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Is Cold Calling Dead? 17 New Prospecting Strategies Salespeople Should Use

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Oct 24, 2018 @ 02:54 PM

Is Cold Calling Dead? 17 New Prospecting Strategies Salespeople Should Use


Is cold calling dead? Let's be honest. That answer is "No." Cold calling used to be one of the best -- and only -- prospecting strategies salespeople could use.

But in the past 40 years, a variety of more effective alternatives have emerged. While it's likely naive to say cold calling is never effective, useful, or necessary, it's crucial to elevate the rest of your prospecting strategy so it's never your go-to tactic.

In this post, we'll compare warm calling and cold calling, and discuss how to make calls to prospects you aren't very familiar with more productive -- and less intrusive.

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In the words of Mark Twain, rumors of cold calling's death have been greatly exaggerated. Instead, you need to update and finesse your cold calling strategy so you're using all of the resources available to you to build rapport and make a connection. Let's run through the differences between warm calling and cold calling:

Cold Calling vs. Warm Calling

What is warm calling?

"Warm calling" means you establish contact with a prospect before sending them an email. You might connect on LinkedIn, communicate over social media, or have a mutual acquaintance introduce you before you actually reach out to them with the intention of making a sale.

A good prospecting strategy is:

  • Consistent: It reliably generates new leads.
  • High-return: It generates a high number of potential customers for the amount of energy and resources required.
  • Targeted: It connects you with the right prospects, not just any prospects.

What is cold calling?

"Cold calling" refers to calling a prospect you haven't previously made a connection with before sending them an email or calling them on the phone to talk to them about your product or service.

With over 200 million people on the national do not call list alone, T-Mobile releasing data-only mobile packages, and corporations not taking calls unless you have a named contact, it's clear that our desire to speak with people on the phone is dwindling -- especially if those calls are unsolicited.

On top of that, prospects can now research company information, reviews, feedback, and all manner of information online. Cold calling is becoming an unnecessary nuisance -- prospects no longer need salespeople in the same ways they used to.

In fact, it's fair to say that anyone interrupting your day with an uninvited three-minute script is going to have to do some seriously fast and impressive talking to keep you on the line.

The odds aren't on the salesperson's side: Chances are the caller has already had to get creative about how they got through to your desk phone in the first place, and the call itself has probably begun with you being mildly irritated at best.

So, while prospects are annoyed that their days are still being interrupted by cold calls, sellers aren't having a good time either. They most likely have managers who demand more than 20-30 calls a day and expect just as many meetings booked per week.

But expectations and reality could not be farther apart. In sales organizations that rely on cold calling, lead flow is slowing down, the sales team is getting frustrated, and managers are getting increasingly angry.

The Harvard Business Review reported cold calling is ineffective 90% of the time, and more recent research shows that less than 2% of cold calls actually result in a meeting. Assuming a 0.3% appointment-booking rate and a 20% win rate, it would take 6,264 cold calls to make just four sales.

17 Lead Generation Alternatives to Cold Calling

What can the modern business do to protect its future and get new leads without cold calling? The good news is that it doesn't involve a circus act or shameless begging of any sort.

The bad news is that it requires a completely different way of thinking and some serious energy and hard work. Here are 17 alternatives to cold calling salespeople can use to generate leads.

See all 17 alternatives here

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Cold Calling, prospecting

How one agent overcame a fear of cold calling

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 10:33 AM

blog pic William J. Howery is a former Air Force Intelligence Officer. He retired in 2012 as a Lieutenant Colonel and began his career as an insurance agent with Physicians Mutual that same year. He has a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master of Business Administration from Norwich University. He is currently enrolled in the Certified Financial Planner ® course at Syracuse University. Will speaks near-fluent German, is married to a native German and has a 2½-year-old daughter at home.

LHP: As a relatively new agent, what are some of the biggest challenges and struggles you face?
WJH: When I first started, I had no real experience in insurance, sales or cold calling, and call reluctance sidelined me more often than I care to mention. I just didn’t know how to handle the objections, and I was taking the rejection personally. I’ve since learned how to overcome call reluctance. The objections no longer bother me the way they did. I’m still working to be better at keeping my pipeline full. I know that I need to have a good mix of prospecting approaches. I just need to get a strategy and be more intentional in my prospecting.

LHP: Why do you think the “survival rate” is so low for new agents, especially in the first few years? What tips, advice or encouragement would you offer to other new agents who might be struggling?

