We look forward to the Van Mueller newsletter every month. It's chock-full of sound bites, sales tips, and eye-opening statistics. Here are our favorite parts of the October 2023 edition. We're sharing the full introduction, and 2 of the 7 monthly sales ideas. If you like what you read, we encourage you to click here and become a subscriber.
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October 2023 – 7 Ideas and Views Newsletter by Van Mueller
I am concerned that there are some marketing and sales issues that are being either misrepresented or misunderstood by agents and financial professionals who are desperately working to increase their appointments and also their success in those appointments.
These insurance and financial professionals are wasting time and energy and mostly money on marketing ideas that have no chance of working in today’s society. The number one concern of agents and financial professionals is achieving enough appointments to have a successful career. Ninety-five to ninety eight percent of agents are failing at this endeavor.
This month and the next three months including November, December and January will be about helping you to increase your appointments and how to have more successful outcomes in those increased appointments.
I am going to provide scripts and ideas to help you increase your appointments and additional scripts to have more success in those increased appointments.
Don’t you wonder why you are not taught to be better salespeople? Is it intentional or unintentional? I believe it is unintentional and I believe that makes the situation even more detrimental. Companies gather us together, either in person or on some kind of social media to promote their products to us. Those presentations are fine. What the companies don’t explain is that the way they present to us is not how we should present to prospects and clients. It should not be about product when we have conversations with prospects and clients. Shouldn’t it be about strategies and solutions to challenges customers know and understand and unknown challenges that are discovered by the customer when they have an awesome conversation with all of us? When we sell a product, we have lots of competition. The competition comes from similar products that are less expensive or have a higher interest rate or a better cash value. Strategies and solutions arrived at by the customer (themselves) have no competition. What do you believe would be the more successful methodology? Why do most of us continue to use the methodology that doesn’t work? That has an easy answer. The vast majority of agents receive no sales training.
Once you make the decision to learn some sales skills the positive results arrive fast and furious. Let’s discuss this further.
Haven’t you heard over and over again from sales trainers and marketing gurus; that to get more appointments and new clients that you have to give free information to provide value that consumers will want and then give you an appointment? What if I shared with you that free information is now considered coercion? Yet, most insurance and financial professionals continue to believe that the secret to getting more appointments is to provide lots of free information.
What if I shared with you that free information is now considered coercion?
The process of sharing free information worked a long time ago. Before Google and Bing and Chat GPT and the internet, information was not readily available and providing that information helped to build trust with our prospects and clients.
Now you can check and verify information on your phone in seconds and when free information is used haphazardly in a sales presentation it will easily be perceived as an attempt at coercion for the sole purpose of you selling them something. You are no longer perceived as an advocate or advisor. You are perceived as a salesperson. Sharing free information lengthens the sales cycle. Remember, our customers have very short attention spans. Too much information causes reactions like, “I want to think about it.” Or “I don’t feel I need anything right now.” Providing free information in the beginning prevents many of our customers from buying.
I really want you to understand what I am sharing with you.
How do you make yourself stand out in the crowd when you are doing what everyone else is doing? IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. That is why there are so many mediocre agents. Agents and financial professionals wrongly believe they are being measured by their competence. Isn’t that why they provide an enormous amount of free information? Isn’t that what every other insurance and financial professional is attempting to do? What if that is the wrong assumption in order to achieve success? What if they are making a much more important decision? How much can they trust you. Providing information doesn’t build trust. They can get information anywhere. Don’t you build trust by providing one hundred percent clarity on THEIR issues. Aren’t these, many times the issues that they can’t articulate on their own?
If all you provide is information doesn’t that require our customer to process the information you are giving them? Doesn’t it make it difficult for them to arrive at the important challenges and opportunities they want to have strategies for? Shouldn’t we always remember that our customer’s ultimate decision to buy is not driven by processing your expertise and knowledge? Isn’t the ultimate decision based on whether or not they trust you? Educating them with free information will never build trust because it doesn’t set you apart from the competition.
Educating customers with free information will never build trust because it doesn’t set you apart from the competition.
Isn’t the ultimate way to build trust based on conversations that we advance and move forward by asking wonderful, interesting and powerful questions about issues that our customers know about or don’t know about. That is our claim to fame as professionals. We ask questions when most other financial professionals only answer questions.
What if our customer doesn’t know what questions to ask? Could they be harmed if they don’t ask the right questions? Could they miss wonderful opportunities if they don’t ask the right questions? Do you think it will build trust if you help them ask the right questions? Won’t they lean on you for ideas and strategies?
It is easier than you think. It is 100 percent about asking questions of our prospects and clients that no one else has ever asked them. It is an exciting opportunity to dramatically increase your success with just a few small, but vitally important changes. Shouldn’t we only ask questions?
Let’s think about this in a different context. We don’t have a sales problem. Don’t we have an appointment problem? A majority of us never have enough appointments to find the success we dearly want to have.
I have literally thousands of appointments per year so that I can sell hundreds of applications. What if you could make prospecting automatic? Wouldn’t that allow you to optimize and increase your appointments and thereby maximize your sales?
What if you could make prospecting automatic? Wouldn’t that allow you to optimize and increase your appointments and thereby maximize your sales?
This is very important. I keep every prospect in play. Forever. I never discard prospects who say they don’t want to buy, presently. Isn’t it true that successful prospecting is a matter of good timing. Many times, we must keep calling until the timing is right for the prospect to meet with us.
Can you imagine how badly we misunderstand and then misuse the traditional 10-3-1 formula that most agents build their careers around? Don’t most agents discard those 7 prospects they didn’t get an appointment with? Then, don’t they discard the two out of three prospects they got appointments with, yet didn’t make a sale? Here’s what I do that is different. I don’t discard those nine prospects. I recall them when circumstances change. When you are losing 9 out of 10 prospects, don’t you see prospecting as painful and difficult? If we keep working the nine that we didn’t make a sale with originally, prospecting not only feels easier, but we get the full benefit from our prospecting efforts.
