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Turn a Prospect’s ‘No’ into a Positive Experience

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, July 20, 2018

 

Turn a Prospect’s ‘No’ into a Positive Experience

 

When it comes to discussions about sales strategy, one of the most entrenched concepts is “don’t take no for an answer.”

 

But the reality of sales prospecting is that “no” is an answer you will probably hear — often. Despite your best efforts, it is sometimes the only answer the prospect is willing to give.

 

Insisting on changing “no” to “yes” can, in fact, do nothing more than turn off a prospect and shut you out from any future discussions about what benefits and services your company could provide in the future. Persistence in the face of a repeated “no” can lead to antagonism and frustration for both you and your prospect. Once your prospect perceives you in a negative light, trying to turn that perception around will be almost impossible.

 

Taking “no” for an answer, when done right, can turn a negative into a positive and lead your prospect to possibly becoming a valuable client.

 

At the outset, you need to respect your prospect and their answer. At that first or subsequent call, a prospect may have his or her defenses up, expecting a lengthy, ambitious pitch that does not respect their time or response. Accept “no” graciously and you just might surprise them, prevent that feeling of antagonism and leave the conversation where he or she might be willing to reconnect with you in the future.

 

After you accept a client’s refusal, don’t just walk away and treat the prospect as a waste of time, either. Having shown respect for their answer, it is now time to reach out and build a foundation for the future. Ask their permission to speak again at some point. Aim for a second conversation in the future to reconnect or send an email about something of interest to them, just to keep in touch. This is an opportunity to build a relationship and shape your brand in the prospect’s mind.

 

Your main objective should never be to force a “no” into a “yes,” but to avoid a bad sales experience. One helpful strategy is to do some homework before making the call. Identify the prospect’s need and have an answer that shows why your product is their solution. Not only does this give you a firm basis for conversing with your prospect, but it also saves time — for the both of you. First, you’ll avoid calling upon someone who has no real need for your product, and they won’t have to listen to a pitch about something that has no relevance to them.

 

Most importantly, when doing your homework, make sure the person you contact is someone who can say “yes.”

 

To prepare, turn to LinkedIn, the prospect company’s website, and any other publicly available material that helps you understand who the decision-makers are and how your product or service will benefit them. And when you make that call to that person, listen to what they are saying, ask questions, and learn how what you are selling will complement their business.

 

Respect, courtesy, and a little homework may not conclude the sale today, but invoking those concepts can open doors to a future book of profitable business tomorrow.

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  efficiency  Insurance Education  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  sellability  time management 

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Why You Should Use Humor in Your Marketing

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, June 22, 2018

Why You Should Use Humor in Your Marketing

Even after you've forgotten the content of a joke, you remember the fact that it made you laugh. Humor is a tricky little devil, extremely difficult to nail, but powerful when done right. Out of all the stories you hear throughout your week, you are most likely to share the ones that make you laugh. After all, who doesn't want to make people laugh?

Unfortunately, humor is fairly subjective. So if using humor is risky, why bother with it at all?

In a recent article for the Atlantic, Nigel Hollis writes, "The first trick of advertising is to make people pay attention. Funny ads attract attention."

Insurance is not perhaps the most intriguing of topics, and that's putting it lightly. Your brand must connect with people on an emotional level to succeed, and that's where humor has its value. This is especially true for everyday brands that might otherwise go unnoticed by the average consumer. 

Writing for Hubspot, Kim Speier states "Humor is a way to sell your brand without outwardly selling something." When you appeal to a consumer's emotions, she says, "you're able to engage them and make them remember you." And that, my friends, is half the battle.

Even if a customer may not remember the exact details of a product or the message of the ad, you've just built brand recognition.

However, that positive association is lost if the messaging isn't consistent or recognizable. Speier cautions that without brand awareness — a distinct knowledge of their consumer base and persona — marketers' attempts at humor can seem inauthentic or even offensive. Know what your brand stands for and who your target audience is before attempting to reel in laughs, and customers.

But that doesn't mean your brand can't be funny, in addition to being serious and trustworthy. Consider a few of the examples Speier provides in her blog post, ones that she chose precisely because the products are considered dull. Dollar Shave Club razors. Charmin toilet paper. State Farm insurance. Old Spice deodorant. Allstate insurance. Clorox bleach. Wonderful Pistachio's...well, pistachios of course.

Chances are you recognize most, if not all, of these names. There's a reason for that — their ads managed to tickle your funny bone.

It's easy to entertain people by marketing a cool or exciting product, as Speier says. "But the real gift is with those who can take something that people don't typically enjoy shopping for and make it an experience they will actually look forward to."

So whether your joke elicits a full-on belly laugh, a wheezing-you-can-barely-breath-laugh, a reluctant snort, a quick chuckle, or even a smile, you're on the right track.

"If there's one thing for sure, it's that people love to laugh," Speier concludes. "We could all afford to smile and laugh a little more in our lives, and if you're a brand that can make us do that, we're going to appreciate it. So keep the laughs coming!"

Tags:  agency value  Branding  business value  Goals  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  Personal Brand  Professional Development  self-improvement  sellability  teamwork 

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Are Brainstorms Washing Away Success?

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, May 25, 2018

Are Brainstorms Washing Away Success?

Play nice. Share. Get along. There’s no “I” in “team.” Collaboration is key.

We’ve been coached since childhood to collect everyone’s opinions and ideas, believing it’s the single best way to find the best solution. Although it’s true that businesses use teamwork as the foundation of success, has our propensity to brainstorm inadvertently crippled business in some ways?

