Charlie got licensed. Then the fun really started.
Selling is never easy. Selling insurance is even tougher.
Learning to sell was different than anything Charlie had ever done. While it was a little like acting in stage plays while in college, the other actors in this real-life situation weren’t following the script. So, it was more like improvisation. Charlie always enjoyed improv, so he unleashed his imagination and went after it.
It turned out that he was good at the selling insurance improv, if he could find someone to talk with. And that’s where the rubber hit the road. He was one of hundreds of insurance agents contacting businessowners about their insurance needs.
Hundreds of phone calls became thousands. He heard every reason in the universe why people didn’t want insurance. But his sales manager told him it was a numbers game – you just have to keep banging your head on that wall until the wall gives in, or in other words, the prospect will meet with you. So, Charlie banged away, day after day.
It got to the point that it was all rote. He didn’t even know what he was saying after a while. It was all a big, staticky buzz.
But occasionally, like one in every hundred calls, someone would say yes, and he got to go talk with them about their insurance needs. After he got over the initial terror of selling a total stranger something, he enjoyed it. The trick was to convince himself that he wasn’t calling on a stranger. He was going to meet a friend that he hadn’t seen in a long time – like forever! Once he started treating everyone like long lost friends and put himself in their shoes, he would find out if he could actually help them. That’s when he started enjoying the process.
After selling a few policies, he started using references to his clients when he contacted people. When talking to an auto garage, he would mention another client (not by name) who saved 25% of their insurance cost while improving their protection. The more clients he got, the easier it was to find references he could use to get an appointment.
Then he discovered the real gold – referrals. When he helped clients save money, he made a point of asking for referrals to anyone that would like to save money, which was everyone. Using referrals, his accounting became a little more complex. He created a customer relations database with a page for each client, listing their basic information, who they referred, and the results of the referral. When he needed more appointments, he called clients who had referred someone and caught up with them. During a five-minute call, he discovered any changes that may be needed to their coverages, and he would get another two or three referrals.
So, life got better. Charlie didn’t have to spend as many hours every day calling total strangers, and he used his time more effectively in talking to people interested in what he offered.
He was in business. He had a product and service. He knew how to sell it. The way Charlie saw it, there were unlimited new friends to meet.