Cold calling is a challenge. Even if you have thousands of calls under your belt, it doesn’t change the fact that you’ll strike out a majority of times. Cold calls have a success rate of roughly two percent in converting cold leads into warm prospects. And even then, you only have a warm prospect. You’ve yet to make a sale.
So, this leads to an important question: Why do insurance agents spend so much time cold calling prospects?
While there are other ways to connect with prospects, you can’t overlook the many benefits of cold calling. These include:
- Quickly reach new potential customers
- Make a human connection
- Learn more about your target audience
- Affordable when compared to other sales, marketing, and advertising techniques
Now, what do you think? Are you ready to put more time, money, and energy into cold calling? If so, a defined, well-thought-out strategy can be the difference between success and failure. With this in mind, let’s examine five of the most common cold calling mistakes insurance agents make.
1. Using the wrong prospect list
The wrong prospect list will kill your chance of success before you get started. And when that happens, you’re left with nothing but lost time and frustration.
Don’t dig up an old prospect list that you haven’t reviewed in a year or two. Don’t buy a cheap list online and expect high-quality results. If you take this approach, you’re likely to spend more time dialing wrong numbers than connecting with prospects.
The best solution is to purchase qualified insurance leads. Doing so doesn’t guarantee your success, but at least you know you’re calling prospects with an interest in what you’re selling.
2. Refusing to use a sales script
The more time you spend cold calling the more comfortable you’ll be in every situation. You’ll know what to do when someone shows (or doesn’t show) interest. You’ll know what to do when a prospect pushes back. Experience is important to your future success, but don’t throw all your cold calling scripts in the trash.
Just because you have a sales script in front of you doesn’t mean you’ll always read it word for word. Instead, it’s there for guidance. It’s there to keep you on track regardless of the prospect’s response.
Here’s an example:
Hello, [first_name]. My name is [your_name] from [company_name]. I’ve recently begun servicing your area and wanted to ask you a couple of questions. It’ll only take a minute. Is now a good time to chat?
At first, you may be most comfortable reading your script from start to finish. However, as you gain a better feel for your audience, you can tweak it accordingly.
Note: We recently published a blog post sharing 15 effective insurance sales script samples that you can customize to suit your business.
3. Forgetting to listen
As a salesperson, you’re programmed to talk. It’s natural for you to want to take control of the conversation. And while there’s a time and place for that, it’s every bit as important to develop your listening skills.
That’s not good enough to reach your sales goals as an insurance agent. Here are some tips that can put you on the right track:
- Don’t interrupt when your prospect is speaking
- Listen without judging
- Listen to what your prospect says before planning your response
- Remain focused on the conversation
- Ask questions to clarify anything you don’t understand
You’ll never reach your peak as a sales professional until you learn to listen. It takes time to develop this skill, but you’ll get there if you remain dedicated to growing.
4. Sounding like a salesperson
The point of cold calling is to make a sale. You know it and so does the person on the other end of the line. But don’t let it go to your head. You’re harming your chance of a sale if you sound like a typical salesperson. Avoid the following:
- Using overly aggressive sales language
- Attempting to close a deal before you’ve laid the foundation
- Putting your prospect in a high-pressure environment
When you sound like a salesperson — especially when cold calling — you’ll chase away more prospects than you attract. You’re already fighting an uphill battle, so don’t let this creep into your calls.
5. Neglecting to outline next steps
There’s no better feeling than making a cold call and closing a deal on the spot. Unfortunately, this is rare. It’s much more likely that you’ll need to follow up multiple times — often via phone and email — to move a prospect into the “customer category.”
Instead of saying, “I’ll call you next week” or “keep an eye on your inbox,” share a more detailed next step.
For example, if a prospect shows interest, tell them that you’ll immediately follow up with an email and calendar invite to chat again at a specific time. This keeps them engaged, while also showing your dedication to providing top-notch customer service.
A final word
Avoiding these cold calling mistakes will help you connect with more prospects, refine your sales pitch, and close more deals.
Regardless of the challenges you face — such as angry hang-ups and a low close rate — don’t give up on cold calling. You never know what will happen when you dial the next number on your list. It’s all worthwhile when you finally close a sale. Never stop dialing!