Thursday, September 16

Canvassing

Today began with a new agents’ meeting at a diner in western Suffolk.  It was scheduled to start at 9:30, and because I was concerned about traffic I left way in advance.  An unnecessary precaution, as it turned out, because traffic on the Expressway and the Southern State Parkway wasn’t at all bad.  One of the four managers was in charge of the meeting, and as far as I know he has the most sales experience of all four.  We got some useful tips.  One of them, which in fact I got to put into practice not long thereafter, is “no product at the door.”  If a prospect won’t let you into his or her house after brief preliminaries, and wants you to describe the products in any sort of detail while standing at the door, it’s best to leave.  A prospect that won’t let you into the house doesn’t trust you, and a prospect that doesn’t trust you isn’t going to buy anything.  I also learned what to do in the event of wifing.  If a customer seems interested but says “I want to run it by my wife,” try to set a time to speak to both of them together.  Otherwise, you’re depending on the customer to try to sell the policy to his wife, and not maintaining control of the situation.  Wish I’d known this earlier.

After the hour-long meeting I went to a working-class town in central Suffolk with a different manager and two agents.  We split into two groups to do residential canvassing.  At ABC Insurance we start with a lead card for an active customer who has given permission for his or her name to be used as a reference, preferably one who’s been with the company for many years, and then go to the houses on the same block.  Whenever someone answers we identify ourselves and say that we’re the insurance agents for Mr. Smith across the street (or whatever).  The idea is that using a neighbor’s name helps establish our credibility, even with people who may not know the neighbor particularly well.  Simply going to a block and cold-canvassing without any such referral names is pointless.  As a general rule, the neighbors on either side of the referral person and directly across the street (the so-called “T system”) are the best prospects on the block, as they are most likely to know the person whose name you are using.

Another agent and I spent about 45 minutes canvassing on two blocks. He had an appointment so he couldn’t stay longer.  In this time period we went to ten houses.  There was no one home at five houses, at one house the owners’ teenage daughter said we’d have to come back later to speak to her parents, at another house the man who answered didn’t speak English, and at two houses we were in essence told to get lost.  At one of these houses we put the “no product at the door” rule into action, as the older woman who answered wouldn’t let us in unless we told her all about what we were selling (in other words, “health and disability insurance” wasn’t enough for her).  So far this accounts for nine houses.  At the tenth, the woman who answered invited us in, and we ended up giving a full presentation that lasted over a half-hour.  I actually thought she would end up buying right on the spot, but she wanted us to meet with her husband as well, so we set an appointment for a week from Monday.  She actually suggested a date and time, a very good sign.  So the final score is 45 minutes, ten houses, and one solid-seeming appointment that has a reasonable chance of leading to a sale.  Not a bad use of a brief amount of time.

Gym: some nice bench press work.  6 x 135, 4 x 185, 4 x 205, 5 x 225, 4 x 235, 2 x 245, 2 x 255, 1 x 260, 4 x 225.  I’d been planning on three at 245, but something didn’t feel right on the second rep.  Still, getting the double at 255 was quite satisfactory.  Next time I’ll try for 265 on the top set.  Neutral grip pull-ups: 4 x 4, 3 x 3.

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Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 12:14 am  Leave a Comment  

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