The most important part of the entire sales process is the initial phone call. If the initial phone call isn’t absolutely perfect then the agent will not be working up to his fullest potential. If the agent blows the initial phone call a sale may never ensue. Using the phone successfully it is a learned, well practiced art. It isn’t something that just “comes naturally”. There is no “secret” method or system to selling insurance over the phone or calling to set appointments. The “secret” is in the agent’s ability to handle the call properly and make it smooth and conversational. Most agents only think they know what the prospect on the other end of the phone is actually hearing when the agent makes a statement. Many times the prospect is hearing something totally different. Don’t believe me? Try this, tape the next five calls, play them back and listen to them with a very critical ear. Most agents are surprised when they hear what they are actually saying and how it sounds to the prospect. What the prospect actually hears is not necessarily what we think we hear ourselves saying. When the prospect first picks up the phone they are not paying attention nor are they ready to start “listening”. When the phone rings they are probably doing something else and only picked it up because it rang. To get their attention the agent must speak slowly and clearly to give them time to start “paying attention”. If the agent just rattles off his name and the reason for the call the prospect probably didn’t “hear” a word the agent said. All they probably heard is “bla, bla, bla, bla”. Tips to making it a successful call: 1. Speak slowly enough to be understood, especially in the first few seconds. Many agents speak way too fast when they begin the call. 2. In the first few seconds don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to. Saying “how you doing” is the wrong question to ask and should never be stated. Both you and they know you don’t care. 3. Speak loudly enough to be heard. Mumbling and slurring words is not going to get them to listen. 4. Enunciate every word perfectly. They must be able to understand every word you say. If the prospect has to ask you to repeat what you have said then it breaks the smooth rhythm of the call and the call probably won’t be as successful. 5. Pay special attention to the timing with which you say things. If your timing is off just a little bit it may not be a successful call. 6. Are maintaining control of the call (this also speaks to the “timing”) or are you allowing the prospect to take control? If you permit the prospect to say something like “I’m not interested” you have lost control. Once you lose control it is very difficult to regain it. 7. Choose the words you use very carefully. Some words “throw up a red flag” where as others will elicit the response you are looking for. “What” is a red flag word. Example: “What are you paying each month?” The prospect is going to immediately ask them self “Why is he asking that? That is confidential information”. A better way to ask that question is, “May I ask how much you are paying...” When you say “May I ask” you are really asking permission to ask them. 7. Design your phone presentation to get the information you need within the first sixty seconds of the call so you can decide if you want to continue the call. That decision should be yours, not the prospects. 8. Always speak in a relaxed conversational manner. Leave all of the “hype” out of it. It turns people off. 9. There is a learning curve to using the phone properly. It is so much more than simply having someone’s “script”. The word “script” has a lot of negative connotations. It implies that it is something an agent will print, attempt to put “in their own words” and read. It will sound like a sales script/sales pitch instead of sounding like you are calling them to offer your help. 10. Hone your listening skills. Many agents may be "good talkers" but they may not have ever learned to "listen". Some agents are too busy talking and never take time to listen. The prospect will give you all kind of clues of how to get their attention if the agent knows what to listen for. Develop a smooth, conversational, well thought out phone “presentation” and your degree of success will increase dramatically.