As an insurance agent, you are constantly working to generate leads to increase your sales. For many, this means taking time each week for cold calling. While the idea of spending an afternoon following insurance cold call scripts is not usually anyone’s idea of a good day, the truth is cold calling, when done correctly, can help you build a network of potential customers and greatly increase your sales numbers.
Here we take a closer look at cold insurance calling and how it can benefit your business.
What is cold calling in insurance?
Cold calling in the insurance industry is a sales technique that involves calling a potential customer with the intent of gauging their interest in insurance plans. These callers are not expecting a call and have not shown previous interest in what you offer. Because of this, it is important to learn how to spark their interest and keep them on the phone long enough to really listen to your sales pitch.
Benefits of cold calling
While cold calling often seems daunting and overwhelming for many insurance agents, it is one of the cheapest and most interactive ways to contact and sell. Performing cold calls regularly provides an array of benefits, including:
- Adds a personal touch to lead generation
- Promotes brand awareness of both your name and the name of your agency
- Saves time by quickly determining who is qualified, often allowing you to write policies the same day
- Reduces the costs of hiring a telemarketing firm
- Builds a relationship with those you call, something that is often more difficult when prospects are first contacted by a telemarketing company instead
- Helps create interest in the policies you offer
- Helps build sales skills
- Generates a larger pipeline of warm leads
Is cold calling still an effective strategy?
Unfortunately, you will find many agents who are still hesitant to spend the day cold calling despite the benefits listed above. While the age of cold calling may slowly be dying, the benefits you can attain when cold calling is done correctly are worth the effort. In addition, even if you don’t get a sale on that initial call, turning cold leads into warm leads is an effective marketing strategy.
So, why is it that so many agents dislike cold calling and look for other lead generation solutions? Let’s take a closer look.
1. Constant rejection
The main reason agents reject the idea of cold calling in insurance is the high rate of rejection. In fact, the statistics show that cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time, and less than 2% of cold calls eventually lead to an appointment. Many agents face hang-ups, rude responses, and more regularly. It is these statistics that often turn people away from the idea of cold insurance calling.
2. Consumer behavior is different
Years ago, the only way potential clients could learn about your policies was through a phone call from you pitching your products. Now, however, they simply open up their smartphone and find all the information they need. They don’t need to listen to an explanation that may include information they are not looking for and can simply find what they need on their own. This, unfortunately, contributes to many rejections when it comes to cold calling.
3. Selling vs. prospecting
Many become frustrated when cold calling does not convert to sales immediately, feeling as though they are wasting their time. However, cold call selling is only one technique and is often unsuccessful. On the other hand, cold call prospecting is a discovery-type call that allows you to qualify a potential client that you can follow up with later. It is often more successful when you focus on prospecting and, should a sale happen, that’s a bonus.
4. Navigating legislative restriction
Unfortunately, many agents turn away from cold calling now due to legislative restrictions. Telephone Consumer’s Protection Act of 1991 spawned the 2003 federal Do Not Call (DNC) Implementation Act, no requiring agents to register from a SAN identification number and making it illegal to call people on the DNC list as of 2015, had over 220 million active registrations. This limits the available people you can call, when you can make calls, and much more.
Tips on improving insurance cold calling
Despite the negative views on insurance cold calling, it can still prove a very beneficial tool in your marketing strategy with the right guidance. The following tips can help improve your insurance cold calling results.
Do your research
Just because you are calling someone new doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for the call. Researching prospective customers before a call can arm you with information that helps you engage in conversation. For example, check out a potential customer’s social media profile or company website. Not only will this give you insight into the customer, but it will also help determine what insurance policies they may need.
Always remain positive
Making cols calls can be frustrating, and it is very easy to become negative. However, staying positive and excited about your policies and the services you offer is often enough to help the customer stay on the phone and listen to what you have to say.
Choose the best time for calls
Timing is an essential element to cold calling and must be considered. If you are selling business policies, you must consider business hours and the best times to call. If you are contacting individuals, you must consider their work schedules. For example, calling too early in the morning is often frowned upon, but too late in the morning and they are likely at work. Avoid personal calls during dinner times, but not too late in the evening. Evaluate your cold calling history, find which times of day are most successful, and stick to that when possible.
Believe in what you are selling
If you believe in your products, you are more likely to sell them. This sounds easy enough but sounding confident in your policies and helping people see the benefits of what you are selling is more likely to help instill trust and build a relationship. While this may not result in an immediate sale, it will likely open them up to future conversations.
Increase your call volume
When you see the statistics above, you understand that in order to actively make sales or find potential prospects through cold calling, you need to increase your volume of calls. To do this, it is beneficial to understand when a caller is simply not interested and move on to your next potential customer.
Give your customers/prospects time to talk
When someone you call begins to ask questions, give them time to talk and engage with them. This helps to build a relationship and establish trust. While you may follow a script for selling, keep in mind that when someone has questions, they are more likely to consider actually purchasing a policy when you take the time to answer their questions.
Prepare your scripts
Entering a cold call with a script in mind will help make it easier for you and the person you call. There are a few main parts to a cold call, and here we will take a look at each of those components.
- The introduction – Here is where you introduce yourself, the purpose of your call, and ask for permission to continue. Asking for permission helps to gauge potential interest. You also want to seem more inviting and distinguish yourself from other telemarketers. An example would be “Hello Mrs. X. My name is X, and I am calling to talk to you about insurance. Would you mind if I take 30 seconds of your time to explain what I offer, and we can go from there?” This introduces you and your services and gives them an option to opt-out, helping you to gauge their interest.
- Ask probing questions – Here is the opportunity to really gauge interest. Asking questions such as what carrier they have now, are they happy with their current coverage, would they be interested in lower premiums, etc. can help gauge interest and see if they will qualify for what you have to offer.
- Offer your services – If the caller shows interest, put forward your pitch and take action to set up an appointment to go over how you can help them. End the call with a scheduled appointment and move on to your next call.
Rehearse your phone calls
If cold calling makes you uncomfortable, consider practicing your calls and scripts with friends and family until you are comfortable enough to make your first real call. Friends and family can provide feedback and help increase your confidence.
How can CRM help with cold calling?
The right CRM software can be beneficial when it comes to your cold-calling strategies. A CRM with an intelligent cold-calling solution can help boost your sales efforts in a variety of different ways, including:
- Make calls to targeted leads – With a CRM populated with targeted leads, you can call targeted potentials directly from the CRM contact details. This also allows you to make notes during the call.
- Playback for improvement – A call record function through your CRM offers insight into your calls, allowing you to adjust your sales script as needed.
- Track your productivity – A good CRM allows you to track your cold calls, return calls from that contact, and sales conversion rates based on your calls.
- Offers training options – When you have a bank of successful calls, you have a resource for new agents looking to learn how to make their first cold call.