Tips for agents’ Job No. 1: Prospecting (Part One)

Prospecting is hard work, but it’s Job No. 1 for senior insurance agents. If you don’t have a steady flow of client opportunities, you have to prospect.  If you’re an independent  agent, prospecting is doubly important because you have the full responsibility of finding clients. If you’re captive, your company is counting on you to augment its marketing efforts with your own opportunity cultivation.

It’s crystal clear, then, that “Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect” (That’s a W. Clement Stone quote from my collection). Before I begin to looking at the specifics of each method in this most crucial part of the sales process, here are the first five of my Top 10 Things to Consider When Prospecting:

1. Prospecting is not selling. Generally speaking, the goal of prospecting is to build a pipeline of qualified people you can then make a full presentation to. Yes, I know insurance people who canvass and go right from the front porch (not advisable if your are working with Medicare Advantage) to the kitchen table to sell policies.  It’s great work if you can get it!  For most sales people, there’s a two-step process.

2. Price is not an object. Don’t objectify your product by offering price while prospecting. When someone asks, “How much does it cost?” we get excited, thinking the prospect is showing genuine interest.  The moment you give price without value creation, you generally allow the cheapest product to win. What are you going to do if your product isn’t the cheapest?

3. Who is your ideal client? If you could create a profile of your ideal client, what would he or she be like?  Make sure to include key demographic factors such as age and income ranges.  For effective and efficient prospecting you have to narrow your focus to the group that needs your product and is willing and able to buy it.

Learn more about the final expense market here, and learn more about the dual-eligible market here to get your sales process ideas flowing.

4. Where can they be found? If you’re selling used Bentleys, then your clients are probably going to be in a particular ZIP code.  You can cast a wider net when selling insurance. Either way, you may need to seek professional help as you set your target. Reputable list companies can help you locate concentrations of people who will be most likely to buy your products and services. Direct mail marketing is one of my preferred solutions for compliant lead generation.

5. What prospecting methods work for top producers?  As you go to seminars or weekly meetings, observe what the successful people around you are doing.  Likely, they’re heavy on repeat business and referrals. But successful sales people are always engaging other prospecting methods.  They still call on businesses or do direct mail, but  they are always prospecting. Their positive results mean that it is possible for you too!

Click here to read more of my sales process series.