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This is an approach that some suggest is out of date; however, it’s probably good to know anyway. The premise is that everything you do in the sales process is in pursuit of the single goal of closing the deal. A better approach in today’s changing marketplace – at least according to the folks at HubSpot – is Always Be Connecting.
These are the four main stages that involve the buying process (also referred to as the purchase funnel).
This is the average amount each of your client spends with you. As it relates to insurance sales, your client’s average dollar sales will be affected by the scope of your service – whether you focus on individuals, small businesses, larger businesses, and the products you offer. Information about your average dollar sale can help you analyze your success and, perhaps, drive you to change your approach or market niche.
The exchange or sale of products and services between two companies (in contrast to an exchange between a business and a consumer/individual).
The exchange or sale of products and services between a company and a customer (individual client).
BANT is a well-known method used for lead qualification. It looks at Budget and whether your prospective client has a budget for what you’re selling; Authority and whether he or she has the authority to make a purchasing decision; Need and whether there’s a business need by your prospect for what you’re selling; and Timeline, the time frame for a decision and implementation.
The value offered by a product or service to the buyer; this is distinct from the features of a product or service. Ideally, in your sales approach, you should sell based on benefits supported by features.
Your contact at a business/prospective client. He or she could own the company, manage employee benefits, or have a role in the final decision about funding the purchase.
This is a broad term used by marketers to describe the ways a customer identifies, considers, and selects products and services. It is influenced by the consumer’s needs, budget, desires, inhibitions, role, and his or her social and cultural environment.
This is another term used by marketers that looks at characteristics of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your current customers. It can help you qualify your leads based on your past success.
This includes all of the information a prospect or client needs before making his or her decision to buy. It can include a written checklist or a series of questions about cost, benefits, features, need, etc.
Also referred to as “churn rate,” this is a measurement of your customers’ non-renewals, cancellations, and discontinued payments for previously agreed-to services or products. It’s important to know your churn rate to understand your buyers’ behaviors and identify shortcomings in your sales approach or service that might otherwise keep your customers on the books.
To calculate your churn, take the number of customers lost during a specific period and divide it by the total number of customers you had at the start of that time period. (Don’t include new sales during that period.) As an example, if you had 50 customers at the beginning of September and you had 45 customers at the beginning of October, your churn rate would be 10 percent (50 – 45 = 5 / 50 = 10%).
The process of approaching prospective customers either by telephone or face-to-face “cold,” without introduction or prior contact.
These are leads that are less likely to become customers, although it’s important to recognize that some cold leads could be turned into warm leads with your renewed outreach.
Customer Relationship Management and most often involves using CRM software to analyze customer interaction data to help business relationships grow. Also, CRM software helps businesses improve relationships and retain customers.
The people with whom you talk and meet who make the ultimate buying decision. It’s important to get to the decision-maker, so you don’t waste time with someone unable to make the purchase decision.
The study of individuals’ lifestyle, age, buying habits, etc. Knowing this information can help you understand (and better serve) the needs of your customers.
Moral principles governing a person’s behavior or the conducti of business. Unethical behavior will undermine your reputation – and your success as an insurance professional.
Field sales representatives are those individuals who work “in the field” as the face of their employer company in an assigned region or territory.
Estimating sales to predict the long- or short-term performance of an organization; forecasting helps in making informed business decisions.
A process that follows customers through their purchase decision; a sales funnel is divided into stages that follow a customer from awareness to action (purchase).
An individual who attempts to screen your efforts to approach a decision maker (see above).
Also known as Lead Buyer, this person is more important and influential than a typical buyer; however, he or she may be harder to contact because of a busier schedule.
An Inside Sales Representative is typically a person working within a General Agency or insurance company who sells products online and via the telephone. He or she may also help serve the needs of brokers who work on the “outside” (face-to-face with customers.)
The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills; as it relates to sales, your social intelligence can help you “read people” and guide your discussions with them toward a successful close.
An important customer; this could be an employer with a lot of employees enrolled in a group health plan or an individual who has purchased multiple policies. These customers are typically a priority because the loss of their business would be financial loss to you or your agency.
