Objections Are Part of the Selling Process
By Rick Grosso, CSP
Rarely does it happen that an insurance agent will move from the presentation stage to the close without running into objections. They’re part of the selling process. Objections allow the prospect the opportunity to better understand your service. As a psychiatrist once told me, the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. When a prospect raises an objection, the prospect is actually showing an interest in what you are selling. If the prospect didn’t like what you are selling, he would be indifferent to it. So objections are good, because they indicate interest, giving you a clearer understanding of what the prospect wants in order for you to close the sale.
Objections also provide something else – a cushion for the prospect. Customers fear to make the wrong decision, especially if it involves spending hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars. Fear of making the wrong decision often leads to indecision, which then leads to procrastination. For the insurance agent, how he or she handles prospect objections can affect sales performance. Handled badly, the prospect will probably not buy. Handled in the right way and the agent could be on the way to making salesperson of the year. So what is the right way to handle objections? Here are a few tips…
Listen to the Prospect
Nothing annoys a prospect more than being interrupted. After all, they’re trying to tell you what they don’t like about your service. Listening to what they have to say can help you formulate your answer to overcome the objection. Learn as much as you can about the objection. Encourage your prospect to expand and tell you more.
Feed It Back
This is particularly helpful when you don’t completely understand the prospect’s objection. By rephrasing your prospect’s objection as a question, you are asking the prospect to give you more information. Once the objection has been precisely defined, you will then be in a better position to overcome it.
To prevent the prospect from coming up with one objection after another, try to isolate the objection. A good way to do this is by using the past tense, such as the word “was.” As an example, the agent might ask: “Other than that, was there anything else that stopped us from getting together?” Phrasing your response in the past tense reduces the appearance of sales pressure and helps set the prospect at ease.
Qualify the Customer
Once you have isolated the objection, qualify the prospect. Here is an example: “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, had we been able to solve your objection, since it was the only thing that stopped us from getting together, then wouldn’t we have been able to go ahead?” Once again, this technique employs the use of the past tense to avoid pressuring the prospect.
Use the “3 R’s”
As you talk to your prospect, you should be asking trial closers and commitment questions. An example of this might be the following: “Other than affordability, is this the product that you feel will best suit your needs?” You might also ask: “Is this a feature that you would definitely appreciate?” During your presentation, your prospect might raise an objection such as: “I need to think about it.” To overcome this, use the “3 R’s” formula: REPEAT – REVIEW – REMIND. By repeating the prospect’s own words, review the prospect’s comments to remind him of what he or she said. Here is an example of the proper use of the 3 R’s formula: “Mrs. Prospect, you told me that other than affordability, this was the service that you wanted. Do you recall? Since we have worked up an affordable budget for you, I think it is safe to assume that we have satisfied your needs, so let’s get you started.”
Resolve and Write
Once you’ve overcome the objection, you have qualified your prospect to do business with you, so proceed with the close. Overcoming objections takes practice. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the results you’re expecting in the first few tries. Keep trying. Eventually you will learn to navigate through the toughest objections and move quickly to the close.
As published in print:
The Insurance Record – Published by Standard Publishing Corporation – May 3, 2001
Life & Health Advisor – Published by JonHope Publishing Company – June 2001
Advisor Today – Published by The NAIFA Corporation – June 2001
Leaders Magazine – Published by Insurance Publications, Inc. – July/August 2001
Agent & Broker Solutions – Published by CPCU Society – July 2001
National Relocation & Real Estate – Published by RIS Media – July Issue