Demolishing Sales Roadblocks

Insurance sales professionals take pride in being good at what they do, and invest a lot of time and energy in staying on top of their professional game.

They track trends and behavioral science, constantly hone objection-handling skills, and devour insights and best practices from peers and industry leaders – all to smooth the way for the next sale.

While all those things undoubtedly contribute to sales success, some people still hit sales roadblocks. I believe the single biggest thing sales professionals can do to take their business to the next level is examine their own psychology.

Sales Fail Triggers

A few years ago, when I was looking for ways to improve my health and wellness, I picked up Marshall Goldsmith’s book, “Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts – Becoming the Person You Want to Be.”

It was an eye-opener. Not only did it help me identify some beliefs that held me back personally, it led me to identify some common mental blocks that get in the way of so many sales people professionally.

I call this list of self-sabotaging behaviors “The 7 Sales Fail Triggers.” They’re mental blind spots that keep us from achieving our goals, whether it’s meeting a sales quota, or just keeping customer and prospect records up-to-date.

I often write about the full list of attitudes that I believe contribute to sales self-sabotage. Here, I want to focus on the most common patterns that come up again and again in my conversations with insurance agents and brokers.

The good news is, you can address these mental habits yourself – without asking your clients to life a finger – and move the profit needle, every single month.

Sales Fail Trigger 1: The ‘Special Day’

“No one wants to hear from me on a Monday.” “Sales don’t happen on a Friday.” “Customers don’t pick up their phones the day after a holiday.”

Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve used the same logic in your business when making sales calls or following up with leads. There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on what the best day is for selling or prospecting. Want to know why that is? Because no day is special.

This is the chief area where I see professionals undermining their own success. They tell themselves that certain days don’t lend themselves to successful sales, and that these particular days are not a good time for productive conversations or for closing new business.

The result? A particular day of the week becomes an excuse to take their foot off the pedal.

But think about it: Why is one day better or worse than another? Prospects are just as likely to have competing priorities, fires to put out, family commitments, meetings or any number of other distractions to deal with on a Monday as they are on a Tuesday or Wednesday. There’s no reason to believe that they’ll be more or less receptive to your sales pitch based on what day you talk to them.

While you’re hanging back, giving them “space” you think they need, you’re letting opportunities slip through your fingers. If you believe one day a week is bad for business, you’re passing up 52 days’ (or 400 hours’) worth of potential sales opportunities every year.

If you want to sell more policies and sign up more clients, embrace the fact that in sales, every day is as good as another. Don’t give yourself permission to let up on the work because today falls on a certain spot on the calendar. Every day offers a unique opportunity.

Sales Fail Trigger 2: It’s Not Me, It’s Them

As human beings, we’re really bad at objective self-assessment. We believe we can judge without bias, and that we can see others’ actions and motivations just as clearly.

It’s not all that surprising. In a study of more than 800,000 participants, Goldsmith found that 70% of respondents believed they were in the top 10% of their peer group, and 98.5% believed they were in the top half!

In the context of business interactions, this can be deadly for assessing the situation and closing sales. In fact, two things we almost always overestimate in prospects is (a) how much they like us personally, and (b) how motivated they are (or aren’t) to buy from us.

Anyone who’s missed a quota or failed to meet their quarterly numbers can probably relate. You look back on an opportunity that you thought was a sure thing and end up tracing the failure to one (or both) of these areas.

Then you might project the failure onto the prospect. They “delayed their decision” or “changed their mind,” or you “weren’t the right person to talk to in the first place.” You fail to recognize that you had your own assumptions going in, and never adjusted them.

The problem is, when you buy into that belief, you deny yourself the chance to improve your approach or just move on. So what do you do?

First, acknowledge that this is a blind spot. Second, look at your CRM system or whatever you’re using to track customers and leads. What does the historic data say about the likelihood of winning new business?

Finally, get an outside perspective. Ask a trusted colleague or team leader for their take on the sales situation you’re trying to judge.

These strategies will help you to take your blinders off and reframe the situation. You’ll determine whether you need to work on the relationship, or just shift gears to focus your energy on a more promising opportunity.

Either way, you’ll stop spinning your wheels.

Article By: Millie Blackwell

Source: National Underwriter