If your sales reps are failing at closing deals for life insurance or whichever service/product your company provides, the failure to close is not the problem. Rather, it is a symptom of a problem. The problem is most likely that sales reps are neglecting important activities in the earlier stages of the sales process. It is important to find and address the broken links in the system to prevent continuous struggle for your sales reps.
Finding the real problem
It is typical that sales reps do not make enough time to prepare for meetings. Preparing for meetings means planning agendas, conducting enough research, even checking the client’s’ LinkedIn or public profiles to find common interests or similarities to properly tailor the pitch.
Other common potential problems include:
- The initial prospects were unqualified and/or uninformed about the purpose of the meeting or why they should be interested in your service/product.
- The salesperson did not pique the interest of the client.
- The salesperson left without planning the next step: either scheduling another call or getting an agreement.
- The follow-up consisted of a series of emails that promoted products and did not address the client’s unique concerns or needs. (The follow-up had no call to action or a call to action that did not match the desire of the client).
- The sales rep had no idea why his emails received silence.
Start at the source
If your team is having trouble closing, analyze the sales process from the beginning. Examine the entire process for missing links. The following are a good set of questions to ask:
- How are sales reps getting leads?
- How are these leads qualified?
- Are salespeople asking the right questions to identify prospects’ problems/needs and composing thoughtful solutions?
- Do sales reps demonstrate product features or do they talk ROI?
- What is the plan for the follow up?
Rather than training your sales team on closing techniques, it is more worth your time and money to supply a healthy, working sales process.
The ROI of referrals
It is more often than not that the problem exists in the method. Hot leads should be the only leads in the pipeline. These leads usually come from referrals or trusted allies. Prospecting through referrals has the following benefits:
- You bypass the gatekeeper and score meetings with decision-makers.
- Your prospects are pre-sold on your ability to deliver.
- You’ve already earned trust and credibility with your prospects.
- You convert prospects into clients at least 50% of the time, usually more.
- You land clients who become ideal referral sources for new business.
- You score more new clients from fewer leads.
- You get the inside track on your prospects instead of allowing them to be picked up by competition.
Ditch the canned pitch
If you are finding your sales team in front of the right prospects after finding qualified leads and they still can’t close the deal, they are most likely not engaging in insightful discussion or asking the right questions. Thoughtful and provocative questioning has a huge impact on close rates and sales revenues. By probing leads with provocative and insightful questions, not only do they engage prospective clients and increase the likeliness that they will become clients, but it also provides more information about client needs and thus ways to improve the services offered.