As technology advances it changes how we sell. Over the past decade, we have experienced a lot of changes in the insurance industry and in the business world at large. People are buying different ways, companies are introducing digital only business transactions, marketing has become a large part of the consumer experience and so much more is happening.
While agency owners and experts argue about the “correct” way to do business, I look at it this way. Technology is here, so let’s take advantage of what we can in a way that’s beneficial for us.
I am not here to tell you your agency must sell this way or must adapt this strategy. The purpose of this blog is simple. To share tools that salespeople can adapt to their daily lives which will allow them to sell more effectively and efficiently.
A Quick Note about the following Sales Tools
In this blog I use specific companies and examples of sales tools. This is not an endorsement of these products and these companies are not sponsors or partners of us at inBuzz.
In our sales experience these are the tools we have used personally and know that they work well. But feel free to Google or explore any other options you see fit.
Now, onto the tools you have been wanting to read about!
Video conferencing tools
Being local is great. However, with the experience brought by Amazon.com, Netflix and other companies that allow the distributor to house experiences without customers having to put pants on driving to the local agency or being put on hold seems like a lot of work.
Video conferencing tools allow your busy clients to “meet” with you “in-person” without actually meeting you in person. This is great for face to face conversations but unfortunately too many business stop at the face to face.
Using video conferencing simply to look at the other person is no different then a phone call really. Video conferencing is so much more powerful than that.
You can walk through proposals, show them comparisons, and even allow them to take control of your computer screen to “touch” the reports or paperwork you are showing them. They can be 1000 miles away but feel like you are sitting right at the table with them. At least when used correctly.
(This is a sample of GoToMeeting’s software )
Benefits of Video Conferencing
- Saves travel time for you and clients
- Allows you to meet face to face with prospects/clients you normally would not have the opportunity to
- Explore documents together
- No pants required
Online Calendar Meeting Links
You: “I have these three times available this week to talk”
Prospect: “None of those times work for me. What about Friday at 2”
You: “That doesn’t work. What about Next week on Wed…”
The back and forth meeting set up can be quite annoying when two people with busy schedules need to get together. But online meeting calendars can cut out this annoyance by allowing prospects/clients to view your available times and pick one which works for them.
Not only is this great for them, but it also saves you time.
You can open your entire calendar for them to choose anytime which works for them or set aside specific hours in your calendar on specific days when you prefer to do those types of phone calls. How you set it up is up to you.
When set up correctly, it also save you time with double entry because it will automatically set up the appointment in your calendar and theirs with a reminder.
(This is a free version of Hubspot’s meeting booking that we use)
Benefits of Online Meeting Calendars
- Saves time
- Cuts out confusing communication
- Auto input into calendar with confirmation
A sales team’s best friend (besides a marketer who brings tons of qualified leads) is definitely a CRM. A CRM is a great way to sell more effectively and efficiently. As a busy sales person, you need to be able to access prospect and client info at the touch of a button. You need to be able to add notes, documents, follow up times and future appointments in a simple way.
Lets face it. Some AMS systems really fall flat on helping you sell better. Sure they are great for inputting data and client information but many do little to actually help you in the sales process.
Imagine if after your inital discovery meeting with a large potential client, you got into your car, pulled out your phone, added their information into a mobile CRM system, and it immediately sent a notification to your office for someone to begin working on the quote. With that same button click, it also set up a reminder in your calendar that would notify you to follow up X hours later. And if that’s convenient, what if it also sent an automatic thank you email to the client with your contact info and agency information.
CRMs are powerful systems and modern ones can make sales life so much easier. Yes, it is an extra point of data entry, but the ability to manage contacts, deals, set tasks, reminders, and balance team efforts all in one place is powerful.
(This is a test sample of Hubspot’s CRM that we use)
Benefits of using a CRM
- Better manage accounts and opportunities
- A more efficient team effort with the ability to set reminders and tasks
- Automation allowing you to save time
- More effective selling by seeing deals and your pipeline at a glance
Have you ever wondered if prospects were ignoring your emails or if they simply never got a chance to open them? People are busy. You want to stay on top of prospects to ensure they do not slip through the cracks but you do not want to bug them too much if they simply had not gotten a chance to respond.