WJH: I think work ethic and cash flow are perhaps the two biggest obstacles for new agents — the former having a dramatic impact on the latter. Being an insurance agent offers a great deal of freedom, and the income potential is simply amazing. What many new agents don’t understand is that with the newfound freedom comes a great deal of responsibility. When new agents aren’t making enough sales, it’s very hard to generate the income needed to stay afloat. Then they start thinking: “This insurance business is much too unpredictable. I can work at XYZ and earn more money each week.” I have had those same thoughts. However, what I’ve learned in the last two years is that discipline and consistency pay dividends. For those who treat their insurance business with the same commitment that they give their jobs, the sales will come. LHP: Talk a bit about the current state of the Med Supp market. How is it changing, and what are your predictions for the next few years? WJH: I see the Med Supp market as a great opportunity! I’m always amazed when I visit with a prospect just one or two months from their birthday and find out that they have never been contacted by another agent. That, to me, illustrates the vastness of the market. I don’t know if there are enough agents out there to meet the demand.

LHP: How do you adjust your sales approach for each prospect based on age, income, gender, etc.?
WJH: I have found that asking questions helps me to zero in on their needs as well as identify important clues on how to handle them. Some people just want the facts; others want to be more relational, and some just want to get it all over with. I’m sensitive to the cues that I’m given and adjust accordingly, while making sure they have the information they need to make informed decisions. I make it a point to make sure they feel like they’re in the driver’s seat and not just having a product pushed on them.

LHP: How do you expect the demographics within your client and prospecting base to shift in the coming years, and how will you adjust as more boomers retire?
WJH: More and more seniors are choosing to continue working beyond 65, so those who have decent group coverage are choosing to postpone their Medicare Part B enrollment and Medigap coverage. Many of the baby boomers are still energetic and active contributors in the workplace, and they’re not ready to hang up their hats. That shift will naturally require me to adjust my prospecting to include more people who are beyond 65 years old and perhaps eventually make them my primary focus.


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/02/24/how-one-agent-overcame-a-fear-of-cold-calling...

Source: lifehealthpro.com

Additional Updates:

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Cold Calling, tips on selling insurance to seniors, sales advice

3 Tips to Increase Your Closing Ratio

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 18, 2012 @ 09:33 AM

Medicare SupplementsAs an agent, your main focus is to educate your clients on the best Medicare Supplement plan to fit their needs and close the sale. Recent studies from CSO Insight’s, "Sales Optimization Management Key Trends" have shown that closing the sale has declined 12% in the last five years. This is mainly from forecasted sales resulting in "no decision," which have increased by 26% in the same time frame. If you find a lot of your prospects leading to "no decision," two questions to ask yourself are "Why are these 'no decisions' increasing?" and "As an agent, what can I do to reverse the trend?"

Here are three strategies to put in place in order to increase your closing rate:

  • Sales target segmentation and qualification process – Spending the time to identify which prospects fit your agency the best will allow you to target that market and work toward catering toward their specific needs. Do you want to work with the aging in 65 market? Or older seniors who are looking to get a lower rate on their Medicare Supplement? Once you determine your agencies "sweet spot," you will be able to categorize your prospects into strong, neutral, or weak sections and focus your time on each one accordingly.

  • Well-defined and documented sales stages – Once you have defined your prospecting stages and customer activity you will reduced the chance of your pipeline becoming deflated. These stages will also help you to see when your prospect goes from suspect to qualified status and reduce your "no decision" buyers. Be sure not to label a prospect qualified before they have identified they have an need and want to evaluate the plan you have proposed.

  • Implement a strict sales pipeline management – Most of the time "no decision" prospects come about when a sales cycle goes past your usual timeline and goes cold. If this happens, you should either restart the sales cycle or call in a loss. By keeping your sales pipeline conservative you will also be keeping it accurate and your numbers strong.

If you find yourself faced with more "no decision" prospects than usual, it might be a good time to reevaluate your sales cycle. Be sure you are focusing on those prospects in your target demographic and determining their interest the first time you speak with them. This way you can cultivate the clients who are interested rather than wasting time ones who are not going to result in a sale. If you would like more tips and strategies with your sales process, give your PSM marketer a call at 1-800-998-7715.

Please give us your feedback!
Have you seen a rise in your prospects leading to "no decision"? What do you do to prevent them? Do you currently have a pipeline management system in process?

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
  • Assured Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for Louisiana - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Customer Retention, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, Cold Calling

Overcoming Common Sales Objectives

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Apr 06, 2012 @ 09:25 AM

Medicare SupplementsIf your sales aren't as high as you’d like them to be, it might be time for a new perspective. Whether you've encountered situations you haven't dealt with before, or ones that change midway through the sales conversation, a new perspective can help you manage the change.


Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you visiting/talking to enough clients and prospects? Are you being proactive and keeping your activity high? Determine your customer contact time as a percentage of your total working time. Although, remember not to confuse movement with action.

  • Are you talking to the right people? Consider how your cold-calling strategy and any leads you are purchasing are working for you. What is the rate of return on your investment? Are you speaking with turning 65 leads or older seniors looking to switch plans? Also, make sure you are speaking with the decision maker in the household. Some seniors may prefer you speak to their spouse, caretaker, or child.

  • Are you saying/doing the right things? Are your sales skills up to par? If not, look into taking a course or seeking out advice from someone you admire as a mentor. You can also talk with your marketing representative at PSM, who have sales scripts, tips, and techniques that can help guide you to fulfilling your sales goals.

  • What is your predominant attitude? As cliché as it sounds, your attitude on each call is a small thing that makes a big difference. It sets the tone and drives the call. Are you excited about your product? Find an angle, and be aware that you will drive your sales with it.

When you look at these problems from a different perspective you will find you can increase your sales, improve your approach, and find creative ways to solve the problem you are struggling with.

Please give us your feedback!
What have you done to change your prospective in your business? How did it affect your closing ratio? What advice do you have for other agents who might be struggling?

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
  • Forethought Freedom Process Improvements & April Incentive Contest Announcement - Learn More
  • Are Medicare Select sales opportunities passing you by? - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Senior Market Success, Health Insurance, Cold Calling, Leads, Forethought Medicare Supplement, Medicare Select

6 Tips for Cold Calling Success

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 09:59 AM

Medicare SupplementsCold calling is an aspect of sales that can make even the most seasoned sales professionals nervous. In reality, cold calling doesn’t have to be such an ordeal. The following are a couple of techniques to help you turn leads into prospects.


  • Captured their attention in the first 15 seconds. This is the most important part of the call; it sets the tone for the rest of your relationship with the prospect. Be excited about your product and be sure your energy and enthusiasm comes across in your voice.

  • Use their language & name. If you find your prospect using particular phrases often, write them down and use them in your pitch as well. Try to match their volume, speed, and tone of voice as well. Plus people in general, love the sound of their name so use it often throughout your call.

  • Sell the appointment. If you are prospecting over the phone in your area, work on selling an appointment rather than the product. Some seniors are more comfortable meeting with an agent in person and you will be able to go over all of their options and educate them on the best option for their individual needs in person.

  • Avoid taking "no" for an answer. Instinctively, people react with “not interested” to most sales calls. Avoid this by asking open ended questions like “What has been your biggest struggle looking for the right Medicare Supplement?” or “What kind of coverage do you think you need?” These questions will start the conversation and show the prospect you are taking an interest in their healthcare needs.

  • Use emotion & show the value. Storytelling and success stories are two very good tactics to use with cold calling. Whether you choose a story that shows how grateful someone was to have a Med Supp or a cautionary tale about someone who wished they had, people respond to the feeling they are missing out on something other people have taken advantage of.

  • End the call assertively. It’s unlikely that the prospect will ask you to set up an appointment or send them materials, so it is up to you to ask them. End each call by asking “Are you available to meet next Wednesday at 3PM?” or “To what address should I send more comprehensive information?” When you assume the close, it is harder for the prospect to say no and keeps the door open for business in the future.

Cold calling is nerve-racking but once you get in the grove it’s an instrumental way to increase your prospects and eventually your client database. The more calls you make, the more you will be able to iron out your script and pin point the most effective ways to talk with your senior market audience.

Please give us your feedback!
Have you had success cold calling? Do you have any tips? What did you do to get past the nervousness that cold calling can often bring up?

Source: About.com

Additional Updates:
  • New Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Available in MO - Learn More
  • New Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement Available in TN - Learn More
  • Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for ID - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Cold Calling, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Customer Service, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Embracing Over-the-Phone and Online Med Supp Sales

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Jul 01, 2011 @ 09:03 AM

Medicare SupplementsAn agent’s interactions with their prospects and clients are rapidly changing with the online age and influx of Baby Boomers becoming Medicare eligible. Gone are the days where the agent has all the information and a face-to-face meeting needs to take place. Now, seniors are able to research available companies in their area online and have an idea of what will be the best fit before they speak to the agent. Also, the method is changing too. Seniors today are just as comfortable talking over the phone or via email about their options, and in most cases, a meeting is not needed for them to make a decision on which plan to go with.

Thus, it is a great time for agents to be selling Medicare Supplements over the phone. Some may fear the negative aspects of selling by phone: losing eye contact, body language, personal insight, and the thought that a client will disengage more easily than during a face-to-face meeting. However, online and over the phone sales have several distinct benefits as well.

