Wednesday, September 8

Slapping my head in frustration

No, I did not break my dry spell today.  At the new agents’ meeting in the morning (which I reached on time, as Expressway traffic was semi-tolerable), I found out that a number of other agents have had tough time the last week or two, so it’s not just me.  On Friday I’ll be going with another manager to do some residential canvassing.  My manager doesn’t do much of that, and he has no objection to my going with a different manager for the day.  The manager I’ll be accompanying specializes in canvassing in, ahem, non-upscale neighborhoods, and both him and his team members do very well.  I’ve shied away from residential canvassing – okay, let’s drop the euphemism and call it what it is, namely door-to-door selling – because it strikes me as a touch unseemly, but the fact remains that it’s a proven sales method.  Another agent at the meeting today, an older man who started a week before me, said that he spent a few hours on Labor Day going around to houses and trying to set appointments for the next day.  It worked very well.  He made enough sales yesterday, from the canvassing a day earlier, to earn over $700 in commissions for that one day alone.  Given those results I’ll gladly set aside any misgivings I might have.

As I had a 7 pm appointment I went home after the meeting and took a few hours off.  Around 4 pm I headed to the central-eastern Suffolk town where the appointment was scheduled and checked on a couple of the prior week’s appointments to see if “let me think about it” had magically transformed itself into “okay, I’ll take it.” I’ve previously mentioned one of these customers, a man who has spent almost two weeks trying to compare the costs of our disability policy with workers’ compensation, even though he has known exactly how much the two cost.  I stopped at his place of business and asked if he had completed the cost comparison.  He said that he had, and that our policy was a better deal.  To my dismay, he went on to say that he had been discussing the policy with his wife (always a bad sign) and that his wife was suggesting that they simply use their savings to live on were he to become disabled.  He said that he’d have a yes or no answer next week, and I slunk away.

Less that five minutes later I was metaphorically slapping my head in frustration.  How could I have been so stupid?  The “we can use our savings” line is a common type of resistance encountered when selling disability insurance, and there is a simple reply, indeed one I had learned in sales school.  Had I not been so stupid as to have forgotten what to say, I could have said that taking about the policy would give the customer the best of both worlds – he could protect his income and protect his savings.  With payments from the policy coming in each month he wouldn’t have to dip into his savings.  There’s no guarantee that I would have been able to make a sale had I used this response, but at least there would have been a chance.  Even though I had left his business just five minutes earlier it was now too late to go back or call him and give the response.  One rule about overcoming resistance is that you have to respond immediately.  One minute later is too late, let alone five minutes.

It was with a deepening sense of disgust that I headed off to the appointment.  I arrived at the house precisely at seven, rang the doorbell, and waited.  And waited.  No one answered.  Could this week get any worse?  I returned to my car and called the customer, and of course got voice mail.  Just as I drove off, to my great amazement, the customer called back.  She profusely apologized and said that her daughter had been sick and she had totally forgotten the appointment.  She wanted to rescheduled, which I did, for next Monday.  I have a pretty good sense that the customer was being honest and has a genuine interest in meeting with me.  If that weren’t the case she wouldn’t have returned my call, and if I had gotten in contact with her she would have muttered something about how “my schedule is totally crazy.”  Monday actually works out well, because now I have four appointments in the same town, at 1, 3, 5 and 7.

Gym: I didn’t have much enthusiasm, but ended up ellipting for about 20 minutes and working the speed bag a bit.  Let me tell you, I am so out of practice on the bag it’s pathetic.

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 1:43 am  Leave a Comment  

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