Renowned Wharton professor and leadership expert, Adam Grant, thinks so. He maintains that when people work so hard to develop consensus — essentially going along to get along — originality suffers, threats are overlooked, and disaster can remain undetected until it’s too late.

Instead, he recommends “brainwriting,” which begins with each individual developing a list of ideas on their own. Only after everyone has thought through the issue privately and committed positions to paper does the team meet to discuss and evaluate. Why is this more effective? “The wisdom of crowds mostly comes when you put people in separate rooms and get their judgment independently,” Grant explains.

It appears he’s not alone with his hypothesis. In his book, 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, Richard Wiseman says, “Over 50 years of research shows that people often reach irrational decisions in groups … and highly biased assessments of the situation ... strong-willed people who lead group discussions can pressurize others into conforming, self-censorship and create an illusion of unanimity.”

While Forbes contributor Natalie Peace sides with Grant and Wiseman, she believes there are still opportunities for brainstorming, albeit in new ways. She recommends:

  • Provide strong leadership and a process framework to follow. People often want to have "no rules" brainstorming, but that can quickly derail or stall.

  • Give everyone time to think in advance of the session (essentially following Grant's "brainwriting" idea).

  • Make contribution mandatory. No sitting in the room just nodding. 

  • Any idea can be shot down, but must be replaced with an alternative.

How do you feel about brainstorming? Do you love it or hate it and why?

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  efficiency  Goals  insurance marketing and sales  Leadership  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  Social Media  teamwork 

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How Do You Know if Your Sales Process is Working?

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, July 28, 2017

There are a variety of metrics you can use to analyze your individual and team sales performance, but it may be overwhelming to choose which ones will give the most accurate and useful information.

Luckily, our friends at HubSpot have a few tips to share. Here's some insight into the two measures you should be paying the most attention to when evaluating your sales performance.

Lead to Opportunity

At the end of the day, you need to look at how many of your leads are turning into legitimate sales opportunities. If you aren't quite hitting your quota, you need to ramp up lead generation. And if your leads aren't converting over to opportunities, you need to look at the effectiveness of your sales approach and marketing tactics. Consider this: Are you reaching out too little or too much? Is it personal and are you building a relationship along the way? Are you contacting your prospects through multiple channels?

Opportunity to Close

Although it may vary by time of year and industry, keep tabs on the percentage of sales you're actually closing. Compare your rates with other companies in the industry and within other industries to get an outside perspective of how you're doing. Is the rate higher than 50%? You may be picking the so-called "perfect fits" that you know will buy. But it's important to expand your horizons and go outside your comfort zone — it's the only way you're going to grow.

Pretty straightforward, right? Looking at these numbers on a consistent basis at both a personal and group level will help you determine where you can improve and eventually lead to better performance. You can set goals, make informed decisions and better optimize your outreach efforts.

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  CPIA designation  efficiency  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  productivity  Professional Development  self-improvement  sellability  Social Media  Technology 

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Bugging your Customers - A Great Way to Reach Out This Summer

Posted By AIMS Society, Friday, June 23, 2017

Part of being a great insurance agent is looking at all aspects of risk faced by your clients and sharing ways that they can protect themselves, even if it doesn't immediately translate to a policy sale for you. The point is to become a valued resource that your customers can't imagine being without.

One of the biggest risks of summer is pests; and people are always interested in finding new ways to stay bite-free. Below is some basic information you can simply cut and paste into an informational email. By doing this, you add another point of contact and another reminder of your value.

Sample Email Copy

Buzz Off—Tips for Staying Bite-Free This Summer

As insurance agents, we see all types of risk, big and small. With the arrival of summer, there's one risk that can quickly turn from just a nuisance into a real health issue—bugs and their bites.

Mosquito-borne illnesses include Zika, West Nile virus, dengue fever and Chikungunya.

  • Zika symptoms include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and muscle pain.
  • With West Nile, there are no symptoms in most people (70%-80%). However, about one person in five will develop a fever as well as a headache, fatigue, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Unfortunately, a small percentage of people, particularly those over age 60 or with medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease, are at risk for more serious symptoms. In these cases, recovery can take several weeks or months, with some neurological issues remaining permanently.
  • The obvious goal with all mosquito-borne illnesses is to avoid bites in the first place; unfortunately, citronella candles and sonic repellents don't work as well as advertised.
  • Instead, look for pesticides containing DEET and lemon eucalyptus. Spray them around your yard, particularly before gatherings.
  • Also, it's important to regularly empty any standing water on your property and cover or turn over anything that could retain water, such as tires, buckets or empty planters.

Experts predict that 2017 will be a "particularly bad year" for Lyme disease, which is caused by deer tick bites. It's now the fastest-growing vector-borne disease in America.

  • Symptoms include fever, headache, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle and join aches. Although considered a tell-tale sign, only half of Lyme disease cases present with a bull's-eye-shaped rash. Making diagnosis even more complicated, blood tests show a false negative 25%-50% of the time.
  • Left untreated, Lyme disease can become a serious health problem with chronic shooting pain and swelling, heart trouble, shortness of breath, and neurological issues.

To minimize chances of a tick bite:

  • Stay away from where they live—brush areas, tall grass and thick woods. Walk in the center of trails when hiking.
  • Use a repellent with 20% more of DEET, picaridin or IR3535. This EPA tool can help you pick the best one for you.
  • Put the repellent on after sunscreen and spray on your clothes as well.
  • Cover baby carriers or strollers with netting.
  • Wear light-colored clothes and long sleeves and pants. Tuck pants into socks.
  • Protect your pets as well with a pest collar, sprays, powers or monthly topical.

 

Tags:  agency value  AIMS Society  business value  Friends  insurance marketing and sales  Networking  sellability  Social Media  vacation 

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