Albert Einstein once remarked, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” In the world of insurance sales, curiosity is not just a trait, it’s a tool. A tool that, when wielded through adept questioning, can unveil the precise needs of your clients. Let’s explore how you transform curiosity into successful insurance sales questions and techniques.
When it comes to developing an insurance sales process, the better you are at identifying the pain of your client the more business you will write because you can much more accurately recommend solutions that matter to the client. If you don’t have a clear understanding of your client’s pain, you end up featuring everything you could do for them and not necessarily what they will find valuable. Rather than throwing the kitchen sink at the client, you want to be able to confidently go into your presentation knowing that you are communicating a very valuable solution to that specific client.
The only way that you can have that confidence is to uncover those pain points for the client in your Assess stage. You do that through insurance sales questions and techniques that help you uncover what the client cares about.
Be Genuinely Curious
Being genuinely curious about your client’s situation is certainly the best way to learn about them. If you are genuinely curious, you can cover up a lot of deficiencies you may have while you get better at asking the right questions. Curiosity starts with having a conversation about what the client is going through and what they are concerned about. The more curious you are about their situation the more they will open up.
Clients can sense when you have a pre-conceived goal for your meeting – i.e. selling them an insurance policy. They will bring their guard up and not want to give you any information that you can use to “sell” them something. That is not the feeling you want to convey. You want to convey a sense that you care about them (and you should genuinely care) and what they are going through. By getting to a deeper level of understanding and relationship with the client, you will understand what they care about, what they are going through and where you can bring value.
That curiosity then leads to effective follow-up insurance sales questions.
Effective Question Asking
Having genuine curiosity can get you a long way in the conversation, but you will need to get really good at effective question-asking techniques to take your skill to the next level. I have written a whole post on the types of questions you can use to drive conversation with the client.
There are two types of questions that you want to use in your sales process that will drive the conversation forward and to the result you want: open-ended and closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions help the client speak freely, clarify and elaborate. You can encourage them to continue speaking freely, giving you more information, by using sentences that start with probing words such as “why” or “what” to start the conversation. Some examples include:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What is important to you?
- What are you currently doing about that?
- Why did you decide to take that approach?
- How are you are handling that?
- How did you make that decision?
Closed-ended probes are designed to check for your understanding or confirm a need. These are typically used at very specific times in the conversation. They are not going to get any new information out of the client, but they will confirm information you have already heard. I like to use these to put what the client said into my own words and have them agree or disagree with what I heard them say just make sure we are on the same page. Some examples of closed-ended questions include:
- Are you ready to make a decision?
- Are you currently doing XYZ?
- Do you do XYZ in your current process?
- Would it be important to you to…?
- Would it be better if you could…?
- Would you like to have a way to…?
Now, you can ask the best insurance sales questions in the world but if you don’t actually hear and understand what the client says then you might as well have not asked the question at all. This is a skill you will want to learn and develop over time. It is called active listening. What is active listening? Have you ever asked someone a question and then when they were done answering you realize that you didn’t actually hear anything that they said. You go to write your notes down and can’t remember anything. That is because you were not actively listening to what they were saying. You may have been already thinking about your response or your next question.
Active listening is intentionally listening to the client’s answer and showing you are listening with the intention to understand what they are saying. You want to listen for things like circumstances, needs, and the need behind the need. A customer’s needs don’t exist in vacuum. Customers have needs because of the circumstances that surround them. These circumstances may include:
- Facts, conditions and events in the customer’s environment.
- Feelings and opinions the customer has about the facts, conditions and events.
Practice makes Perfect
As with any new skill you aren’t going to be great at asking in-depth questions right away. This is a muscle that you need to train with practice. With the right development over time, you’ll be able to implement insurance sales questions techniques that build trust and deepen relationships.
Here is a great exercise I love to do that combines active listening with great question asking. Role play with a peer, but in the conversation you can only ask questions. You cannot respond to them unless you respond in the form of a question. The goal is to keep the conversation going for as long as you can while only asking questions. Now, here is where the active listening part comes in: The questions you ask have to be about the last statement the other person made, no matter what they say.
This forces you to actively listen to the other person’s answer because you can only ask your next question based on their answer. It also forces you to get good at formulating questions on the fly because you can’t plan out your next question.
That is a great exercise and there are many others. At the end of the day, you just have to start asking more questions in your daily life. You will be shocked by what you learn about people just by starting with a good open-ended question.
In summary, there are a lot of techniques that go into good insurance sales questions. We have only scratched the surface here but wanted to provide some very practical techniques that you can apply with clients and prospects. Remember that the better your questions the more you will learn and the more effective you can be!