Ethics Center: Sales & Marketing

Don’t Let Your Sales Die Online: Nine Essential Strategies

Have you ever got a positive response to your proposed solution (and the company that offers it) only to have your prospect insist on checking out your recommendation on the Internet? What do you do?

If you think that sighing in frustration is your only choice, think again. The better solution: anticipate early on that prospects will go online, and  neutralize their “findings” in advance.

The keyis to avoid getting into arguments with them or pressuring them to decide now before Internet complaints cloud their judgment. Instead, establish your expertise so that your authority trumps comments from anonymous Internet posters. Here are nine ways to do just that:

  1. Get better at seeking out prospects who fit your desired customer profile. By focusing your efforts on the types of people with whom you work best , you will greatly minimize the chance of them getting distracted by comments from disgruntled Internet posters.

  2. Become more transparent. When you go beyond the standard disclosures and really let your hair down about who you are, what you bring to the table, and why you’re trustworthy, you’ll vastly enhance your ability to debunk erroneous online information.

  3. Work harder at establishing your authority. If you do a lot of writing, then share a compilation of your articles. If you collect client testimonials (assuming your license allows for this), then add to your current assortment and upgrade the format in which you share them with prospects. If you publish a blog, share its URL. The goal? To make sure the prospect understands you know your stuff and have done a great job for clients in the past.

  4. Invest more time in fact-finding. Try harder to really understand the prospect’s situation, personality, and main presenting need and then secure agreement to solve that need. Avoid rushing to close a sale after one meeting.

  5. Work on your due diligence skills. In other words, do your research so you never recommend a company or product with lurking skeletons.

  6. Fully justify your recommendation. Explain why you think the recommended product is suitable for their needs and why the insurer or investment company is an appropriate provider.

  7. Neutralize the Internet objection. At the end of the meeting, say something like: “If you’re like most people, I know you’ll want to check out what I’ve recommended on the Internet. That’s fine, but what I’d say is this: large financial institutions have millions of customers. Take Costco. Having a handful of complaints online doesn’t represent the quality it delivers to the vast majority of its customers. It only suggests that people with complaints about Costco are more highly motivated to take their issues online than those who are happy. Does that make sense?”

  8. Play up your personal knowledge of an insurance company. Tell people about the three ways to evaluate an insurer: through financial ratings, through their dealings with their agents, and from how they treat an agent’s clients. In this case, assure the person that, from your perspective, all three “data points” are excellent.

  9. Commend prospects for doing their due diligence. Don’t pooh-pooh them for wanting to validate your recommendation on the Internet. Instead, praise them for being an informed customer. But always set the stage for the next meeting so you can discuss their “findings”—and get the case on the books!

For more information on affordable errors and omissions insurance for low-risk insurance agents, investment advisors, and real estate broker/owners, please visit EOforLess.com. For information on ethical sales practices, please visit the National Ethics Association’s Ethics Center.