The four main benefits are:

  1. This is how coming-of-age seniors want to do business. People turning 65 are accustomed to doing business by phone; it has been commonplace in industries for the past 10 years. Also, with all the other products and services available online, the idea of obtaining a supplemental insurance product the same way seems natural.
  2. Save time by not traveling to and from meetings. When you are “smiling and dialing” you don’t lose the time you would have spent scheduling a meeting, traveling to the meeting, conducting the meeting, and then traveling back to your workplace. Any good salesperson knows: the more people you see, the more sales you make, and that time savings can allow you to use the phone to "see more people".
  3. Don't lose time when you have "no shows." Ever taken the time to schedule a meeting only to have the potential client not show up? It’s annoying. If the client doesn’t show up to a virtual meeting or conference call you only loose minutes, rather than hours.

  4. Increased production and income. With a more efficient use of time you’ll be able to reach more seniors as well as expand your prospecting area. With Medicare Supplements you can be appointed in several states and target senior rich areas, regardless of whether they are in your “driving area” or not. Also, when you add the possibilities of a Combo App – like those from Forethought and Sentinel – you have the ability to double the sales on each call with a value-added product.

Once you decide selling by phone is something you want to pursue there are a few things you will need to consider. Seniors looking to do business online have a “shopping” mentality and are looking for information that will guide them into making the right decision. They are not looking to be “sold” on a particular product. Take the time to have a discussion; educate them and build trust that you have the right products, experience, and expertise for their supplemental insurance needs. Once you close the sale, make sure to keep in touch with your client. This will allow you to make sure your clients are not only happy with your service, but put you on the forefront of their memory when a friend or relative asks about their agent.

It’s important to recognize this changing market and prepare yourself for the new techniques used in online and over the phone sales. With thousands of seniors turning 65 every day, it’s more important than ever to keep up with the exploding marketplace.

Please give us your feedback!
Do you sell online or over the phone? How has it changed your business? Did you find the transition difficult?

Source: Agents Sales Journal

Additional Updates:
  • Universal Health Care Plans for 2012 - Learn More
  • Are You Capitalizing on the Medicare Supplement Market? - Learn More

Tags: Universal Health Care, Sales Tips, technology, Cold Calling, Leads, Customer Service

Getting Past Cold Call Aversion

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 09:57 AM

Medicare SupplementsResearchers George Dudley and Shannon Goodson found that more than 40% of salespeople have experienced bouts of call reluctance that nearly ended their careers. Selling can be uncomfortable, make you feel pushy or intrusive, and there can be anxiety in finding new business by cold calling. If you are tired of watching new producers out-perform you when you know you have as much, if not more market knowledge, it is time to work on overcoming this obstacle. Cold calling is an essential part of selling Medicare Supplements by phone; it will increase business by allowing you to expand your selling territory and talk to more prospects in a shorter period of time. Low sales might be stemming from a self-promotion disease, and your call aversion is most likely harming your income and business.

One type of call reluctance is due to over-analyzing and under-acting. Often restrained, this symptom shows itself in someone stressing technical details rather than developing interpersonal relationships. They often blame the products rather than their relationship-building skills. This is common in highly educated and professional people who over-prepare but never get to share their knowledge with potential clients. It’s important to remember that clients buy trust first while product and service are secondary factors.

Another type can be found in someone who is very image conscious. This is common in producers who are overcoming self-confidence and self-esteem insecurities. They tend to invest in their appearance but prospecting can appear beneath them. They avoid prospecting until financially forced to make calls and want to shortcut the sales process to make the big sale. Others might be in position acceptance. They are either embarrassed or apologetic, and haven’t yet realized that their job can become a career. Feeling stuck in place, their suppressed dedication and zeal are often due to feelings of disappointment from a person in their life.

In overcoming these roadblocks, adopt the new mindset that you are someone providing a useful service to others. Cold calling, networking, leads and referrals are all integral parts of your sales efforts, used together to achieve your goals and turn your job into a sustainable career. Seniors need your knowledge and guidance to choose the best products that will offer them health and financial security throughout their golden years. The senior market is exploding – make the calls.

If you would like any guidance to overcoming your own, personal, roadblocks in cold calling please contact one of our marketers at 1-800-998-7715. Precision Senior Marketing is committed to giving our agents all the tools they need to succeed in their business endeavors.


Have you suffered from call reluctance? What did you do to move past this obstacle? How has it changed your business?

Source: Senior Market Advisor


Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Cold Calling, Medicare Sales

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