According to a recent study on issues facing the life insurance industry, 56% of the agents said that their biggest sales problem is client procrastination. And, as you might imagine, this problem is not unique to the insurance industry. Every sales professional feels frustrated when they’re put on hold even after receiving all the buying signals, including agreement with your solutions, price and service. Whether it’s insurance, financing, information technology or investing in equipment, sales people want a reason. Is the client being honest? Are there other issues we don’t know about? Is it our competition? Or did we just not create enough value in their mind.
Let’s explore 3 reasons your client might procrastinate.
1- Value perception.
The client did not perceive enough value. And, without value, there will be no investment. You must demonstrate the REAL benefits of your solution? Will it make money, save money, provide peace of mind for their family or will it improve their competitive position. The formula to use is Value = Benefit/Cost. Without value the only thing that is evident to the client is the cost, which usually does not play in your favor. Convey the value in their terms not yours. Recognized value will usually help to prevent procrastination.
2- Client needs.
Value is built when you understand your client’s needs. Strategic and well thought out questions are the keys to success. If you want better understanding of the client’s situation, ask better questions. Here’s the problem many sales professionals face- you ask questions to satisfy your own need to move the sale along without truly uncovering their needs. You ask questions to qualify them instead of asking the deeper questions that help to build a trusting relationship. Statistics show that clients only give 20% of the information they have. To gain access to the other 80% you have to build trust. As the expert, you’re expected to act as the consultant providing and recommending the best direction. When they turn the tables and start asking you questions about your solution, you know you’re on the right track. If they start stalling, you know you still have more value to provide.
3- Dead air.
The last point is the toughest. You don’t know why the client is not getting back to you. You conveyed value, you asked all the right questions to gain their interest, and they say that they are ready to act yet they fall off the face of the earth. Is it just me or does this seem to happen more often than ever before? First, you’re excited and then you’re let down. You don’t know what happened. Did they find another solution? Did their priorities change? All you can think about is how you can get them to return your call? It can be tough – your clients and prospects are being bombarded with so much information that it is often very difficult to cut through the clutter. Be creative; leave a voicemail that reminds them of THEIR need that you solve. You might also send a follow up email reviewing the needs that they shared and why THEY said you were a good solution for them. Tell them you’re happy to address any new concerns that may have come up. If their silence continues, yet you still believe they’re a sound prospect, go back into the ‘add value’ stage of the relationship and see what happens.
Procrastination by your clients and prospects is frustrating, but the situation usually leaves clues. Review the process and reconsider the following:
1. Did the client recognize the value that you offered?
2. Did you uncover their most important needs?
3. How can you overcome their silence by adding more value?
If your prospecting and qualifying processes were sound, be patient and remember that you have a good solution, which in time they will remember.