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Why Did the Prospect Cross the Road?
By Rodney Ballance
What seems like a lifetime ago now, when I
was a young man just back from my time in the military, a long-time family
friend named Bill Swindell approached me about buying life insurance. His
approach was one of caring and true thoughtfulness for my future, but he was
talking about life insurance. I was like most young people, ten feet tall and
bulletproof. The last thing on my mind was death.
Every time I’d see Bill he’d ask me about
making an appointment to discuss how life insurance could take care of my
financial future. He would even tell me “If you start a plan now, you could
have over a million dollars by the time you’re 55”. His words haunt me now
that I’m at that age.
I got to the point where I would literally
cross the street if I saw Bill coming. I remember ducking into the hardware
store one day when I saw him walking toward me. Hiding behind the nail bin, I
just hoped he wouldn’t see me. Looking back, I regret going to such lengths to
avoid hearing what he had to say, but I do know for a fact that I’m not the only
person who feels that way.
Looking back on my career, I hate what I
did to Bill and the fact I never bought anything from him. Has anything like
this ever happened to you? Either as a prospect or as an agent, have you ever
avoided or been avoided? If you’re like most of us, you have to answer yes. With
that in mind, let’s ask “Why did the prospect cross the road?”
Don’t tell me what I should do! Be
honest. Isn’t this the way most of us feel about almost anything in our life?
How can someone else know what my desires or my ambitions are, before I share
those thoughts with them? Approaching someone with a solution to a problem they
don’t even know they have is like wearing a big radioactive hazard sign on your
chest. People will avoid you at all costs.
If you’re wondering why it’s so hard to
get an appointment, take a close look at what you’re saying to the prospects.
Salespeople with a limited range of products to sell will almost always lead off
with how great their product is, even if the prospect isn’t at all interested in
that product. I believe this is the most popular reason the prospects cross the
What is he/she selling now?! I’m
sure you’ve known life insurance agents who jump from one idea to another, just
because they fall for the hype of the company pushing a specific “solution”.
Some agents go through their list of family and friends with one type of
insurance or another, and exhaust their potential for new business. By the way
this is because they don’t know how to prospect.
Out of desperation the agent responds to
an E-mail from someone pushing another niche market product, and they go through
their list all over again with a renewed excitement for this product. Some of
the existing clients buy because they like the agent, but naturally there are
fewer purchases than the first time around. Eventually the agent burns these
clients out, and they start to cross the road as they see him or her coming,
because they’re afraid of what the next sales pitch will be.
I’m not in the market for insurance!
No one wants to be sold anything that we’re not already thinking about
buying. If you’re not in the market for a new set of tires for your car, the
advertisements on the radio or a flyer on your windshield at the grocery store
are more of an aggravation than an attraction.
Why would we, as insurance professionals,
try to drive a square peg into a round hole every time we get close to a new
peg? Sooner or later the pegs will get tired of your attempts to push them into
something, and start avoiding you all together. The biggest problem here is that
they will tell everyone they know about your sales tactics, and they too will
cross the road every time they see you coming.
This Guy is pressured to sell me
something! We’ve all been there. It’s Friday afternoon and I’m on the last
appointment of the week with way too few sales. This appointment is our last
chance to earn enough money for groceries. I’m stressed to the max, and I’m
trying not to let it show.
It doesn’t matter how hard you try to keep
those emotions bottled up, the people sitting across the table from you can pick
up on it faster than a dog can smell a steak cooking on the grill. They sense
that you’re trying hard to sell them, which only serves to push them away.
You’re branded as a “high pressure salesperson”, and they will cross the road
every time they see you coming.
The only solution to this problem is
LISTENING! God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. As humans, and
especially as financial professionals, we must train ourselves to listen to the
concerns people have before we try to offer a solution to them. If you walked
into a doctor’s office with a sore throat, and before you could say what was
wrong he recommended an X-Ray of your arm, would you have much confidence in
Unfortunately we’re recommending
strategies and products without first hearing the patient’s complaint. We will
never fix their problems if they don’t first recognize they have a problem, and
trust you can offer a viable solution to their personal and specific issue or
I’ve been blessed with a successful career
as a life insurance professional because I was taught early to ask questions and
“actively listen” to people. I’ll write more on active listening in a later
For now though, please try to help people
stay on your side of the road. You would hate to be the reason someone got hit
by a car crossing the street just to avoid hearing your latest sales pitch. On
the other hand, some other agent would probably thank you, because a close
encounter with death will definitely get them thinking about life insurance.
Then they’ll call someone who is happy to listen.
“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is
knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.”
David Star Jordan
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Let's face it, the 'Hot,
products and sales ideas that are being hyped, along with the 'Old
typical insurance marketing and sales techniques that have been
taught during the past 40 years by our companies, recruiters and
even the industry gurus have resulted in a
deplorable 90% failure rate
for new agents, and a very disappointing income
of only $40,000 - $60,000 (after
expenses) for most experienced agents and advisers.
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Let's Talk about Money
The purpose of
this message is to get down to the basics - to clear the air
surrounding the entire subject of money. To do this, I’m going
to have to get absolutely elementary. And while you may already
know most of the things I’m going to say, I think it’s important
that we remind ourselves just exactly what money is, how much of
it is enough, and how to earn the amount of money we need to
live the way we want to live, now as well as in the important
To begin, let’s
dispel the old myth, once and for all, that money is bad or
unimportant. It is not bad, and it is important - it is vitally
important. It is just as important as the food and clothes it
buys, the shelter it affords, the education it provides, and the
doctor’s bills it pays. Money is important to any person living
in a civilized society. To argue and split hairs to the effect
that it is not as important as other things is absurd. Nothing
will take the place of money in the area in which money works.
