Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Telemarketing for Dollars

Telemarketing for Dollars

I had a great last week! I met with some executives at a national health insurance company about working together to market some of their senior products. There are a few things that need to be ironed out, but it looks like it’ going to be a good business relationship. I submitted approximately $9000 AV. I’ve yet to break the $15,000 barrier consistently (business that sticks), but I feel I’m close. Submitted business is great, but I care more about policies that are placed, active and kept for 12+ months.

One of my gripes about selling insurance is the mystery surrounding the IMO/FMO/GA “verbal” contracts. You’re either nodding your head or wondering what I’m talking about. Allow me to elaborate.

I recently offered a contract to a friend of mine that will net him more money and a chance to earn higher overrides on his agents then his current GA offers. I also told him that I’ll give him a release in case he doesn’t like the extra money. Prior to the two of us talking he was with a GA who will remain nameless. Due to the unwritten rule between this insurance company and numerous companies he was told that he could not be released w/out waiting 6 months and having zero production. Now, here’s the kicker, he hasn’t written any business!

I spoke with the insurance carrier about this and we agreed on a few things regarding my contract, so I was able to work around the issue, but it does amaze me the lack of transparency that permeates this industry.

Fast forwarding…

I spoke with a good friend of mine recently and we were discussing the recent changes that both of us have made to our telemarketing scripts. The discussion focused on various methods we both favored and our sales process. Although our systems are very similar there are some differences I would like to discuss in how we do business.

I endorse a 1-2-3 sales system to how I conduct business. I’ll talk about Step 1 in this post and will follow up with step 2 and 3 shortly. There are sublevels to each phase, but let’s get into that later as I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information because this message is about telemarketing.

Step 1: Enrichment Call

Step: 2: First-in Appointment.

Step 3: Sales Presentation

I call and introduce myself. My main goal is to gauge interest and either, schedule a first-in appointment or a follow up call, e-mail, etc. My secondary goals are to find out the name of their insurance carrier and how much their currently paying?

The first call normally averages 10-15 minutes if they pass phase one and grant me permission to move forward in the call. My idea of granting permission is not hanging up on me and answering 1 key question...Here’s my script word for word.

“My name is John McCollough…is Bob Smith available please. Mr. Smith (I don’t use first names unless I’ve been given permission) is this a bad time? The reason for my call is find out if you are familiar with the new health plans that small business owners now have access to that allow them to save up to 50% off the cost of their premiums, while using pre-tax dollars to pay for their health care costs?” Then I shut up, pay attention and find a way to get to the 2nd phase.

It’s imperative that you DO NOT go into a sales pitch as this juncture. Ask broad questions, pay attention to the response, ask a more focused question and repeat.

This is a new pitch I’ve been using with great success. Wam, bam, thank you, next!!! After I ask the first question, 95% of the time I get a NO, followed by I’m not interested or a pause. If their not interested I move to end the conversation by asking permission to add them to my mailing list and then I close with, “One of the benefits of my newsletters is that I have access to information as an agent that allows me to keep small business owners up to date about their current insurance carrier so there are no ugly surprises…like rate increases… which carrier should I ensure you receive information on?” “Do you have the XXXX or the XXX plan?” How much are you paying a month?”

Now this is just beautiful and is a great way to finish this conversation. I may not have succeeded in getting the appointment, but now I know the insurance carrier now and I’ll use any credible resources to take advantage of that opportunity if the insurance carrier does something stupid.

Motivation starts to dwindle when you don’t know what the next step is and you let the client dictate that for you. Who is the expert? NEVER allow that to happen!

I’ll post information on phase 2 later this week


wabo said...

JR, Did you ever post Phase 2 and or 3? I liked reading your thoughts on Phase 1.


JR said...

I have not written anything about phase 2 and 3. I'll post information on both of those phases shortly.