Wednesday, March 9

Compute the odds

Today’s new agent meeting was devoted mainly to role-playing.  Specifically, role-playing as related to residential canvassing.  It’s a form of getting new business that can be highly productive but also more than a little intimidating.  ABC Insurance does not practice “cold” door-to-door soliciting, that being almost always unproductive.  What we do instead is go to houses near an existing customer’s, using that customer’s name as a reference (“Your neighbor John Smith has policies with us …”)  Success rates vary inversely with the distance from the customer’s house.  Generally, it works best with the houses on either side of the customer’s house and the one directly across the street, as those people are likely to know the customer the best.  The manager who conducted the session is a specialist in residential canvassing, and says that on average he can get admitted to two-thirds of the houses where people answer the door and can sell half of them.  In any event, next week he will be conducting one-on-one field training in residential canvassing, I will be going on late Thursday afternoon.

In the early afternoon I made the lengthy trek to Chipmunk Junction for two scheduled sales calls.  One of them was the customer, “Gertrude,” who had forgotten I was coming when I had gone to her house last week, and had asked me to come back today.  Given this history I was naturally concerned that she would flake out once again, and therefore had called her a couple of days ago to confirm.  Gertrude said she’d be there today, along with her daughter and grandson as she would be buying policies for both of them too.  Given the number of policies involved I had good reason to believe this would be a big-commission sale.  I arrived at her house at the scheduled time, rang the doorbell, and waited … and waited.  Just as I was about to leave, a man in his 30’s answered the door.  He said that Gertrude was away for work, and that he was watching the house for her.  He didn’t say where Gertrude had gone, but clearly she was not in the area.  All this two days after she had told me she’d be home for the call.  The man said that he’d try to contact Gertrude and tell her I had come by to see her, needless to say the chances that I’ll be hearing from her are zero.  Also zero are the chances that I will try calling her again.  Sorry Gertrude, you had your chance.

Despite my failure to connect with Gertrude, I still had high hopes for the next call.  It was with the man who had been referred to me by the customer I had sold a policy to on Monday.  Having scheduled this call less than 48 hours earlier, I figured there was almost no chance of the customer flaking.  I went to the deli where we planned to meet, and waited outside with a large folder bearing the ABC Insurance folder so he’d be able to recognize me.  My jacket was a bit thin for the temperature, but as I’d be waiting for just a few minutes until he arrived it would be okay.  The appointed time came, and went, no big deal, he’d surely be just a few minutes late.  As I waited longer and longer my jacket seemingly grew thinner and thinner.  And my anger level grew greater and greater.  Finally, more than 30 minutes had passed with no sign of the customer, and I threw in the (frozen) towel and left.  Two sales calls, both set or confirmed within the past 48 hours, two no-shows.  What are the odds of that happening?

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 5:02 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Again, with the misssed appointments with the FLAKES!! As you said, there’s a reluctance to call ahead, say an HOUR ahead because they might flake. but here’s three rasons to do it anyway: 1) Think of the time and gas you save if they flake early; if they flake then, they would have flaked when you showed up without confirming within the hour 2) If they flake when you call them think of all the OTHER sales calls/phone calls you can make =MORE PRODUCTIVE USE OF YOUR TIME!! and 3)Think of the DIFFERENCE in your attitude when you”catch” these flakes early rather than late!!

  2. I figured that confirming 48 hours in advance would be adequate, clearly I was wrong. From now on I’ll follow your advice of a much closer confirmation. After the Gertrude incident, I’m not taking any more chances.

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