What’s the key to a good closing ratio? Is it persistence, picking up the lunch tab, knowing when to ask for the order or having a better product, price or personality than the competition?
None of the above. It all boils down to three simple rules:
- Super-qualify your prospect
- Don’t be a human quote engine
- Know when to walk away.
It’s surprising how many agents allow people to treat them as purveyors of commodity products. A classic defense to this time-wasting approach is the diagnostic model. If you’re a true professional, act like one. Don’t give quotes, analyze the situation and offer your services as any other professional would. Here are five steps in the process:
- The diagnostic model starts with super-qualified leads. This could mean working a niche market you’re familiar with — and preferably where you’re recognized as an expert, getting referrals from satisfied customers who support you with their testimonials, or having people approach you on the strength of how effectively you’ve demonstrated your professionalism in social media and other venues.
- When you make the phone call to set up your diagnostic appointment, explain that you’re not sure whether what you have to offer can help the prospect, so you would like to know if he or she has any concerns about their current program. At this point you should get at least one problem out on the table that would justify a meeting — and that problem should not be price. Even if you’ve got a great market with low prices right now, you don’t want to build a relationship on a flimsy foundation like price.
- If price is the only real problem the prospect seems to want your second opinion on, it’s time to move on to the next prospect. Take Kenny Roger’s advice:
Know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.If the game is about price, fold ‘em.
- At the diagnostic appointment, establish rapport and learn the weak points in their existing program, whether it’s service- or coverage-related. After reviewing all their policies, you should be able to find a few problems with their current coverages as well. If this was a commercial account, I would probably perform a brief risk management analysis for them and discuss risk transfer and other concepts, like “not trading dollars with insurance companies” by taking higher deductibles and so on. Discussing insurance in the context of risk management is another way to deflect the issue of price. Collect the information you need to provide quotes.
- After you get your quotes, don’t present a proposal. Present solutions. All this time you have been positioning yourself as a professional who diagnoses problems. You’re a problem solver, a risk analyst, a doctor of insurance.
Even if you present a slightly higher price than your competitor, if you have one, your chances of getting the business will improve greatly when you use the diagnostic model.