Sometimes the best way to listen is to allow a little pause after a client is done speaking. You don’t always need to respond. A space of silence can encourage your client to offer more of what they are thinking and feeling.
This will give you the best insight into what your client is thinking or what objections they may have.
Note: If you’re just nodding while thinking about what you’re going to say next, you aren’t listening.
" Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. "- Stephen R. Covey
⍟ Be Ready to Ask the Right Questions at the Right Time
Powerful questions are your key to understanding the thoughts and emotion your clients are experiencing. The goal is to understand their fears, goals and desires.
The Powerful questios are those that allow you to understand the motivation behind your clients decisions.
These questions will vary depending on your business and your relationship with the client or prospective client.
⍟ Be Empathetic
Empathy is the ability to understand, be aware of and vicariously experience the feelings, thoughts and experience of another.
In order to put empathy into practice you will need to be able to resonate with another persons experiences. You will need to put yourself into a place where you can feel what they’re feeling (to some extent) and understand their situation from their point of view.
This is more than just a simple understanding of what they are going through and a pat on the back. If you can imagine yourself in the circumstance of a client, you should be able to appreciate what they are going through enough to reach a measure of the feeling they are experiencing.
If a client is becoming emotional about anything while you are trying to assess their needs and move them forward, just pause and give them space. Give them time to express themselves, and just listen.
At some point, the fact that you just listened for a time, while they vented, can be enough to get them back around to the issue at hand.
When a client shows a willingness to start discussing business, you have the green light to proceed.
If a client is overly emotional or using an excessive amount of your time in the process, It might be a good time to ask if they would like to re-schedule with you.
" Selling is not something you do to someone, it’s something you do for someone. "- Zig Ziglar
⍟ Be Honest & Transparent
This should be a given, and I almost didn’t include it since it should be so obvious.
Nevertheless, we continue to hear people complain about dishonest sales tactics, or outright lies. People today are skeptical by default. Get caught in a lie or hide information for your own benefit and it will come back to you.
Let’s be clear. Pretending you know something in order to avoid admitting you don’t is a lie. Leaving out important information that your client should know just to get a signature, with the intent to tell them later, or not at all, is dishonest.
In today’s environment, being honest and transparent is seen as a breath of fresh air. There is no reason to be dishonest.
No one is expecting you to be perfect. They will, however, reward you for being honest and acting with integrity.
⍟ Be Clear & Build Rapport
Whether you’re having a conversation in person or or via email, keep your discussions as clear, direct and specific as possible. Avoid over-explaining things when not necessary.
A key to great communication and being understood better by others is adapting your style to the person that you are speaking with.
Through careful listening, being empathetic, honest and truthful, your are building rapport with your client.
If your client uses a direct formal tone, respond in kind. If they are more casual and playful, respond similarly. This is the most direct way to get someone to understand you clearly.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be an entirely different person or change the way you are—but if you want your client to feel a stronger bond with you, you should adapt your communication style to fit theirs.
When you tailor your communication in this way you will find that you will have much more success being understood by your client.
" The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about. "
- Seth Godin
⍟ Be Consistent With Your Follow Up
Good follow up is a big part of successful communication. Just because your client enrolled in a plan, doesn’t mean you can forget about them.
If they are confused or unhappy about anything concerning their choice you want to know about it. If you don’t, you can be sure the next agent that talks to them will, and you will no longer have that client.
While there may not be one perfect way to follow up for everyone, there are some general ideas that can help guide you.
For starters, don’t wait to make a follow up appointment with your clients. Follow up appointments should be scheduled at the initial appointment.
Let your client know that you would like to follow up with them and suggest a schedule. Whether that’s 3 days after the initial appointment, 30 days later, 60 days later, that’s up to you, just make sure you discuss it with your client so they agree to the schedule and know what to expect.
Always make it easy for your client to get in touch with you. Make it clear that they can contact you with any questions and give them at least 2 methods of contact.
Some agents send holiday and or birthday cards to their clients. This kind of gesture is up to you, but if others are doing it and you aren’t, what will your clients think when they see a friend get a card from their agent wishing them well for the holidays?
⍟ Tips to Remain Compliant While Communicating With Clients
It’s important to keep compliance in mind with everything you do as an agent. As I’m sure your aware, there are a couple rules to communicating with prospective clients.
We will outline some for reference, but please check with the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines and keep up with Medicare related news for updates. There are many stipulations that depend on your specific situation and they tend to change.
First, let’s mention the Scope of Appointment (SOA). Before you make an in person visit with someone you need to complete an SOA form.
For more specific details on how to complete a Scope of Appointment, see our blog on Scope of Appointment.