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Editorials by the Skipper

The Absence of Salesmanship is the Art of Salesmanship

My career in life insurance sales has undertaken different stages of growth that are independent and distinct from one another. It is a path I’ve seen other life producers take, who have been in the industry a long time, leading them to success. As we all are looking to succeed, taking a closer look at the path others have taken is worth discussing.

The stages:

  1. The Performer as the art of salesmanship
  2. The Disguised salesperson as the art of salesmanship
  3. The Absentee salesperson as the art of salesmanship

To see where you are in the path, here are some attributes of each stage:

The Performer as the art of salesmanship – this stage is all about showmanship. You are on stage as soon as you hit the porch and knock on the door. This is about delivering a well thought-out and polished presentation.

You dazzle people with your knowledge of the industry, carriers, and products; but you don’t always close the deal. The positive side – you can articulate your knowledge through an exceptionally skilled presentation. You may even receive some at-a-at boys/girls for your presentation.

The negative side – This is pretty much a one-sided approach that doesn’t consider what may be specifically happening with your client. If their posture doesn’t light up during your presentation you’ve probably lost the sale.

The Disguised salesperson as the art of salesmanship – This is a stage we should all recognize. This is where you add some props and interactive leading questions to your presentations. We first talk about the free prescription card, free will, or family information guide.

We then move on to some leading questions that elicit the coveted “yes” answer. The more yes’s we get the better. The positive side – we are getting some interaction with the prospect as well as some feedback.

The negative side – Using leading questions that get a “yes” answer is like playing with a stacked deck. They usually reveal what you think they need be that covering a mortgage or planning for final expenses not what the prospect knows they need.

The Absentee salesperson as the art of salesmanship – the absentee salesperson demonstrates a laid-back attitude, is knowledgeable and well prepared. They disregard every technique and just listens and reacts in real time to what their prospect is saying.

It’s about allowing the conversation to develop and flow into how you can help. The positive side – honesty is the best policy. The truth is easy to tell and remember.

The negative side – it can sometimes take a lifetime in sales to be this confident; to be able to articulate effectively by saying almost nothing. Realize getting to this stage won’t happen overnight but, knowing the aspects of this stage and learning your product while remembering why we first chose life insurance sales as a career will get you there sooner rather than later.

Think about your own growth along the path of salesmanship. Reflect on every house you visit and pick out one part or habit you know can use some improvement about prospect communication. Work on that until it’s much better. Then move on to another part and repeat. And so the adventure and journey to success begins.

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