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Phone Sales 101: Tricks Of The Trade From A Seasoned Pro

By: Joshua Crisp


Portrait of consultant agent man in call center smiling. Happy customer support agent working with headset while sitting at his workstation. Smiling telephone operator using computer in open office.

Ready to give phone sales a try? There’s never been a better time to return back to the sales basics of speaking with people on the phone – especially now. Whether you’re a lifelong salesperson accustomed to face-to-face transactions, or a total newbie to the entire sales industry, thriving at telesales is within your reach.

I know from experience: As an insurance agent, founder of the Entourage Agent Hub, and an educator to emerging insurance agents, I’ve made thousands of sales calls throughout my career. When I started mentoring new agents, I was making $500,000 selling insurance, so I know firsthand what it takes to succeed. I learned the ropes of sales calls through years of trial-and-error, and I’m sharing my tips so you don’t have to do the same.

Build Rapport Over The Phone

Salespeople who are used to doing business in person sometimes develop an aversion to selling over the phone. In reality, though, telesales can be just as effective as in-person sales. All you need to do is transition the exact same things you do best during in-person sales to phone conversations. The key is to create the same connection you’d have face-to-face, and that requires building a bit of extra rapport.

Start each call with the right mindset. It doesn’t matter what kind of lead you have; it matters what you say to them on the call. So focus on making the person on the other end of the line feel comfortable by showing them that you’re trustworthy.

Since I sell life insurance, the first thing I do after introducing myself is clarify who the lead’s beneficiary is. This is a way to instantly grab their attention and create a connection. Then, I start going through and confirming other details they’ve submitted about their personal information, to show them I know their needs and am not just calling them out of the blue.

It’s important to show you’re on their side. One way I do this is by letting them know that I’m licensed with over 25 different insurance companies, so they can trust that I’ll help them find the right plan for them rather than offering just one rigid option.

Explain Every Detail

When selling over the phone, you’ll need to describe details more vividly than you might during an in-person conversation. When telling my clients what types of life insurance they’re eligible for, I’ll let them know that plans come in three tiers. First, I’ll give them an overview of each tier and price point. Usually they start out thinking they want the cheapest tier, until I explain every single benefit included in the higher-priced plans.

For example, instead of just saying, “With this plan you’ll get $10,000 in life insurance for $82 a month,” I expand on all the perks. I let them know that the specific insurance company they’re choosing is A-rated by the Better Business Bureau, that the price will never go up, and that the plan offers a program that rewards them for quitting smoking. Every detail paints a clearer picture of what they’re getting, and deepens your rapport even more.

Don’t Make Appointments

Some salespeople will call and ask if the lead would rather talk now or make an appointment to talk some other time. Don’t do this! This gives leads an automatic out, and it’s likely that when you call back at the scheduled appointment time, they won’t pick up.

Instead, dive right into your conversation and sales presentation from the get-go. Operate on the assumption that the lead is ready to talk now – after all, they answered the phone, right? This one shift can do wonders for your success rate.

Close With Ease

Once you’ve built a great rapport and explained your offer in detail, it’s time to close the deal. Make the lead feel at ease by letting them know early in the conversation what information they’ll need to sign up for your product, like a credit number or bank routing number. This way, they’re not taken by surprise near the end of the chat when they were nearly ready to commit to a purchase.

In my line of work, I need a client’s Social Security number to set up their insurance policy. Nobody loves giving out personal information over the phone, so it’s my responsibility to make sure they feel at ease. I explain to them why this information is integral to the process, and that their personal details are kept completely private. I offer them my full name and insurance agent number so they can verify that I’m who I say I am.

When the lead feels ready to move forward, it’s important to make the signing process as easy as possible. If your company or service offers a voice signature process, utilize it as often as you can – that way you can close sales verbally. If signing involves an email or digital contract, make sure the software is as user-friendly as it can be. Continue to offer as much detail and transparency as possible about how the signing process works if they have any questions. And as simple as that, the deal is closed – all over a simple phone call.

If you can do face-to-face sales, you’ll have no trouble with telesales. All it takes is a few tiny shifts, and you’ll be closing nonstop before you know it.

Published: August 4, 2021

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Joshua Crisp

Joshua Crisp is founder of Family First Life Entourage and Entourage Agent Hub, a mentoring program designed to help new insurance agents bring in a great income from day one of their careers. New Agent Hub offers all the tools, training, and resources needed for insurance agents to thrive. For more information, visit entourageagenthub.com.

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