Wow! Social distancing? That says it all in the weird times we now find ourselves in as sales professionals. There are things you can do to still thrive; here are 5 steps for salespeople during COVID-19.
What could be more crushing for the sales industry than an order from the government preventing meeting with prospects or clients face to face?
In three decades of industry experience, I thought I have witnessed it all. But this is for sure unique times. However, we have had major ups and devastating downs in financial markets, natural disasters, major rate fluctuations, product variances, and many more challenging and uncertain times.
One thing I do know is that our profession in the insurance and financial services industry will and continue to be the backbone of the US economy. And just like in past events, our clients need our advice and services more than ever.
So, how do we navigate this climate? Here are five coaching tips to consider!
5 Steps for Salespeople During COVID-19
1. Make sure your financial house is in order.
I have said this for decades and I will say it again. Take this time to reflect and plan. Are you doing the very things you recommend to your clients? Look at your life insurance and ask yourself is this where I really should be? Structure your property and casualty insurance to protect everything you’ve worked to build or will have in the future. Have you taken advantage of the sound financial products we offer?
Action Steps: Read Tom Hegna, Brian McKnight and Patrick Kelly’s books and implement these tax-free and sound retirement recommendations NOW! Van Mueller has been warning of this for years in his newsletters. Are you subscribing? These authors not only are writing about tax-free ideas but having product that are built for times like these. And not only for protection, but for the opportunity they now present. Our products, along with their coaching, teaches you to take advantage of volatility rather than becoming a victim.
2. Use this time for reflection, goal planning, and personal growth.
I have had personal losses and unimaginable tragedy strike me personally and my family. I have had great financial strides and many setbacks along the way. I have personally found that it is harder to slow down, smell the roses, and appreciate to the fullest those things in life that are most important, in the up times. Perhaps this is human nature and/or perhaps it’s Biblical. This is the time for change! Take advantage of what you know may be true about yourself and the world around you during this unprecedented low point.
Action Steps: Track your business of where it started, how it got here, what it is today and where it will and needs to go moving forward. The more you take care of you, the more you can do! I can put in several more “energetic” hours a day, when I take an hour out to exercise. I know this but have allowed myself to get too busy to take care of myself as I should. Busy, fast, and “up” times also can allow you to put off personal growth. As your own time manager, put those things on your list that have slowly been pushed aside and possibly nonexistent at this moment. Even though we must distance ourselves physically, make plans to get involved when all this subsides personally, spiritually, civically, athletically, philanthropy, and emotionally.
3. Take this opportunity to “catch-up.”
We all have a list of ideas and plans we would accomplish if only we had the time, right? It’s time to clean up your files, clean up your office, and clean up those TO-DO lists. Now is the time!
Action Steps: It’s the time to take all those ideas in your head and put them on paper! Advertising ideas, marketing, going digital or paperless, building something such as social media networks or marketing ideas. You have wondered long enough; will this help me, will that give me a better advantage, or I would try something new… if only I had the time? Getting caught up for a moment gives the sales professional a clear mind to think and plan. You are the rainmaker! How can you make the rain happen if you’re always playing catch up?
4. Build client connections rather than distancing them.
In Joey Coleman’s Never Lose A Customer Again, he states “You lose customers because they feel neglected after the sale is made.” This hits us right between the eyes! It has been years since I have spoken to some of my clients. It has been “almost never” since I have spoken to my clients outside of normal business calls.
Action Steps: Read Coleman’s book to hear it from the very best. But I can tell you this as an insurance agent in Louisiana during the nation’s largest insurance disaster, Katrina; a 5-minute phone call can secure a lifetime relationship with your clients. The difference between this disaster and Katrina, is that no one is calling you because of a claim. And you’re not calling them to ask about a potential claim. You are simply reaching out to “connect” with your clients in a meaningful way. Don’t you think conversations will come up about their policies and protection plans? Sure, they will! But if that’s not your intent for this call, your customers will always remember this moment and that you cared enough to simply check in with them. One call may secure a lifelong client/friend. I am putting into action calling a certain number of clients each day, starting today!
5. Reinvent yourself.
What may have worked ten, twenty, or thirty years ago may not have the same affect today as it once did. Is your business going forward like it once did? If so, then keep reinventing yourself. If not, then it’s time to step outside of your comfort zone. There are fewer professional agents NOW than there was 20 years ago. But the population has increased significantly! There has never been a better time than right now to gain market share.
Action Steps: The three things that made me successful as a producer more than all others was Marketing, Winning the P&C sale at any price, and having a Life Insurance discussion with every client. How are you marketing? Are you doing “on your toes” marketing where you are making things happen rather than sitting back waiting on the phone to ring? Reinvent your marketing strategies. We have, like never before, means of communicating with potential prospects. Why is it that we are losing ground to direct writers every day? Why are new agents struggling to survive? Why are professional agents not growing as they should? We have a world of communication at the tips of our fingers, literally. Let’s use these means to make meaningful connections. Let’s innovate the way we communicate to clients before, during and after the sale. Let’s implement those digital innovations we keep hearing about to have face time with our clients and our meetings. It will work! You must, however, take the steps to deploy reinventing yourself. And finally, let’s talk to every person, every prospect, every handshake (or elbow bump), every client and every relative about life insurance and the financial products we offer.
If not you, then who? If not now, then when? People, whether they are our clients or not, need you to be a professional. They don’t know this, but they need you to care! If you care, the rest will take care of itself.
Let’s take this “down” time and do what we’ve always done. Let’s face it head-on and make it an opportunity.
We are sales representatives who persist and move forward. We are THE industry of promises and guarantees. Earl Nightingale says for us professionals, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal (goal).” We can’t allow ourselves to stay down or we perish. You know this. I know this. So, let’s take what we know and charge!
See you at the top of the charts!
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To get the latest COVID-19 information in California, visit the CDC.