about one of the commercials, or “previews” as she called them. IN fact, our kids were more interested in the commercials than in the shows they watched. As someone who’s made a career in marketing, I marveled at just what an impact direct marketing had on my kids in that short amount of time. I even caught them singing “Nationwide is on your side!” repeatedly as they played in the waves one day – “Mom, did you know Nationwide is on our side?” my six year old asked me – proving that, whether or not they knew exactly what the product did or was, the message the marketers had intended for them to remember had indeed been successful.

One night, my daughter said “Hey Dad, we need to get some of this lotion because it will make our skin super soft and shiny.” And I listened as my husband said “Okay listen Lila…these are called commercials, and the people who make them are trying to sell you their product by making it sound like the greatest thing in the world. So they’re lying to you to make it sound better than it is…that’s what your mommy does for a living…”

I looked up at him shocked and amused that he would say such a thing to our daughter, and he was looking back at me laughing. My reply to him was “You’re a LAWYER! Why don’t you tell her what YOU do?!”

The story is funny, but it got me thinking about the definition of marketing at its core. Sure, there are plenty of infomercials that use over-exaggeration and half-truths to peddle cheap wares (though I’d say that’s closer to the definition of sales, not marketing) – but at its heart, that’s NOT what marketing is. Marketing is about highlighting what sets your product or service apart from the competition. And if you’re doing it RIGHT, it’s also about highlighting the things that you do well and at which your product or service excels. You pick out your best assets and tell people about them. Think of it as socially acceptable bragging!

If you would like to read more Marketing tips, check out Issue IV of the Smart Choice Magazine!