Cross selling is imperative to the success of any insurance agent. If you already have the customer's attention, why not suggest an additional insurance policy? As the conversation progresses, there might appear a much-coveted opportunity to upsell. Of course, there is always the risk that the customer might object and thus derail the entire process.
At this point, the agents (or you) will have returned to square one. Or worse, you will be setback even further. Objections, if handled incorrectly, can transform into an insurmountable wall. The real question is, how do we avoiding creating such a wall? We've found that the most common objection we face is price. There are ways to work with objections that can save and even strengthen a sales pitch. Below are a few steps you can take to overcome customer objections. With these steps, anyone can break down the barriers that prevent successful cross selling.
First, a bit of encouragement is in order: objections should not discourage. Far too many salespeople drop the ball as soon as the smallest hint of a frown graces the prospect’s face. We dread such phrases as, “Sorry, but that’s outside our budget at the moment,” or “We’ll have to get back to you. We’re not able to commit to that”? Contrary to common knowledge, these objections are not necessarily dead-ends in the discussion. Rather, they represent a fork in the road.
Understanding objection handling
There are two choices: either surrender or shift perspective. The second option is much more preferable, as it keeps the lines of communication open. The solution is simple enough. Treat these words not as dismissals, but as requests for more information. Objections actually indicate that the prospect is interested because they are actively thinking through the details of the proposal. Presenting other options that might appeal to the customer could turn the objection into a consideration. Moreover, answering these arguments by weaving them throughout your script can turn a dropped offer into a lucrative agreement.
Preparing for customer objections
An integral part of any successful sale is anticipation, or the art of knowing what your customers want before they do. A good salesperson uses clever, informative marketing skills to overcome objections before they surface. Using these skills to follow the actual sales process, the salesperson can maintain a greater degree of control. The concerns paired with appropriate solutions before the customer even dreams of saying "no."
Often, we identify customers who are actually playing hard-to-get as uninformed and narrow-minded. A main reason customers play this game is to test out the waters before committing to anything. People sometimes do this to feel like they’re in control, that they are dictating the terms of any potential arrangement. Skilled salespeople look beyond these attempts to discover that the prospect only desires clarification. Ensure that the conversation continues to unfold by posing open-ended questions. Do so until you can identify the root cause of the problem.
Now, some people will just lack interest in pursuing the dialogue any further. However, until this becomes certain, one way or another, be a Good Samaritan and offer a helping hand. Never underestimate the force behind the spoken word. Make every effort to prevent customers from saying “no,” because this gives them power and a defensible position. A word to the wise: don’t compete on price. Instead, establish the value inherent in your product. Always redirect a veering conversation back to value-added and ROI.
Disarming resistant consumers
Objections are not wrong; they are “correct from the customer’s point of view.” Seeing or hinting that a customer’s position as wrong might cause him or her to become defensive, which is the last thing any salesperson wants. Instead, address the nature of the objection, validating it and, thus, the speaker. Be empathetic, but steer the conversation away from the interests of the selling party. Experiment with phrases like, “previous clients were concerned about the same issue.” Elaborate on key details, draw connections between the concerns of the current prospect and previous client. Lead them to a solution — even better, help your client reach a conclusion that aligns with your goals and his own terms.
Tossing in the towel (kind of…)
If, at the end of it all, the answer is still a firm “no,” a successful salesperson will still want to leave an impression that is lasting and positive. Showing appreciation for the customer's time might lead to a referral or future sale. They may not want an additional policy at the moment, but that doesn't mean they won't be interested a year a down the road. Leaving a lasting impression, and providing top tier service will stick.
Addressing the objections of a prospect is only valuable in so far as it leads to common ground. So seek out agreement rather than submission. Smothering an objection with irrelevant facts is not only insufficient, but also downright counterproductive. Following this bumpy road could cause the customer to feel bullied come closing time. To avoid creating resentment, ask if all concerns have been thoroughly addressed before proceeding.
If the answer is, “yes,” congratulations! That is the optimal result. If, however, the answer is still, “no,” attempt to foster a dialogue with the ultimate aim to clarify. In other words, go back to the beginning of this process and reassess and take a different approach, if need be. Tackling objections head-on keeps salespeople in business because it keeps the conversation on track. As long as there is discussion, there is hope for some sort of satisfying resolution.
A customer should never feel bullied. On the other hand, a salesperson should not retreat before the sun has set on the day’s battle. Leaving early leads to the loss of invaluable experience. In this business, there is no such thing as true failure; rather, there are only more opportunities to learn from mistakes.