How to beat your real competition

11 replies
There's an old adage in life insurance sales, about how your biggest competition is not another life insurance salesman, but the whole world of temptation. Every car dealer, boat seller, retailer, etc is your competition for the customer's money. And, this is true whether you are selling life insurance, stocks/investments/ college savings funds/prepaid funeral arrangements, etc or any other service or product which focuses on the future.

Your prospect would rather spend money on other frivolous things which please them in the here and now, rather than solve their own problems. Why? Chalk it up to selfish reasons. Who wants to think about pouring money into life insurance, investments, etc they won't benefit from (in their lifetime such as with life insurance or for many years as with retirement) when they could be putting that same money into a selfish thing like a better house/car/boat, etc.

So, how do you combat this natural tendency of selfishness on the part of your customer to break through sales resistance to complete the sale?
#beat #competition #real
  • Profile picture of the author jenrlo
    That's a tricky question Samuel and one that we would all like to have the definitive answer.
    It in part will depend on the age group and emotions. I notice an ad on TV for funeral insurance appealing to the emotions of the elderly client not wanting to put increased financial burden on the family by having to pay for a funeral. Also, the weekly cost of the insurance was the equivalent to the cost of buying a coffee so not very high. Include some warm fuzzy music and feel good photos and there it is - practically signed and delivered.
    Whether this same approach would work online is tricky. It is much harder to convey emotion in an online setting.

    I don't think people are necessarily being selfish by buying 'frivolous' things, they are simply enjoying life and living in the here and now. It's all about the balance and taking responsibility for the important things.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    There's another old (but not nearly as popular) adage in sales. You don't have to worry a lick about your competition. All you've gotta do is be a tiny bit better today than you were yesterday. The cumulative effect of that alone will be plenty to make you a top producer.

    Imagine improving 1/10 percent every day. How hard would that be? That's one percent every ten days. That's three percent a month. You can do the math. Forget about what others are doing and focus on doing what you're doing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

    There's an old adage in life insurance sales, about how your biggest competition is not another life insurance salesman, but the whole world of temptation. Every car dealer, boat seller, retailer, etc is your competition for the customer's money. And, this is true whether you are selling life insurance, stocks/investments/ college savings funds/prepaid funeral arrangements, etc or any other service or product which focuses on the future.

    Your prospect would rather spend money on other frivolous things which please them in the here and now, rather than solve their own problems. Why? Chalk it up to selfish reasons. Who wants to think about pouring money into life insurance, investments, etc they won't benefit from (in their lifetime such as with life insurance or for many years as with retirement) when they could be putting that same money into a selfish thing like a better house/car/boat, etc.

    So, how do you combat this natural tendency of selfishness on the part of your customer to break through sales resistance to complete the sale?
    Samual; It's not an Either/Or thing. people buy what they want to. When you are in front of them, they will buy from you...if that's what they want at that moment.

    Your job is to make it obvious that it's in their best interest to buy from you now. If you engage them in the conversation...they aren't thinking of all the other things they could do with the money.

    When you buy a hamburger, are you...while ordering it, thinking of all the other things your could do with that money? No. And neither are your prospects.

    The premis is flawed. What you are really competing against is their inertia.

    You just need to study selling. And people always act in their own selfish interest. You just need to make your offer match those selfish interests exactly.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

    There's an old adage in life insurance sales, about how your biggest competition is not another life insurance salesman, but the whole world of temptation. Every car dealer, boat seller, retailer, etc is your competition for the customer's money. And, this is true whether you are selling life insurance, stocks/investments/ college savings funds/prepaid funeral arrangements, etc or any other service or product which focuses on the future.
    When selling item that is about risk it is natural that you cause your prospect to think about risk vs. reward. A fundamental problem with how most people sell insurance is they make it about risk. In some cases maybe that is all you have. But there are better ways to present it.

    Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

    Your prospect would rather spend money on other frivolous things which please them in the here and now, rather than solve their own problems. Why? Chalk it up to selfish reasons. Who wants to think about pouring money into life insurance, investments, etc they won't benefit from (in their lifetime such as with life insurance or for many years as with retirement) when they could be putting that same money into a selfish thing like a better house/car/boat, etc.
    This paragraph reveals two important things.
    1. You think people are selfish for buying things that provide them with joy, pleasure, and etc.

    2. You don't believe people can benefit from your products in the same way. You literally say "they won't benefit from".

    To that I have to say...
    1. They are no selfish vs. unselfish buyers. They are all "selfish" but that is a bad term for it. They want things that fulfill their wants and needs. Sometimes they come to you with those needs (likely the sales you are getting) and other times you have to know how to stir the pot to bring their needs (that your product meets) to the surface.

    2. Your problem is you personally do not believe in your product. There is an old statement in the auto world that the Finance Manager who sells the most extended warranties is the one who has the extended warranty on his own car.

    One of the oldest tricks in the book to get a sales person to sell more is to get them buy what they are selling.

    You don't have to own what you are selling. I've sold many things that I personally did not own. But in all those cases I understood that the prospects needs/wants were different than my own. I saw the value in it for them and in my mind related it back to the value I had for a similar product or service.

    For example I work in an RV Dealership and still occasionally sell RVs. I'm not an RVer myself. But I understand RVers and Boaters because i have a similar passion in cars. They have their toys and I have mine. I have complete "buy in" that what I sell will be perfect for them because I understand on a personal level that their RV shares a similar place in their heart as my Corvette does in mine.

