Internet marketing has been a game changer for the insurance industry. Find out how inbound techniques and tools like QuoteWizard can change a consumer into your customer with a simple phone call.
Cold Calls vs. Warm Leads
The first step to seeing a higher lead conversion rate is to recognize the difference between cold and warm leads. Cold calls are leads that the agent knows very little about, if anything besides their phone number. The prospect may not even be in the market for insurance at the moment. A cold call’s outcome is a complete mystery, and they can often be awkward for both parties since they could mutually discover that neither has something to offer the other. For these reasons, cold calling is all but dead. The tactic of “shotgunning” phone calls to see which ones could stick is a waste of precious time and money. Cold calls have also led to more sophisticated “gatekeeper” techniques to screen out sales calls that are unwanted and unneeded. Warm leads are quite different.
Rather than an outbound technique where the agent or salesperson is reaching out and seeing who might possibly be interested in their products, the client lead has instead expressed some sort of interest. This type of soliciting strategy is also known as permission-based lead nurturing since the caller has an idea of what the client wants and the client has an expectation of being contacted. Tools like QuoteWizard bring interested prospects to you – like your own inbound marketing department – where you can enjoy quality lead generation without having people hang up on you or call you names!
Mental Mastery: Gearing Up for the Call Your first step before you even call is to get yourself in the proper mental space. Auto or homeowners insurance leads can still turn cold quickly if the client gets the wrong sort of vibe. Here are some tips to put you in the right mood before you even pick up the phone:
- Know what the client wants and what their information is. QuoteWizard’s insurance lead generation service comes with specific information about what the client wants and their current situation (age, gender, number of cars, DUIs, etc) so that you can make an offer that resonates with them. Don't try to cross sell other products (like life insurance to someone requesting auto insurance) until you've first addressed their need for the insurance they requested.
- Be a person, not a brand. This maxim may go against your training, but the key is to have the lead see you as a human being. That way, they are less inclined to be rude to you or ignore what you say. Ways to connect with your lead include:
- Do not ham up the greeting. You are not auditioning for a kid’s TV show, so do not come across as excessively enthusiastic and thus insincere. Avoid unnecessary questions like “How are you?” and get to the point. “My name is Pat and I’m from XYZ Insurance…”
- Confirm their interest by asking them “You were interested in finding a price on a homeowners insurance policy, correct?” Responding with a “yes” makes them feel complicit in the call and also ensures you are talking to the right person.
- Acknowledge the possibility that they may not have a lot of time or that they may not want to follow up with a purchase today. You can work against these hurdles later, but admitting you could be bothering them shows self-awareness — something many salespeople do not demonstrate.
- Never assume a sale from lead generation, some people are just curious when looking for quotes. Presumptuousness can lead to miscommunication. On the flip side, everyone needs insurance, so give your best shot to every single lead you get.
How to Be Convincing
Your first goal is to keep your pitch short and pithy while punctuating it with their own responses. Use engaging questions like “Have you had only good experiences with your current agent?” Give them ample time to say their piece, even if they ramble a bit. People like being listened to, and they feel more positive about a conversation they had a large part in. Second, give them concrete value statements. Let them know about how your brand has unique services or a better price point. Quote them savings numbers to hammer these points home.
Close with an Appointment
Your ultimate goal is an in-person meeting or a further phone discussion. You can get them to agree by skipping the permission part and jumping straight to saying “Do you have your calendar in front of you? When would be a good day to meet in the next week or two?” Repeat your meeting date towards the end as a way to help them remember. Do so under the guise that you need the confirmation: “So that’s Tuesday, the 20th at 3:00, correct?” Give them your emergency number so that the onus will be on them to cancel rather than you to confirm. Prepare for your meeting with as much research as you can. You can even go so far as to request them to bring their current insurance documents. For appointments more than two weeks out, wait a day or two and then send them a handwritten thank you note. This will surprise and delight them since handwritten anything is a rarity, and it will also be a reminder they can put on their desk or refrigerator.
Don't Give Up on Leads One of the biggest mistakes an agent can make is to assume a “no” now means a “no” forever. Your auto, home, or life insurance lead may simply be having a bad day, or they may be waiting to talk to someone else and they will then discover that you had the better offer. Insurance leads are generated when consumers go shopping for quotes, and so often they want to compare offers. But that can mean more than just the price of the policy, so always leave a good impression. The simplest, most innocent way to follow up on someone who does not want your product at that moment is to send them a polite email a few days later. Follow-up on your offer, and let them know you are more than happy to chat with them any time they have questions. Most importantly, do not discard their information. Make a note of when their policy could be up for renewal and try again around that time just as a friendly gesture. CRM's, calendars, and free tools like Boomerang for Gmail can be useful for scheduling follow-up reminders. If you left an impression, you could have given them a reason to consider you over others at this point.
Tactics like these are not guarantees, but they have been proven in the past to work for many people in many diverse situations. Once you become more comfortable nurturing leads, you can develop your own process that works best for your approach and your client market (check out Adam's post about lead nurturing for some good tips). One thing that can be stated without a doubt is that cold calling should be done away with entirely. Inbound leads who you know are in the market for insurance and who you know have certain needs have much higher conversion rates and are without a doubt easier to close. What better customer to sell to than one who's already expressed interest in buying? Let tools like QuoteWizard help pave a path to less frustration and more profitable interactions.