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The High-Quality Prospect

Your prospect is interested if he asks questions or wants to meet you to discuss an idea.

By Mel Schlesinger, RHU, REBC

It is better to have fewer appointments with high-quality prospects than to have lots of appointments with low-quality prospects. But what constitutes a high-quality prospect?

Typically, a high-quality prospect has the following characteristics. Let’s examine these in detail.

He knows the exact idea you will discuss at the meeting.
The best appointments begin with a specific idea that delivers a benefit to the prospect. As an insurance agent, you may share an idea with a wealthy prospect that guarantees that the prospect’s assets can be transferred to his grandchildren at death while minimizing estate taxes. Some of you will wonder why I just don’t say: “I would like to talk with you about how a Generation Skipping Trust can help you transfer assets to your grandchildren while minimizing taxes.”

Whenever you mention a product or service, you eliminate the potential for a meaningful conversation. Ideas capture imagination and create a sense of urgency on the part of the prospect to want to know more. It is also important to know that asking a prospect for time to stop by and introduce yourself and your company is not an idea; it is a request to visit.

He has an interest in that idea. Isn’t this self-evident? If the prospect has agreed to an appointment based on an idea, then he obviously has an interest. That is not necessarily the case if you had to overcome an objection to get the appointment. If the prospect says that he is not interested or asks you to send some information in the mail, then he is a low-quality prospect and is not worthy of an appointment. Your prospect is interested if he asks questions or wants to meet with you to discuss an idea. One of my newer clients feared that when he quit overcoming objections for appointments, he would have no one to see. What he discovered was that while he had fewer appointments, he sold more insurance.

He is open to change. A retirement-planning appointment in September with a prospect who says that he is willing to meet but only makes changes to his plan in March after he gets a first look at his taxes means that prospect is a low-quality prospect. This individual has already created his escape from the sale. The chance of closing this sale is about the same as the chance your child has of catching the tooth fairy. Since our goal is an objection-free sale, why would you want to begin with a prospect who has already stated the objection?

He can make the decision to implement change. Group health agents are notorious for asking for the “person who handles insurance.” Unfortunately, they don’t get the decision-maker. In fact, they don’t even get a person who has strong influence. Before beginning your marketing program, you must identify the person who has decision-making powers. If you are selling in the family market, it is imperative that both spouses be present for the presentation. If you are in the business market, it is impossible to close a buy-sell insurance sale without all partners or owners present.

Plan for success

Follow these steps to fill your calendar with the names of high-quality prospects:

Step #1: Create a list of all your products and services and write down each benefit for your prospects. The easiest way to do this is to ask: What does this do for the prospect? Here is an example:

Product: Long-term-care insurance. What does it do for the client? It allows the prospect to get high-quality, long-term care without depleting his spouse’s assets.

Step #2: Create a marketing idea. In this case, it’s a strategy that guarantees that if your client needs nursing home or home care for a chronic problem, he will not deplete your spouse’s assets.

Step #3: Identify two to three marketing approaches. These may include direct mail and telemarketing.

Step #4: Do not try to overcome objections to appointments. It is critical to understand that a prospect who readily agrees to an appointment has a very high probability of being converted into a client.

Of course, all of this assumes that you are engaged in an ongoing, consistent marketing program. If you are only making calls one hour per week or sending out 10 direct mail letters each month, it will be impossible to have enough appointments to succeed.

Mel Schlesinger, RHU, REBC, has more than 25 years of commission-only insurance sales experience. He began by selling life insurance at the kitchen table and today has a thriving business marketing voluntary employee benefits. In 2000, Schlesinger graduated from Coach U and today coaches insurance agents in the objection-free sales system. Contact him at 336-774-3075.

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