The first three habits – apologizing, using filler words, and avoiding eye contact – take conscious effort during presentations to avoid, but with awareness they can be overcome. Moreover, the first three habits sometimes go unnoticed by prospects as they’re fairly common. However, there are three faux pas that appear disrespectful and aren’t as easily overlooked. The next three are a matter of preparation and caring for your clients. Every agent needs to take the time to know their client, answer questions, and thoroughly articulate and explain the products they’re selling. In doing so, you will create a lifelong client.
DON’T forget who your client is.
Know your audience; this is Communications 101. As a salesman, you interact with clients both young and old. It’s important to know that what may be appropriate for Millennials (b. 1980-2000) may not be appropriate for the Silent Generation/Matures (b. 1927-1945), Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1964), or even Generation X (b. 1965-1979). You have to be adaptable during this era in which there are multiple living generations in America.
Though you may not realize, one colloquial phrase that older generations consider disrespectful is “you guys” when referring to both men and women. While many use this phrase because it’s gender neutral and all-inclusive, there are still those who find it rude so you may want to consider the easy alternative “you all” or the general “you.” Better to be safe than sorry. While minding your Ps and Qs and remembering to say “yes sir/ma’am” and “please and thank you” are expected from older generations, good manners also extend to appropriate behavior. With that said, it’s a good rule of thumb to silence your phone during an appointment with a client. Ultimately, manners – to use the words of the author M.A. Goldsmith – involve “the sophisticated skill of paying attention.” Simply paying attention to the specific needs of your clients carries a lot of weight.
Take a look at the visuals below (click to enlarge) for some additional helpful tips on how to better communicate across generations:
DON’T get defensive when clients raise questions or objections.
Insurance, especially health insurance, always has been and probably always will be a confusing industry. Since health insurance oftentimes changes year-to-year as new policies and laws are instituted, people are naturally confused. It’s an agent’s job to provide clarification. However, this duty to educate and inform is sometimes overlooked during a sales presentation. So rather than making a client feel stupid because you don’t consider their question worth answering or their objection valid, take the time to appreciate their intuitiveness and initiative. More often than not, consumers don’t even know what questions they need to ask in order to get the clarification they need. Therefore, when a client does ask you a question, you should applaud them for being thoughtful and thorough.
DON’T rush through the sale.
Lastly, when an agent’s only goal is to close a sale during an appointment, then they’ll lose sight of the needs of the client. Rather than addressing questions and objections, agents, who only focus on the sale, will brush off the client and rush through the presentation in order to make the sale. This is not only rude, but it can also be detrimental to your client and in turn your business. If you push a sale without fully disclosing every aspect of the policy, then the client may be buying something that they shouldn’t. This can make for an unhappy client down the road who will probably not continue business with you. So bottom line, don’t rush through the presentation. Take your time and be thorough!