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Clinch the Sale: Take the High Road

Salespeople who close the big deals know the value of their time. They also know how to project that value in what they are selling and use it to clinch the sale.

By Rick Grosso

Bill Parcells, former coach of the New York Jets, once said, “Anything worth doing has a price.” A perfect example of this is the way we earn a living. When we work for someone, we are literally selling a portion of our time—in fact, our life—to that person or company in order to earn a living. So what’s your life worth?

Salespeople who close the big deals know the value of their time. They also know how to project that value in what they are selling and use it to clinch the sale. Here are some tips to help you do the same:

1. Avoid the path of least resistance.
When it comes to sales, all of us would rather take the easy path. If a customer raises an objection regarding price, our first instinct might be to scale back our recommendation and suggest a lower-priced policy. It’s the easy thing to do. But a true sales professional knows how to avoid this. He immediately turns the customer’s concern about money into a discussion about value. He understands that a customer’s concern over price is a sign of his willingness to buy. The customer wants to buy but he needs to be convinced. He needs to feel good about the decision he is about to make. It’s a critical moment. It’s up to the agent to capitalize on it.

2. Sell the benefits.
To sell the value of what you are offering, it’s important to remember that people tend to buy because of expectations created for them by the sales agent. In other words, people buy what they are sold. So sell to them!

A customer’s expectations can be your strongest ally in a selling process. People buy because of what your policy does, not because of what your policy is. As an example, the policy you are offering may provide peace of mind and protection for the insured’s family, build cash value, and help pave the way for sound retirement planning. So you’re not selling an insurance policy; you’re selling the benefits of an insurance policy. If a customer raises an issue regarding the premium, a good sales agent will talk about the company’s exceptional stability. He will talk about the long-term benefits of the policy, the company’s solid record for handling claims, or the importance of long-term financial planning. Remember, never sell insurance on price. Sell the benefits—they are the true value of what you are offering.

3. Build a relationship.
Customers want to feel comfortable with their decision to buy. A significant part of that comfort depends on how they feel about the sales agent who is guiding them through the decision process. If you do your best to build confidence and trust with your prospects, they’re more likely to buy from you at the premium you require.

This is particularly true today because of increased pressures on our time. Many customers don’t have the time to get three or four competitive bids. The decision could come down to just two companies. If your policies and service are good, and you do your best to build the confidence and trust the customer expects from a sales agent, the chances are good that you’ll close the sale.

4. Overcome the competition.
One of the biggest obstacles to maintaining your price can be your competition. How can you compete against a company that offers a lower-priced product? In the customer’s mind, you both offer insurance, but what you’re offering is more expensive. You can overcome this obstacle by the way you differentiate yourself. Compared to your competition, you may offer better claims service or more flexible payment plans. Your company may have a higher financial rating, a longer history or a better reputation. To further separate yourself from the competition, don’t simply tell prospects what’s different or unique; try to illustrate it to them through examples. Show them that over time, their investment in quality will give them greater satisfaction, more peace of mind and more value for their premium dollar. After all, when you’re presenting to a prospect, it’s all about W.I.I.F.M. (“What’s In It For Me?”). Keep in mind that your customers don’t want the cheapest policy; they want the best policy for the money.

5. Don’t quit before the sale.
According to Brian Tracy, a leading authority on personal and business success, 80 percent of all sales are closed on the fifth closing attempt or later. Yet research shows that only 10 percent of all salespeople make that many closing attempts. Even worse, in 48 percent of all sales calls, no closing attempt is made at all.

Remember that the goal of a sales call is to make a sale. Don’t give up before you have your customer’s signature on the application. Keep trying to close the policy you’re recommending. As author and publisher William Feather once said, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” So hold your ground. Don’t take the easy path and lower your recommendation. Sell the value of what you’re offering.

A valuable tip
The next time you’re making a presentation and the customer asks for a lower premium after you’ve already presented an alternative, tell him you will give him a lower premium. Then calmly retrieve your proposal, cross out the lower premium and write the premium for the higher-priced policy you originally offered. When the customer complains, respond by saying: “That is a good premium. The other was a great premium. Which would you prefer?”

Remember that an objection to a price is usually a buying sign. Don’t feel that you have to back down or present a lower-priced alternative. The more you fight to get your premium, the more the customer will believe in the value of what you are selling.

Rick Grosso is a sales trainer and speaker. He can be reached at P.O. Box 1527, West Dover, VT 05356, 802-464-6177, or at


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