Monday, January 31

The people I encounter …

Today got off to a less-than-auspicious start.  Expressway traffic was a complete nightmare, and I had to use the service roads much of the way.  Fortunately I had gotten a fairly early start and therefore made it into the weekly agents’ meeting in the nick of time.  The main order of business at the meeting was the announcement that, effective immediately, all agents will be subject to mandatory minimum sales quotas.  This is not unusual at insurance companies, but something new at ABC Insurance.  I shouldn’t have much trouble meeting the quota, and in any event it would be hard to make a living producing only the minimum, but nonetheless it adds a measure of pressure I’d sooner do without.

On a better note, my manager gave me some new lead cards, and in contrast to the 50-miles-away Chipmunk Junction these cards are for a town (Groundhog Crossroads) that’s very close to where I live.  I figure that alternating between the towns will be easier – and cheaper, especially given today’s gasoline prices – than working exclusively in Chipmunk Junction.   This being said, there are a couple of downsides.  Groundhog Crossroads has a reputation as a difficult town in which to do business.  Not only is it hard writing policies in the first place, but many that do get written go down for various reasons.  As far as I can tell this is attributable to the town’s relatively downscale socioeconomic status – FAR down the ladder from Chipmunk Junction, which admittedly would be true for 99% of the towns in America.  In addition, most of the cards are for residential rather than business calls.  One thing I’ve figured out by now is that I’d much rather call on businesses than at peoples’ houses.

Events later in the day solidified my preference for business calls.  Just before dusk I called at the house of a current policyholder.  After I explained my business, he asked for identification.  I showed him my business card, he replied that it meant nothing and he wanted to see photo identification.  So I showed him my driver’s license, which I really did not want to do as it has my home address, but the customer is always right and all that.  He still wasn’t satisfied.  He said that he would set a time for me to come over and discuss his policies, but only if the company called him and said that I was authorized to make customer calls.  Or something to that effect, it was difficult to make sense of what he was saying.  He also said that he would rather I have called rather than come over in person.  I told the customer a small white lie, saying that many of the lead cards do not have telephone numbers.  Actually that wasn’t much of a lie because it is true for some cards, though not his.  Of course I couldn’t tell him that voice mail makes it very difficult to call people on the telephone.  In any event, I’m not going to bother pursuing this customer any further, although he was pleasant I don’t think there’s much chance of making a sale even after jumping through all the hoops he wanted.

After making some more stops, no one seemed to be home even though it was now well after 6 pm, I decided to throw caution to the winds and actually make some telephone calls.  Mostly voice mail, as I expected.  When I called one customer, however, a woman – presumably his wife – answered and said that he wasn’t home.  She asked me what sort of insurance her husband had.  Nothing odd about that, but then she added that based on the type of insurance she’d decide whether or not to tell her husband that I’d called.  Say what?  Hubby was a current policyholder, as I had told her right at the start.  I do not see why the specific type of insurance should matter.  Trust me, it’s really hard to remain polite in these cases.  I must have passed this woman’s test because she eventually decided to relay my message, though of course the chances that the policyholder will call me are less than zero.  I’m certainly not going to call them again.  In any event, after several hours’ effort I wasn’t able to break the curse of Groundhog Crossroads and make a sale.  Tomorrow I’ll be back in Chipmunk Junction, with a couple of promising calls scheduled.

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Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 4:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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