Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 2126
, Published on 06 September 2014
“We are one of the sales teams of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC). To sell insurance policy is like selling dreams…And selling dreams to client is not easy”. This statement was quoted by my Development Officer (D.O), when I was working as an IRDA authorized insurance agent for LIC. You need a strategy to sell. Hence, this article is all about my personal selling strategies used in insurance sector.
Selling is the most important component of any business. More than 80% of the B-school students have to go through sales. Irrespective of whether your specialization is marketing or finance, selling will be part of your job. Whether it is direct sales of products, or concepts or even selling your own self and ideas. Many of us will end up selling either an FMCG good, a consumer durable, a mutual fund and even if we are in core analytical or operations profile, an idea or concept will be sold by us.
Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, chanpipat
Imagine being a part of that 80%.
Theories of marketing management books will teach you only 6 steps of personal selling but it will not tell you what it takes to implement those 6 steps! And, that is the point that I am covering through this article. Let me share my learnings from insurance sector to drive home the concepts on personal selling.
Step 1: Generate prospective clients(But how?)
On the first day of my job as an agent, my D.O gave me a 7 days task to generate a list of 100 prospective clients who may buy insurance policy from me. I was in a juxtaposition, Now what to do? I was a mere kid, 18 years old, who had to generate 100 prospective clients! I did not have even that many friends, leave apart prospective clients! The task was daunting enough to make me want to quit the job. The way to success was in persevering and not giving up. I boosted my confidence by auto talk on “I can do it… I can do it…”. For a few days, the only thought on my mind was on how can I create 100 leads. And, then, an idea struck me! I started picking up acquaintances from my life in segmented manner, for example, all school friends, all teachers, college professors, members of society where I lived, relatives- maternal and paternal, and surely enough, the list was more than 100 people. With a little focus, I could generate 100 prospective client list. The euphoria was enough to motivate me to enter the next step of selling.
I don’t understand why books of marketing management keep these 2 steps separately. In my case, when I was asked to get leads and to fix appointment from prospective clients, I had to call them and introduce myself as an LIC agent. This was not as simple as the text book says it is! Just put yourself in the client shoes. What do you do when you receive a call from a telecom company? Same happened to me when I started making the calls. Here, two things help. Having a reference and perseverance. 4 out of 10 people you call are going to say, “I am busy right now...will call you later..!!” and they won’t ever call you up! In my case, out of those 100, only 44 responded. Practically, this is a very good strike rate.
Step 4: Meeting and presenting your plan/product/policy(Seems easy?)
For this you must have all the suitable plans for customers, and material, with you. Initially, I used to hesitate, but after the first three presentations, I understood that I was not selling a plan to them, rather I was selling them their dreams, I focused on drawing a clear picture of future benefits of buying an insurance plan. With disciplined investment, the client has so much to gain. I Raised questions of concern to all heads of the family members about the miss happenings and financial sustainability of family post death. Here, my preparation with products helped them to gain knowledge for responsibility even after death touched their emotions, made them realize the importance of insurance product in life. I used my own customized plans according to their need. It is not easy to build that trust and to decide for the other person what you think is best for them!
Step 5: Compile with formal process of transferring ownership(Sold?!)
By this time, I had only 10 clients left with me. They agreed to buy the insurance plan. I took an appointment and went to meet them again on the cost (investment) of my petrol! But this is the point where your competitor agents comes in and flies away with your client! You need to mention how your service is better than others. You have to position your service in such a way that he has to agree to give a try to a new agent(You!!). I received premium from only 8 of my prospects in two months but with each payment, my pleasure reached the 7th heaven.
Step 6: Post sales services(Can you?)
As an insurance agent I had to keep the records of my clients regarding dates of premium, amount, maturity etc. I kept long lasting relations with the clients in order to resell the product. Lest we forget one thing! What about those 92 prospective clients? I kept following them up and stayed in contact. The relationship continues and in future, should they be my client, my service would be the best. With time, I am hopeful that they may buy my product.
No book will teach you practical selling. Like me, you have to go on the ground and play in your own style. I had sold more than 60 policies and premium of INR 218,000 within 6 months of my job.
Yes, I did sell dreams…and even now I say…“selling dreams to your client is not easy”!!
This article has been authored by Sunny P.Wadhwani from Institute of Management, Nirma University
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