Making it worthwhile
One thing about being in the insurance industry is that it may not take many sales at all in order for you to earn a decent amount of money. And so it was for me today. As I mentioned yesterday, I had set a solid-seeming appointment by telephone. The customer, a 40-something woman in the central-eastern Suffolk community where I’ve been spending time lately, has had a couple of small policies for years but said she was interested in getting disability coverage. Music to my ears, what with the nice commissions paid on that product. We agreed to meet at her house in the early afternoon. Now for a bit of gender-specific sales protocol. If the customer had been a man, I would have strongly suggested that his wife be present. Were I to meet with just him, it’s a very safe bet that he’d be unwilling to sign an application without consulting with his wife. Either I’d have to come back, or depend on his convincing his wife that the policy would be a good idea. Guaranteed she’d say no. As the customer in this case was a woman, I had no qualms about meeting with her outside the presence of her husband. If a woman wants a policy she’ll just go ahead and take it, she’s not going to say “let me check with my husband.” Why the genders differ so radically in this respect, I’ll leave it to others to analyze.
In any event, I arrived at 1 pm as scheduled and gave my presentation. It was pretty easy as I could tell that the customer was all set to buy right from the start. It helped that she already had a disability policy through a trade organization, and it cost more than ABC Insurance’s policy while paying lower benefits. To make things even nicer, I was able to sell a health policy as an add-on to the main disability policy. My commission on this one sale is enough to give me a decent if unspectacular income for the whole week – a very handy thing, as my training salary has come to an end and I’m now on straight commission. If I could average two sales of this type per week I’d be earning a very nice income. Which is quite do-able, some of the experienced agents in the office are doing that, and more. About the only downside of this sale was that the customer declined to give me any referral names. I tried the so-called memory joggers (“Any co-workers or neighbors who might be interested in what [ABC Insurance] has to offer?”), without success. Referrals are an excellent sales method, one that many top agents use with great success. If I call a person and say that Mary Smith suggested I speak to them, my chances of making a sale go way up. If nothing else, having a referral from a satisfied customer instantly establishes my credibility.
Because success begets success, as soon as I left the customer’s house I stopped at a nearby business, the owner of which has been considering buying a few smaller policies. I was hoping that he’d finally come to a decision, and that it would be a “yes” decision (well, duh). He told me that he needs a couple more weeks to decide. It wasn’t one of these “let me think about it” passive-aggressive responses. He instead was clear about why it was taking so long to decide, he was comparing ABC’s costs and policy terms with those from other companies to see what was the best deal. Can’t argue with that. I’ll check back in a couple of weeks. In addition to these stops I spent some time trying to track down a policy applicant who hasn’t been cooperating with the underwriting department’s request for additional information. She’s not answering the telephone or returning voicemail messages, and I wasn’t able to find her at home. What I ended up doing was leaving my card in her screen door, and wrote on the back that it was absolutely essential for her to call underwriting so her application could be processed. If she doesn’t respond within the next week her application will be rejected, and my commission advance will be charged back. Wonderful.
Gym: a strange session tonight. I wasn’t in much of a mood to run on the treadmill, instead I decided to do some pull-ups after yesterday’s lack of success with them. As a result I had what I believe is the first pull-up-only session in all my years of gym-going. Neutral grip pull-ups: 4 x 4, 5 x 3, 6 x 2. That’s 43 total, probably a record for a single session.