When I don’t make a sale, I don’t go away quietly. I depart in this manner, “It was my great pleasure meeting with you and I thank you for your time. Before I leave may I ask you for two promises and then I will get on my way. First, if the events that we discussed get really bad and you don’t get the help you expected or you are not big enough potatoes for your current advisor to get to you right away or maybe you don’t even have another advisor, will you promise to remember that I can stop the bleeding immediately. Promise you will remember that. Even more important than that, will you promise that you will remember that I can still put you in position to take advantage of whatever bad thing is happening. Please promise. Again, it was so wonderful to meet with you. Thank you." I never burn a bridge. Please remember, professionals never get offended. Never give up on a prospect. Times and events change. People change. Don’t we want to be available to our prospects when the timing is right so they will think of us?
Never give up on a prospect. Times and events change. People change.
Another skill I have been taught is to set up the next sale after I have made the first sale. Think about this: Don’t they already like me enough that they hired me already? Why can’t I lay the groundwork for another sale when I deliver the policy? Here’s an example: I recently rolled over an $800,000 401k to a rollover IRA. The couple was very pleased. I then asked how much of that IRA did they want to go to their two children and why had they decided to make the Internal Revenue Service the primary beneficiary of those funds? They replied that they had not done that. I asked if they knew that the government and the Internal Revenue Service had a first mortgage on that money and that number could be 40 or even 50 percent of their IRA? I asked if they wanted to leave it like that. They didn’t. They even asked if we could get started right away to remedy the situation. That is only one example. There are many other examples if you think about it.
Another important thing that I do with every policy I deliver is I actually help my customers to identify all the times they should contact me. I provide them this form that signals all the life, business and family events that I can help them to optimize their outcomes. I READ my “You Should Call Me If” form out loud at every policy delivery so my customer can understand the importance of getting in touch with me if: they go into debt of any kind, change jobs, retire, or consider retiring, receive an inheritance, win a lottery, interest rates go up or down substantially, the stock market goes up or down substantially, and many more. I receive calls everyday from interested customers because the form identifies all the ways I can be of service.
I never offer to help prospects or clients. I ask questions in such a way that the prospect or client will ask “What would you recommend, or how would you handle this situation or how do I prevent this challenge from harming me?” By being patient, in a very short amount of time the customer transforms me from a salesperson to their advocate, advisor or counselor because they asked me for my advice. Agents ask me all the time how I can run so many appointments. The answer is actually quite simple. I am NEVER AN ADVERSARY. I only offer advice when the customer asks me and that happens in five or ten minutes when you ask powerful and interesting questions. Learning to do this shortens the sales cycle tremendously.
Agents ask me all the time how I can run so many appointments. The answer is actually quite simple. I am NEVER AN ADVERSARY.
I also call all my existing clients when events happen. I stumble across many sales that I wouldn’t have made had I not done this. When events happen and they are occurring much more frequently, I actually call existing customers and ask if they are okay. Then I ask, “Do you have any questions about what is happening, and do you need anything?” Then I thank them for their business and their loyalty, and I explain that I would like to be as loyal to them as they have been to me. May I stop by, or can you come into the office so I can ask you some questions that will help you clarify whether you should be concerned about what is happening? Finally, I say, this is something I haven’t done well enough in the past. What if there was a way to actually take advantage of what is happening? I say the last part because our customers attention span is very short, and I want to get their attention again. What better way is there than sharing that you need to do a better job of helping them take advantage of events in our economy. I then explain it is the only way we know how to say thank you, would it be okay to stop by tomorrow? I can do this with every person I have in my book of business. By the way, this will lead to more referrals because your customer will perceive this as another service that you offer.
Finally, most insurance and financial professionals walk past great prospects every day because they are not paying attention and/or they are not prepared for those possible prospects with great questions that inspire interest. I have always prospected where I am and wherever I go. When I get my car repaired or take in my dry cleaning or am sitting next to someone at a sporting event, or I am flying somewhere. If you are sitting next to me, you are toast. I drip on you with questions and ask for your opinions. I have around 20 flight attendants who I have made into customers over the years. I go to the front or back of the plane and talk with them. Our prospects are everywhere if you know how to begin a conversation with them.
Please develop some interesting questions to start conversations with anyone, anywhere or at any time and you will open up a whole new world of appointments and business.
Idea #2: More Concepts You Can use to Create Appointments
Here is an article with 15 common sense issues that can be used to create questions that will get you appointments.
There are two quotes from this article. The first is a quote from Voltaire; “Common sense is not common.” Don’t you see, won’t asking common sense questions help get appointments because most customers don’t apply common sense to financial matters. They use emotion.
The second quote from George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
This article provides 15 issues that if they are not remembered are doomed to be repeated. Again, use of this article will lead to more appointments.
Title: 15 Common Sense Concepts To Discuss With Clients
https://www.fa-mag.com/(Financial Advisor, September 11, 2023)
Idea #5: What Is a Life Insurance Retirement Plan?
This is a strategy that David McKnight uses to promote his “Power of Zero” methodology. David explains that a life insurance retirement plan is an integral part of building a “Power of Zero” strategy.
Surprisingly, the article is quite thorough. It explains the difference between policy loans and withdrawals. It explains the taxation or non-taxation of a LIRP. The article even makes comparisons between LIRPs and 401(k)s and LIRPs and IRAs. Again, this article will help you to build your arsenal of solutions for prospects and clients. Use this information.
Title: Life Insurance Retirement Plan (LIRP)
https://www.forbes.com/ (Forbes, August 29, 2023)
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