Wednesday, November 24

An autopsy of yesterday’s dead sales call

Today was one day when trying to sell anything would be pretty much pointless.  No one is going to be interested in buying insurance on the day before Thanksgiving, so I spent the morning running various errands rather than making sales calls.  In the mid-afternoon I headed into the office for an agents’ meeting.  While waiting for it to start I spoke with a couple of experienced agents about yesterday evening’s “let me talk with my wife” fiasco.  What I learned hopefully will help me in the future, unfortunately there’s nothing I can do to salvage yesterday’s call (and its healthy commission).

The main lesson I learned from these experienced agents is that it is completely pointless to use any of the standard overcoming-resistance phrases when a customer “wifes” me.*  It is possible to overcome other forms of resistance, but not this particular type.  Instead, as soon as the customer utters the dreaded words about his wife, I must respond with “When can I come back and meet with both of you?”  All attempts to sell to the customer must cease immediately.  If at all possible I also take back any brochures I’ve given to the customer.  If the customer sets a time for me to return to see him and his wife, there’s at least a slim chance of making a sale, albeit with another trip required.  If the customer insists on talking to his wife himself, I am to say that just as I cannot be expected to do his job, whatever it may be, he cannot be expected to do my job of explaining the benefits of our insurance products.  If he still resists the idea of a return joint visit, for example if he says “My wife and I both have crazy schedules, it would impossible to catch both of us,” I will know, once and for all, that the situation is hopeless, and should get up and leave.

Given that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the ideal thing is to avoid being wifed in the first place.  When scheduling a sales call with a man, what I should always do is ask whether he is married (if I don’t already know), and if he is, try to schedule the call at a time when I can meet with both him and his wife.  I actually learned this in sales training, but it wasn’t emphasized and I didn’t realize just how vitally important it was.  Keep in mind that a joint husband-wife call is crucial even though only the husband is interested in coverage.  That indeed had been the case with yesterday’s failed call. Family coverage is a different situation, as in those cases both spouses will usually want to be present during the sales call.

Gym: not a bad session, I did 20 minutes on the stair climber machine, enough to climb 75 floors, and then 20 minutes on the stationary cycle at 18.6 mph.

* = what about a woman who says she has to talk with her husband?  It doesn’t happen.  Women have no problem with buying insurance on themselves without consulting their husbands.

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Published in: on November 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm  Comments (1)  

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