Professional Speaking

There are many insurance sales best practices to be learned from a professional speaking career.

Last week I visited the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma headquarters, in Oklahoma City, to deliver my How to Sell Insurance to Millennials presentation.

This marks the official start of my 7th year as a professional speaker within the insurance industry.

Without a doubt, speaking is my favorite part of the job.

It never gets old.

Doesn’t matter the size of the group, location in the country (though there is a special place in my heart for the south), the relative age of the audience or the audience’s collective disposition towards digital marketing. Each and every time I stand in front of an audience is electrifying.

I love it.

 

Why do I love being a speaker so much?

The rush.

Having played sports my entire life, including four years of college baseball, performing in front of a live audience is the closest thing I can find in the professional world to the rush you get as an athlete.

There is something intoxicating about the surge of adrenaline you get right before stepping on stage as your body unconsciously prepares for the impending battle you will wage against the audience.

Not a battle in the adversarial sense, but in the hard fought give and take a speaker encounters during each and every performance.

There is no guarantee the audience will respond to your material.

Even your most tried and true jokes, stories, statistics, quotes, etc can fall flat for any number of reasons.

To survive as a professional speaker you must be able to overcome these disastrous moments.

You must earn the audience’s respect every time you take the stage.

The best speakers in the world are able to educate, entertain and inspire their audience regardless of the circumstances or obstacles placed in front of them.

7 Insurance Sales Best Practices

Selling insurance is exactly the same.

Each insurance sales opportunity is it’s own mini performance.

Back when I was still selling insurance for The Murray Group, I’d use even the simplest sale, say a stand-alone renters insurance policy, to work on the delivery of my coverage stories.

Stories make insurance real.

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But just like a great professional speaker, your audience must believe, appreciate and be inspired by the stories you tell in order in order to be effective.

Here are 7 insurance sales best practices I learned from professional speaking:

1) Prepare

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” ~ Arthur Ashe

There is no greater crime a professional speaker can commit than being unprepared. The same is true for selling insurance.

If you show up to a sales appointment unprepared, shame on you. It is nobody’s fault but your own when inevitable “No” or “I’ll think about it,” is dropped in your lap.

Professionals prepare. Shooting from the hip is for amateurs and the unsuccessful.

For speakers the goal is to be so prepared, the performance feels effortless and comfortable.

It is the seeming effortlessness that prepared professionals portray that amateurs mistakenly view as working off-the-cuff.

LESSON: Always prepare. Always.

2) Respect Your Audience

“I respect the audience’s intelligence a lot, and that’s why I don’t try to go for the lowest common denominator.” ~ Spike Lee

You will always have more knowledge on the topic you’re speaking about than the audience you’re speaking to. Never allow this technical imbalance to cloud your respect for their intelligence.

This can be doubly easy to do with a complex subject such as insurance.

The moment a tone of superiority hits your lips the audience is gone.

No one likes to be talked down to. Certainly, no one does business with someone who talks down to them.

Remind yourself, as both a speaker and an insurance agent, you are a teacher first, salesperson second. Those who embrace the “Teacher Mentality” will always remain respectful of their audience and stay focused on serving their needs.

LESSON: Your work selling insurance is in service to the clients which choose to business with you. Maintain respect for them as people regardless of how far you ascend in your career.

3) Own the Material

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Audiences can smell a fraud a mile away.

Never, ever, ever… speak on a topic in which you don’t own the material.

If you do not own the material, everyone will know and you will stink up the joint.

There is no way to get around it. If you want to be a great insurance salesperson you have to know the insurance product cold.

Go get your CIC or your CPCU or read everything Bill Wilson has ever written or read policy forms.

How you do it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you are an insurance master guru. This also speaks to preparedness and respect for your audience.

I used to be able to quote policy form language like scripture and it helped me sell a lot of insurance.

LESSON: Own the material. Become an technical insurance expert.

4) Exude Confidence

“A great figure or physique is nice, but it’s self-confidence that makes someone really sexy.” ~ Vivica A. Fox

Confidence comes with time and experience.

However, preparedness, respect and owning the material will certainly fasttrack you to becoming a confident professional speaker.

There is also something to said for the “Fake it till you make it,” philosophy.

If you lack confidence on stage, there is little chance you’ll ever earn the “professional” tag as a speaker.

In insurance sales, in all sales, confidence is everything.

This isn’t new or groundbreaking advice, but that doesn’t diminish it’s importance.

With clear control and authority of the insurance sales process comes the keys to insurance superstardom.

LESSON: You must develop confidence or you will stink at insurance sales.

5) Don’t Be Boring

This one is going to take a little self-awareness.

You can’t be boring and captivate an audience.

Sure, maybe you can be a kinda boring and sell insurance, but you can’t be boring and sell a ton of insurance. Not when so much of the competition, (direct, captive, insurtech and independent agents), are finding their voice in the digital marketplace.

People want to be educated, entertained and inspired, even when they’re buying insurance.

That doesn’t mean you need to do a song and dance routine, but adding a little personality can go a long way to building strong relationships with customers.

LESSON: If you are boring, go get interesting.