That’s all there is to it.
What is money? Money
is the harvest of our production. Money is what we receive for
our production and service as persons, which we can then use to
obtain the production and services of others. We can quite often
accurately gauge the extent of our production and service by
simply counting the amount of money we receive for it.
You will hear
people say, “Money won’t bring happiness.” The earning and
possession of money has brought a lot more happiness than
poverty has. Money is a warm home and healthy children; it’s
birthday presents and a college education; it’s a trip abroad
and the means to help older people and the less fortunate.
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world will pay you exactly what you bargain for. Your
rewards will always be in exact proportion to your service."
"Lew helped me close $16,800 in commissions in 2 weeks!"
"Lew’s coaching and
system has helped my practice immensely! Learning from Lew on
the right way, helped me close $16,800 in
commissions in 2 weeks! Thanks Lew!"
Ron Fara, RIA - IL
(9 years in business)
"Allstate has spent a ton of money on similar programs,
but in my humble opinion, what you offer is much better."
"Lew, I recently
Advanced Fact-Finding Video... I have been on two
so far and used the methods you described. It was
surprising how the folks opened-up. Not only
were their defenses
totally down, but they actually stated that they liked the
and questioning process to find out what
their needs/concerns were before they were asked to buy
anything. In both cases the customer actually told me what they
were going to buy... By the way,
I am going to recommend that
you contact Allstate's Financial Specialist Manger, so you can
them with their sales efforts. They have spent a ton of
money on similar programs, but in my
humble opinion, what you
offer is much better. Feel free to drop my name."
Allstate Agency Owner - TX
Are You Tired
Are you as tired, as I am,
of hearing about all the supposed ‘fool-proof’ marketing and
sales systems, that guarantee they’ll generate a flood of high
quality prospects overnight? Systems that promise you’ll have
people beating down your door and begging to buy your products!
And, you will make a ‘bazillion dollars’, while working at home
in your ‘skivvies’!
Maybe you’ve actually been
‘hood-winked’ into buying and trying one or more of these
‘Magical’, ‘Get Rich Quick’ marketing and sales systems. Did it
work? How did it make you feel? Did you feel used? Taken
The unfortunate part is
that all of the companies selling these supposed ‘fool-proof’
marketing and sales systems know exactly what they are doing.
They know the majority of salespeople are struggling just to
make a living. They know that most salespeople have a serious
problem that is causing them a lot of anxiety, pressure and
pain? It’s the fear of failure. It’s the fear of not being able
to provide for one’s family. They also know that most people
want and are looking for instant gratification and success. It’s
human nature, today. So, these companies will do or say whatever
is necessary just to get salespeople to buy their marketing and
sales products, with no regard as to whether it really helps
them or not.
They know that by using
‘Over the Top’ tactics they can scare the heck out of you. They
know that by making ‘Outrageous Claims’ they are appealing to
the salesperson’s greedy human nature.
The problem is that their
systems teach you to use the exact same tactics on your
prospects to get them to buy your products and services. These
tactics are not real selling. They’re a scam and a rip-off. They
leave a bad taste in the buyer’s mouth. And, it is exactly what
everyone fears will happen to them when they talk to a
salesperson. It’s what gives all insurance people a bad
reputation, and what makes them just one step above a used car
advisers have learned that the keys to success in this business
is not about using
some 'Magical' Marketing and Sales System, or the Latest Hot New
Success Will Be Based On Whether or Not You
Learn and Master The Fundamentals Of This Business!
The truth is that real
selling is about helping people to buy what they need and want.
It’s about helping people to better their lives. It’s about
identifying their concerns and problems and then helping people
to develop a real solution. Real selling is not a conflict or
battle of wits. Real selling ends up with a ‘Win-Win’
proposition for the prospect and the sales person.
salespeople have a hard time sorting through all the companies
out there to find someone to teach them to market and sell their
products and services, the right way. And, even if they are
lucky enough to find right company, they soon discover
requires a lot study and hard work to succeed. So, they
invariably start looking for a short cut and they end up falling
prey to one of the less than ethical companies making those
outrageous claims and promises.
However, for the few
people who take the time to find the right company and then work
hard to learn to market and sell the right way, the rewards are
wonderful. People will start to see you as a trusted advisor,
instead of just a sales person. They’ll seek out your advice.
They’ll buy from you over and over again. They won’t
procrastinate. Price is no longer a main issue. They will refer
you to all of their friends and family. And, you’ll be working
fewer hours, with much less stress. And, you’ll be making a
Best of all, when you
learn to really help people to get what they want and need, you
begin to feel good about yourself and your sales profession.
It’s no longer a job. It becomes a career and a calling.
Jeremy & Lew
Trainers, Coaches & Mentors
The 9 Out Of 10 Guys...
"All of the top achievers I know are life-long
learners. Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they're not learning,
they're not growing... not moving toward excellence."
Shame For You To Struggle Finding
& Closing Sales, When Our Members Do It So Easily!
sale was for $24,000 commission, not a bad day!!!"
"I just made a
large (for me) annuity sale that would have not been possible
had I not used
your website (the
Insurance Marketing & Sales Resource Center)
and your coaching advice.
I have learned to listen
much, much, more than talk. The sale is made by them not me. And
importantly I did the right thing for the client because
they will be earning much more income
and saving a bundle on
taxes. So, you not only helped me, but the client.
Oh, by the way, the sale
was for $24,000 commission, not a bad
day!!! This is only step one in the planning process,
the life insurance review will generate another smaller, but
Brian H. - PA
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