Track-able emails allow you to see when or if someone opens your emails. It also allows you to see if they click on any links you sent them or opened any documents you may have sent.
These insights can be priceless when it comes to your sales process.
(This is a sample of the tracking emails we use within our Hubspot portal)
Benefits of Track-able emails
- Knowing when and if a prospect opens your email
- Insights into what causes emails to get missed
- Help perfectly time your sequencing/workflows
You cannot walk down the street, walk into a building, or go anywhere without seeing someone check a text on their phone. Even at work people are constantly checking text messages (whether they are supposed to be or not). If you want to communicate with clients and prospects texting is a powerful tool.
Now I know texting via your personal cell has a lot of grey areas, but that is where desktop texting comes into play.
Instead of each sales person sending text messages from their own phones, you can set up a texting platform using your office’s number. Send texts from your phone or you computer screen and the conversation is instantly tracked and monitored in your CRM system. No need to go back to the office and add conversation notes after you’ve texted prospects all day.
Prospects can’t talk to you on the phone while they are at work. And most likely they would prefer not to talk to you when they would rather be spending their free time relaxing or with family. Texting allows you to communicate easier with people in a more convenient way for them.
(This is a sample from ZipWhip’s Business Texting Platform)
Benefits of Texting
- Ease of communication
- Faster and increased responses from prospects and clients
- Convenience in the sales process (value for clients)
Nothing says value and convenience like having to find time in my busy schedule to drive to my agent’s office and sign paperwork. You could always visit your clients as well and allow them to sign the paper work. And of course there is always the mail. But wouldn’t it be great if you could have a prospect sign on the dotted line right when they say yes. Even if they are two states over?
E-signatures are a great way for sales people to avoid interruption in a prospects day by allowing them to sign wherever they are. It also saves you as a sales person a ton of time from having to worry about chasing down signatures or having your agency chase down payments.
We are all human. I always intend on signing paperwork and returning it to doctor offices, dentists, banks, and my insurance agent but I forget. Or I get busy. Then they have to call and remind me. E-signatures cut out the hassle for their office and my life.
Benefits of E-Signatures
- Extremely valuable for your business clients
- Instant signatures
- Save money on paper transactions and mail costs
- Go “green”
Social media can be used for more than posting your lunch and cocktails. Social media gives you free access to clients and to details about your prospects and their business.
Want to know about a business before you cold call? Check their profiles.
Wonder if someone can help you get your foot in the door at a business? Check if you have any connections who work there or knows someone who works there.
Want to know what is important to someone or their business? Check their social pages.
People put so much free information out on the web that it is foolish not to get a glimpse into what they are doing. Sure not every business or prospect is going to be active online but it is worth at least looking.
But social media is more than just a sales tool. It can allow you to better foster your relationships. I’m going to skip all the marketing talk about social media and even using social media to connect with people in the sales process. Just being available on social media is huge for the customer experience. Clients being one click away to shoot you a question is a powerful weapon in your arsenal for the customer experience.
(This is a screenshot of State Auto Insurance’s Linkedin Profile)
Benefits of Social Media
- Free research on prospects
- Foster relationships
- Add convenience to the customer experience
Choosing the Right Digital Tools to Implement
Some salespeople are going to adapt everyone of these tools. Some of you are going to pick one or two. How you choose is entirely up to you.
Do not get caught up in the “coolest” or the newest digital tools. Think about your current sales process or daily sales life. Is there an area where you constantly think “It would be so much easier if I could just _______.” Or “I wish I didn’t have to spend so much time doing _______ instead of selling.” These are usually statements that allow digital tools to bring value into your daily life.
You also want to think about it from your ideal customer’s point of view. Will adapting a new digital tool bring value to their buying experience or make it easier?
These are the questions you must ask to assess whether the time or financial investment is worth it.
If you have questions on anything in this blog then feel free to ask or reach out if you need help discovering the right sales tools for you.
Hope this was helpful!