Your process for evaluating and grading leads based on the potential of turning them into a client/customer. The lead qualification process involves asking some key questions to determine how what you market fits with the prospect’s needs and situation – and whether he or she has the ability (or inclination) to buy.
A prospective customer you want to approach concerning a product or service. A lead can come from a variety of sources – referral from a current customer, an article online or in the newspaper about a planned new business opening, an online inquiry (received via your website), or direct mail, among others.
Often abbreviated as LTV, this refers to the value (profit) during the length of time you have someone as a customer.
The difference between the cost of a product and the price at which it’s sold.
The exchange of information or services (in-person or online) among individuals, groups, or businesses; the establishment of a relationship for potential future business or employment; as a sales professional, networking is critical to your long-term success as you continue to grow your business.
A reason to decline an offer or a feeling or expression of disapproval; when it comes to sales, this could include an objection to the price, features, benefits, or complexity of the proposed product.
When someone gives you permission to add them to your email distribution list (to receive future emails or newsletters). Opting in is not required for a single message, but it is essential if you want ongoing contact with a prospect or client.
To choose not to take part; usually applies to an individual’s request to be removed from your email distribution list; federal anti-spam laws require your newsletters and emails include an option for the recipient to opt-out from future messages.
Refers to your list of prospective customers, which (hopefully) you have organized based on the stage they’re in the sales/purchase process. You can help fill your pipeline by asking your satisfied customers for referrals (see below).
Refers to what you’re selling, which when you’re working as an insurance broker can include a variety of health, life, disability, and related insurance policies. Having the right product mix can you more attractive to prospects and clients alike.
A potential client who has been referred to you by someone else or who has expressed an interest in what you sell by responding to your email, direct mail, or telephone call or by visiting your website.
Your sales target (or goal) for the month, quarter, or year. It’s important to track your sales success against your quota. A quota can be set for an individual, a group, the organization at large, or a geographic area.
What you hope to build with your referrals, prospects, and clients: a close and harmonious relationship – one that is built on mutual trust and understanding.
The name and contact information for a potential future client; someone referred to you by a current client, friend, or colleague.
This refers to your ongoing book of business, your list of retained (or maintained) customers. It’s often said that keeping your current customers is easier and cheaper than finding new customers. You can increase your customer retention by building a rapport (see above) with your customers and periodically checking in with them to ensure they are continually satisfied.
A weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual summary of your sales quota/target and success (sales results) as well as trends affecting your current and future business.
This term, coined originally by the folks at the inbound marketing software platform HubSpot, involves the integration of sales, marketing, and technology to achieve increased revenue.
This is using social media (like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to connect with prospective customers, increase your online presence, and boost your sales. It can include use of a blog or posting useful content on social media sites to enhance your profile.
Using research and targeted outreach to increase your sales. When you take the time to learn the needs of your prospects, to get to know them, and to match what you’re selling to their needs, you are more likely to turn them into customers. Proper targeting can help you save time and increase the effectiveness of your sales efforts.
This usually refers to the geographic target market for your sales. Some sales representatives target only a few ZIP Codes or communities, while others may have a wider geographic focus.
Also referred to as your Unique Sales Proposition, a USP includes your distinctive selling points as a broker. What differentiates you from other brokers who are selling the same or similar products in your community or region?
Persuading a customer to choose a more expensive product or an added product (in addition to what was originally proposed). Your successful up-sell usually will offer you a greater commission.
Something that changes; for example, this could include enrolling dependents at a group, rather than just the employees of the group.
Refers to your renewed contact with a prior prospect (who did not buy) and offering them a different product or service that could move them to make a purchase (and become a customer). Your prospect may just be in a different state of mind at the time of your outreach and may be more receptive to your pitch.
This is a term used to describe a potential customer that represents a significant sales opportunity – perhaps because their group is large and represents a substantial potential premium (and commission). These customers require added time for outreach and marketing, but may be worth the effort.
Acronym for “what’s in it for me,” which is the question all of your prospects and clients are asking (or at least wondering). You must address this question in your discussions, so your clients and prospects understand the potential benefit to them, their companies, and their employees in selecting you and the proposed product to address their insurance needs.