In Selling, Seek First to Understand


This most important commandment of good salesmanship often goes unheeded. A common sales sin of an inexperienced salesperson is to immediately begin rattling off “unique” features of his or her products and services.

Unfortunately, what’s considered unique is usually standard offerings from virtually all other competitors. Rather than selling features which are pretty standard, a producer should seek first to understand rather than to be understood in an opening appointment.

Try asking these 10 questions:

  1. Do I understand the prospect’s industry and the issues that are most important generally?
  2. Do I understand the prospects specific strategic imperatives or what’s keeping him or her awake at night?
  3. Do I understand how my insurance and risk management services relate to the prospect’s strategic imperatives and what services are currently being purchased?
  4. Do I understand the quality of relationship the prospect has with the incumbent provider(s)?
  5. Do I understand the prospect’s shopping process?
  6. Do I understand what degree of follow-up contact is desired or expected?
  7. Do I understand how the buying decision will be made, who will make it, who will influence it?
  8. Do I understand what additional information the prospect will need to make a good decision?
  9. Do I understand what I have to do to get the business?
  10. Do I have a better than 60% chance to succeed?

For more tips, check out the Opening Appointment Questionnaire under Step 4 of the Sales Management Toolkit.

Train New Producers and Boost Agency Sales!

Better yet, if you’ve got a new or inexperienced producer, consider enrolling him or her into this summer’s Producer Development Program, sponsored by Texas Mutual. Students will not only get a solid foundation in commercial insurance but also learn how to apply the knowledge in selling situations. The program includes five days of technical training in commercial lines, five days of sales and marketing training and two-and-a-half days dedicated to guidance on building a quality book with mandatory ethics training for all licensees.

The Producer Development Program starts July 10. View the curriculum and register today.

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