In today’s competitive insurance business world, effective communication is a crucial skill to helping clients understand their policies. Being a good presenter, both on the phone and in person, is often the key to closing the deal. If you're a life insurance agent offering a sales pitch to a prospective client, the material you present and certainly how you present it can greatly affect your policy conversion rates. Life insurance prospects would probably forgo a few dollars over the life of their policy to feel that they've chosen the right insurance agent to represent their needs than save a few pennies with an unscrupulous agent just looking to turn a buck.
So public speaking and presenting has never been your strong suit! Not a problem, here are some things you can do to both improve your presentation skills and boost your confidence when speaking with interested consumers looking to you for insurance advice.
Presenting over the Phone
Smile when you talk
This is a way to ensure that the tone of the conversation will be positive and the person on the other end of the conversation is at ease. It may sound funny and be a little embarrassing at first but your voice will reflect your attitude and your voice over the phone is a major trust point. If you're not confident in what you're saying, words will get jumbled or misinterpreted, and your trust has gone out the window. Smiling ensures that you're tone is positive and jovial.
If you don’t know all the prices and policy-types your company sells off the top of your head, make a cheat sheet and keep it handy. If a sales rep can’t answer basic questions about pricing and options offered in the policies they sell, that’s a red flag for a customer or prospect and they will likely take their business elsewhere. If you're unsure of something let the person know you can research it for them to offer a more detailed answer that will be tailored to them.
Take the 2-minute approach
When you begin your conversation, communicate early that the conversation won’t take a lot of time. An excellent way to do this is to begin by asking if the person has 2 minutes available. Most people will respond affirmatively, and will often forget the time limit as they become engaged. However, people will quickly point out that you've taken too much time if they are not engaged enough to want you to continue and you have surpassed the two minute window you assured them of.
Tele-sales are often successful, particularly when directed at home-bound individuals, or those who don’t have a lot of time to spare. But there are some people who will want the face-to-face time before making a decision about something so important as insurance.
Presenting to in Person
Make eye contact often but do not stare
If you look into a person’s eyes for too long a period of time, you will likely make that person feel uncomfortable.
Know your audience
Be sure you know who your audience is. If you are speaking to senior citizens, their needs and interests will differ greatly than the needs of recent college graduate. Tailor your presentation to the person in front of you as each will want to know slightly different information for their unique needs. A younger audience will be most interested in automotive and homeowner’s insurance. Seniors would likely be more interested in annuities and life insurance and neither will have the same questions or method of conversing.
Remember the rule of three
Determine the three most important points you want to make and focus on them exclusively. This will help ensure that your conversation doesn’t get tangential and confuse your audience with unnecessary information.
If you're just beginning the meeting try Who - Why - What:
Who are you and why you’re the best agent to help them? Who are they and what is the reason they are researching a new policy or agent?
Why does the client need this policy? Why did they choose you to help them with insurance?
What can you provide to help them? What questions can you help answer? What is the next step?
Tell an effective story
A good presentation will have a beginning, middle and end. You set the stage in the beginning by letting people know what topics you will be discussing. You tell the story/deliver the information in the middle of your speech and it is during the big finish at the end where the take-home message is clearly delivered and understood. Don’t overlook the value of being a good story teller. If your clients can see the connection to how your service will directly affect them, they are more likely to be more receptive to the rest of your pitch and products.
Try the standard presenting method of 1) Tell them what you’re going to tell them 2) tell them 3) then tell them what you told them. This method helps the client know what will be covered and allows them to walk away with the important points.
Use visuals sparingly but effectively
These will help you drive home your message. A good visual for an automobile insurance presentation, for example, is to show the cost of the insurance in one column, and the benefit if the policy-holder were to get into a serious accident in another. Disconnected images distract your audience from your point and will likely diminish your likelihood of a sale.
Practice, Practice, Practice
To perfect both your phone and in-person presentation, practice, practice, practice, and time your presentation. Without practice, you’ll be more likely to make mistakes, deviate from your plan and be less effective with your messaging. If you know your pitch inside and out, it will become second nature, and you'll be more confident.