Building a strong sales process is a proven way to improve your close rate and is perhaps the most important thing you can do as a sales manager. No matter what kind of insurance product you sell, your producers will benefit from having a defined process to follow, starting from when they receive a lead all the way through to closing the sale.
While you may have to experiment to find the best insurance sales workflow for your particular agency, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. At a high level, most effective sales processes follow certain best practices.
In this post, we’ll explain how to get started building an insurance sales process that covers these five key phases:
- Outreach & Presentation
- Address Objections
The first step in any sales process is prospecting. The focus of this stage is finding or attracting new prospects who have an interest in the products and services your agency offers. Sales reps use a variety of sources, both online and in-person, to find qualified leads to whom they can reach out and connect. A service like EverQuote can help you and your team excel in the prospecting stage by providing you with high-quality leads who have shown intent to buy. To learn more about prospecting, read our article on insurance sales prospecting tips for producers.
Before you communicate with a lead, consider how you want the interaction to go and prepare for it. This includes planning every step of the process on the way toward the sale, having a script of what you want to say during a phone call, and gathering any sales materials and information you need to either reference or send to the lead.
Being prepared for sales communications increases the chances that they will proceed the way you intend—with a positive outcome. Use templates as much as you can, whether it’s a script for a phone call or for email or text messages. Agencies, especially newer ones, need to practice and refine these materials on a daily or weekly basis to develop a strong sales approach to plug into their insurance workflow process.
Is your sales process as effective as it could be? Improve it with the best practices outlined in our guide, the Insurance Agent Sales Process Quick-Start Template.
3. Outreach & Presentation
Once you’ve sourced qualified prospects and prepared your scripts, it’s time to contact the lead and present your case. For digital leads, we have found that the average sale happens anywhere from one to three weeks after initial contact, so we recommend a 21-day sales cycle that includes 8-10 touches with the client (illustrated below).
It’s very important to contact every lead as soon as possible. When you first receive the lead’s information, call them immediately. If you don’t get them on the phone, call them again within the hour, leaving a voicemail or sending a text message. If you haven’t heard from them by the end of the first day, send an email as well, so they understand why you’re reaching out.
Keep a regular outreach schedule for the first three weeks. If contact has not been made in that time, give the prospect another call right before you hit the 90-day mark. (Twenty percent of closures happen in months two or three.) Often, consumers will be shopping around looking for the best price, and sometimes they may be looking ahead for pricing a few months before intending to buy.
Managing outreach through a scheduled process like this can help ensure you’re producing enough contacts while not being overbearing. In a study of over 3.5 million leads from Velocify, they found that the maximum effective number of emails to send is five, spread over a 21-day period. Any more than that and you increase the risk of being relegated to the spam folder. The optimal amount of outreach is a fine line that varies by individual, but you don’t want to annoy the prospect to the point of losing potential future business.
4. Address Objections
Once you get your prospect on the phone, you need to be prepared to address common objections. Having a script or knowing how you will respond makes it easier to continue guiding the conversation forward. Here are ways you can respond to four of the most popular objections in the insurance sales process:
“I’m not free to talk at this moment.”
For a sales person, this should never be considered an objection. Consumers looking for insurance are often busy people, and just because they can’t talk at that moment doesn’t mean they can’t in the future. Ask them for a better time, schedule a call and send them a calendar invite, and follow up before the call. After scheduling the follow-up call, send them personalized information (such as a quote or projected cost savings) by email or text to make them more interested in speaking with you.
“I’m just going to do it online.”
Many consumers don’t understand the value that working directly with an insurance agent brings. Have a 10-20 second response prepared in response to this objection to emphasize the service, consultation, and personalized level of support they can receive from working with you that they won’t receive by only looking to buy online.
“I’ve been called too many times.”
There will always be people who feel they’ve been contacted too frequently, by too many salespeople. Be empathetic. Don’t keep them on the phone, but ask if they’re open to receiving more information or reconnecting at a later date. Respond along the lines of, “Since you took the time to fill this information out online, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I ended the call right now. Could I send you with a little information about what you could be getting, and follow up at a later date?” Then, send them the agreed-upon information by email or text.
“I did not request a quote.”
This one is specific to online leads. When you partner with EverQuote, 100% of the information you receive is directly from consumers. Prospects may say this if they don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone to a stranger.
Don’t offer a quote or try to sell right away. When you receive a lead’s information, the first thing you want to do is confirm whatever information you have—such as address or auto make and model—with the consumer. Once you have confirmed their information, and the fact that they are interested in insurance, that validates your call and makes the consumer feel more comfortable talking with you.
To learn more about addressing objections, download 4 Example Scripts To Help You Handle Customer Objections.
All the above stages are building toward a close, when the lead agrees to a mutually-beneficial contractual agreement to work with your agency. While working through the steps above, a salesperson should always assume a prospect will close and this is where the conversation will end.
When speaking with the prospect, always be prepared to transition to the closing step. Have paperwork and logistics ready, and be ready to answer any final questions. If they aren’t closing that day, end the conversation with a clear understanding of the prospect’s intentions and next steps.
If you’ve sourced high-quality prospects with intent and followed your sales process, closing the deal should be enjoyable and beneficial for both parties. (Tweet this!)
Looking for high-quality leads to jumpstart your sales process?
Once you’ve outlined your insurance sales process, it’s time to try it out with high-quality leads. That’s where EverQuote comes in.
When you partner with us you’ll not only get vetted prospects, but also access to our comprehensive sales training material, which will arm your team with the information and skills they need to close more sales. When you work with us, you have complete control over your leads—and you can even pause your account anytime, with no consequences. Click here to schedule a tour of EverQuote’s tools with one of our experts.