Is there someone on your sales team who seems to have all the luck? You know, that guy who’s always telling excited stories about how he landed a great referral or turned a new account into a multiple win by picking up the insurance for the brother-in-law’s fast food franchise?
Well, I hate to break the romantic spell, but those kind of “lucky” breaks don’t just come from clean living and good karma. In fact, it’s not about luck at all. It’s the way those salespeople pay attention and keep asking astute questions.
Take our lead generation client, Michael, for example. Last year, we scheduled an appointment for him with a restaurant in Philadelphia located in one of those upscale touristy emporiums filled with eateries and retail shops.
Michael’s a friendly guy, and he uses his natural social charm to engage easily with everyone he deals with. He doesn’t use a predefined strategy, but his process, though seemingly casual and spontaneous, follows a pattern I’ve dubbed with the acronym P.A.C.E: Proximity – Association – Connection – Extension.
What he does is so simple and often amazingly productive.
Once he’s closed an account and delivered the policies to a new client, he asks about other nearby businesses. That’s the Proximity piece.
After all, he’s just saved these people money, improved their coverage, made them happier with better service and support, or solved a risk problem for them.
“What businesses do you know around here that might be open to speaking with me for a minute, just to see if we’re able to offer a better deal on their insurance too?”
He can then visit those businesses, or call and by way of introduction let them know what he’s done for their neighbor. Last month, that simple question got him intros to 3 other near-by restaurants and he ended up writing all three.
In the interconnected world of business, everyone has customers they sell to and suppliers they buy from. So Michael tries to make connections there as well. He’s so casually efficient about those questions that his clients are usually pleased and even enthusiastic to share details and contact names.
“Hey”, he might say, “I see you’re carrying those fabulous Lore’s Chocolates. I insure quite a few food processors and I’d love to talk with those guys. Who do you deal with there?”
Michael’s skill at engaging with all kinds of people can be pretty amazing. When he wrote the coverage for an auto repair place recently, he struck up a conversation with the bookkeeper who handled the insurance and discovered that she also did the same thing for her local church. The upshot? He soon added the church to his growing client roster.
At that church, meeting with the bookkeeper and the Pastor, Michael and his new clients enjoyed a lively conversation about potholes and school rezoning in the town, and Michael learned that the Pastor wasn’t at all happy with the way his online insurance company handled his daughter’s recent accident claim. As a result of that conversation, he ended up extending his services to include the Pastor’s home, three cars, and a boat.
Not everyone is a natural schmoozer on the same order as Michael, but any producer can invoke their friendly curiosity and pick up their PACE to multiply the business they write.
Have any related ideas or stories of your own you’d like to share? Just add them to the comments below. And if you know someone who’d like hearing about the PACE strategy – pass it along!