    With insurance products (rather extended warranties or life insurance) it is harder for sales people to transfer their feelings from an unrelated category to insurance. So in my opinion every insurance salesman should own the products they are selling.

    You have to believe in what you sell and the easiest way to believe is to buy it yourself.

    Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

    So, how do you combat this natural tendency of selfishness on the part of your customer to break through sales resistance to complete the sale?
    You don't break it you use it. Sure some people are big on risk aversion and they buy based on that. But rather they are a risk buyer or a reward buyer you have to appeal to their personal "selfishness" as you call it.

    People buy for "selfish" reasons. The difference between rather they buy from you or someone else is how well you find and appeal to those selfish reasons.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      I don't know where I read this, but I did:

      Some guy selling life insurance's pitch had nothing to do about helping loved ones but about controlling their actions from beyond the grave. According to what I read, the change improved his closing rates by a lot.

      Maybe it was in one of Dan Kennedy's books?

      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      When selling item that is about risk it is natural that you cause your prospect to think about risk vs. reward. A fundamental problem with how most people sell insurance is they make it about risk. In some cases maybe that is all you have. But there are better ways to present it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        I don't know where I read this, but I did:

        Some guy selling life insurance's pitch had nothing to do about helping loved ones but about controlling their actions from beyond the grave. According to what I read, the change improved his closing rates by a lot.

        Maybe it was in one of Dan Kennedy's books?
        I've seen that style of pitch brought up before but not sure where.

        Most of the friends I have who do insurance sell it based on the financial side. And alternative to investments for people like me who hate stocks, 401ks and etc.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        I don't know where I read this, but I did:

        Some guy selling life insurance's pitch had nothing to do about helping loved ones but about controlling their actions from beyond the grave. According to what I read, the change improved his closing rates by a lot.
        I think that's huge. I also think that only applies to a certain personality type. I think business owners would be more like that.
        Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

        Most of the friends I have who do insurance sell it based on the financial side. And alternative to investments for people like me who hate stocks, 401ks and etc.
        Yeah, for me it was almost exclusively a financial sale. It was just not in me to tug at heart strings...not having a heart myself. :rolleyes:

        Originally Posted by misterme View Post

        I meant such as someone becomes a new father or some such circumstance which makes them a better prospect than not. Certainly they're not all letting you into their homes to talk to them about insurance simply because they want the free calendar promo.
        No. Believe it or not, there was almost never a perceived need for life insurance before I got there. They were nearly all referrals from existing clients. Some were employees of companies that I sold an "employee weekly deduction program".

        I package sold a combination "Life Insurance-Savings-Retirement-Disability". I would sell it in packages of $50 or $100 a month. If it was going to deducted from their paycheck, it would be bundled in $20 a week packages.

        I would concentrate on different aspects of the program, different benefits...but really, it was just Whole Life. (A standard life insurance policy)

        And don't forget, I can be extremely charming.:rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

    Your prospect would rather spend money on other frivolous things which please them in the here and now, rather than solve their own problems. Why? Chalk it up to selfish reasons. Who wants to think about pouring money into life insurance, investments, etc they won't benefit from (in their lifetime such as with life insurance or for many years as with retirement) when they could be putting that same money into a selfish thing like a better house/car/boat, etc.

    So, how do you combat this natural tendency of selfishness on the part of your customer to break through sales resistance to complete the sale?
    But there are people who buy the policy and not the boat. Why is that? It's not selfishness per se. It's about what they assign value to and prioritize.

    So isn't it about finding people at the time they have those priorities?

    Sales resistance on the other hand is another matter entirely. It's the defense against being sold to. When a sales person is trying to persuade someone to buy, that creates the object to resist. Instead, if the sales person has in front of them someone who wants what they have, and guides them to purchase that thing from them... there's less to no resistance.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by misterme View Post

      But there are people who buy the policy and not the boat. Why is that? It's not selfishness per se. It's about what they assign value to and prioritize.

      So isn't it about finding people at the time they have those priorities?
      .
      Misterme; I sold life insurance twice, in large amounts.

      Never was someone interested in more life insurance when I first got there. I asked questions to find what application for insurance would best fit what was important to them, at that moment. If they were thinking about retirement, that's what we talked about. If they had kids, that's usually what we talked about. Just bought a home? we usually talked about the mortgage.

      I would ask questions like;
      "What would you want to happen financially, when the first one of you passes on?'

      "What formula did you use to decide how much insurance to own?"

      They say "I have insurance at work"

      I say "I know. Everyone does. What are you planning on doing when you change jobs?"

      Buy Ben Feldman books. Immerse yourself in how to sell insurance. It's the only way..
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      • Profile picture of the author misterme
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Misterme; I sold life insurance twice, in large amounts.

        Never was someone interested in more life insurance when I first got there. I asked questions to find what application for insurance would best fit what was important to them, at that moment.
        I meant such as someone becomes a new father or some such circumstance which makes them a better prospect than not. Certainly they're not all letting you into their homes to talk to them about insurance simply because they want the free calendar promo.

        And the point of selling is to raise interest into desire so I'd imagine most people aren't more interested before than afterwards, because if they were... the home office might quickly pull you from the field
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    ^^^ thanks for clearing that up. I had a father-in-law who's entire career was with John Hancock and he worked referrals as well of course and I remember he'd work the need angle. What you did sounds way better.
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