Image representing Ford Motor as depicted in C...

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This builds on what I said yesterday about Features and Benefits.  Shoddy salesmanship really grates on my nerves.  As insurance sales agents we are responsible not only to sell policies to our clients but to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” WIIFM.    

Today is Sunday and the Texans lost another close game on a fluke play with no time left on the clock.  It was set up by another fumble.  (I had really hoped they had learned how to hang onto the ball this year.  I guess my hopes were misplaced.)  The only reason why I still have hair on my head is that my son’s Alma Mater, Texas A&M, won yesterday.

Anyway, as you can probably guess, I am not in a very good mood to start with.  Unfortunately, I had to watch the Mike Rowe, Ford commercials several times if I wanted to watch the Texans lose.  I guess I could have just as easily recorded the game with my DVR and skipped over the commercials but that would mean expending the energy to pick up the remote every time there was a time-out on the field.  Sunday football is the time I allow myself to be lazy and I take full advantage of those 3 hours.

I have a great deal of personal respect for Mike Rowe.  He took a risk on a quirky idea for a TV show and it became a hit.  I love Dirty Jobs, but my wife merely tolerates it when I have the remote.  With a background in TV sales, I know he only repeats on air what the marketers and writers for Ford tell him to say.  However, as a trainer, I would use those Ford commercials to demonstrate exactly what you, as an insurance agent should not do.

With only 36 seconds to influence someone they spend the majority of the time talking about the features of the Ford and only a couple of seconds answering the question the prospect is asking, “What’s in it for me?”

They assume that people will make the logical leap that their anti-lock brakes will help prevent injuries in the event of adverse driving conditions or their towing capacity will mean that a farmer will be able to load a trailer with more stuff and eliminate multiple trips to the field, allowing them to spend more time with their family.

Those spots work in spite of their writing.  They work because of the credibility of Mike Rowe combined with Ford.  You can view one of his commercials here.

A better example of the proper way, in my opinion, to sell to prospects is with the AFLAC commercials.  Although I may have some personal issues with their representation in my area of the state, I am totally impressed with their marketing program.

Notice that in their commercial, found here, they never mention Short Term Illness, Accident or Disabilty insurance.  In a humorous way they make their message clear to prospects.  Aflac is not in the business of selling policies.  They are in the business of giving people cash to spend as they see fit.

Unless you, as an insurance agent, have credibility as strong as Mike Rowe’s, or a voice as unique as the AFLAC ducks, I beg you; do not attempt to mirror these sales techniques.

These commercials were made by huge national companies with marketing budgets that surpass the commissions even the best insurance agent could dream of.

Your sales “pitch” should not mimic either Ford or Aflace but you can learn from them.  Spend less time talking about you or your policy.  Spend more time helping your prospects make the logical jump from your policies features to how they would benefit from them.  

Remember, your job, as an insurance sales person, is to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”  A list of features, no matter how good they are, will not do that.  You are going to have to tell people how to use those features.

Practice makes perfect.  If you have nothing else to do, take one of your policies out and read it.  Make some flash cards.  On one side list a feature, on the other side list 2-3 ways it answers “What’s in it for me?” from a clients point of view.  Next, learn those flash cards by heart.

It may sound stupid but it will mean more sales and more commission dollars in your pocket.  (See how easy that is.  That one sentence explains “What’s in it for you?” so clearly that I beg you not to trip in your rush to go buy some black 3×5 cards to use for flash cards.


About The Insurance Barn

Husband of 1, father of 2, health insurance agent and insurance trainer.
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