The Learning Point

Are You Selling Through the Wrong End of the Telescope?

To increase your agency premium, policy count, commission, growth and profit you need to close more sales right? That’s what most agents think, and well, there’s the trap. A trap too many agents and producers get caught in by targeting closed sales. Concentrating on closing sales is self-defeating. When you focus on closing, you are dealing with the wrong end of the process. There is a much better, documented approach to achieve the results you seek.

Consulting for agencies reveals two major problems. First, their marketing plan, systems and tools. Second, how they present insurance products and services to that market. Virtually every agency requesting sales help says, “ we need help with our closing process – we are just not closing enough sales.” So far so good – it’s obvious that they are not closing enough sales for productive growth. They truly believe closing skills are the answer to low production, lack of new business and inefficient cross selling.

Logic and Reason

Let’s look at the most critical issue for insurance sales. To close easily and effectively, insurance sales presentations should be based on great logic, good rationality, key data and critical facts, right? WRONG! While logic and reason define how most insurance “Quotes” are made, it’s now scientifically documented to be the wrong approach. This approach is not only self-defeating, it invites the cost based comparisons we hate. Why is this approach the absolute worst possible way to persuade people to say YES to your proposals for insurance products and services?

Let’s hit the back arrow and skip to the fourth Century BCE, some 2,500 years ago. In his three volumes on persuasion Aristotle wrote that it is a human failing that we are sometimes more persuaded by emotion than by logic, reason and cognitive thought. He stated that “Logos,” logic and reason, should be the best routes to persuasion. For 2,500 years, psychologists, neurologists, academics – and yes, we insurance sales people followed that dictum. We knew that emotional involvement was a deterrent, an impediment to good rational thinking and decision making.

The Breakthrough

Fast forward to the present. Breakthrough advances in brain imaging technology combined with mega computers provide a much clearer picture of what motivates decision behavior. For the first time in history we can watch live, in real time, the brain’s amazing decision making functions. We can provide a decision request and see the blood, oxygen and neuron flows as they light up specific areas of the brain. Today’s neuroscientists recently learned that Aristotle had it all wrong!

“We are not thinking machines, we are feeling machines that think.”
With these exciting new technologies we can visually see that decision making is based primarily on the brain’s emotion system, not the logic system. The book and the five part PBS series The Secret Life of the Brain (research funded by the National Science Foundation) distills this amazing new decision making information into one sentence: “We are not thinking machines, we are feeling machines that think.”

Wow! That’s incredible knowledge for insurance agents! Maybe we can learn to successfully address real brain function with the right emotional tools – the emotional feeling approach to get our YES decision.

Why is it valuable for an insurance agent to understand how the brain conducts its decision making process? Only when we understand how the brain makes decisions can we construct our insurance presentations to successfully activate those decisions.

Logic, reason and facts don’t persuade. They do not activate the brain’s emotional decision making elements. They are boring, require hard thinking, and it’s actually “brain painful” to evaluate reason and logic. In short, they don’t work. Here’s why.

Almost all sensory input including requests for decisions goes to the amygdala ( a-MIG-da-la), part of the brain’s limbic, emotional system. When the amygdala receives decision making requests it has two choices. It can trigger an immediate, automatic, emotion based gut feel decision, or if no emotional based decision is triggered, it can send the decision request to the pre-frontal cortex for lengthy, laborious literally painful cognitive evaluation. This is where too many insurance presentations get sidetracked.

Now, which approach should you employ to activate your insurance client’s “Yes!” decision, your close? It’s a no brainer – facts logic and data do not sell insurance. Facts logic and data may re-enforce the emotional decision, but why lead with elements that do not activate decisions?

We have identified the 7 internal triggers we each employ to facilitate quick easy emotion based decisions. Activate your prospect’s or client’s emotion based triggers and you are leveraging science to achieve your agency goals.

Shortcut Triggers

What is a trigger? It’s simply an emotional based shortcut we use all day every day to alleviate the pain and agony of lengthy cognitive evaluation of each and every decision we face. Triggers form our internal navigation system. Learn the triggers, activate them, and get the things you want from others – easily, quickly.

Bottom line – closing isn’t the problem, agents are just not activating the prospect’s internal navigation system, their triggers. Here’s a hint: Prospects don’t want insurance, they don’t want the absolute best, or even the cheapest coverage. They want POM – Peace of Mind! Activate the right triggers and the decision – the close- is automatic – it’s done!