Life Assurance Salesmanship Effective Selling and Six Cylinder Points

This life assurance salesmanship introduction to effective selling points are sales process steps with examples as qualities of a salesman.

 Best Life Assurance Salesmanship Effective Selling and Six Cylinder Points

"Nothing happens anywhere in the world until a sale takes place; and sales people bring in the money that everyone else can eventually live off." - Richard Denny

How Do I Become a Professional?

A soldier who, suddenly was promoted to the rank of a General, discovered that he was the youngest man in history ever to be promoted so far. He felt proud and honoured but equally very concerned. He explained to his wife his concern about whether or not he was up to the job and if he would have the respect not only of his peers but also of his subordinates. His wife gave him some extremely sound advice: Darling, from now on, "think like a General. Speak like a General. Look like a General. Act like a General; and you will be a General''.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there could be no better advice to anyone who wishes to be recognised as a true sales professional than to: Think, Speak, Look and Act like a Professional Salesman and you will be one.

What Do Salesmen Do?

Professional Sales people help customers to make buying decisions and they close the sale. In doing this requires great knowledge and understanding of all the skills and techniques of the professional. Exhibit one of the greatest qualities of professional salesmanship which is, of course, "Persistency".

If a customer says "No" you should persist, but relax; after all, you can't win them all. Do create an atmosphere that uis enjoyable for the customer. People nowadays are far better educated, more concerned and have a greater choice than ever before. And the probem with so much sales traininig has been that the saleman has been trasined to assume that if "You say this, the customer will say that". Another great problem is that customers have never been trained.

The Six Cylinders of Professional Selling

[1].  Business Knowledge

The professional salesperson must be fully up-to-date with the overall business climate both at home and abroad. He or she should be well-read, should be able to converse with clients on marketing trends, on changes in business climates.

This information comes from listening to the radio, watching television and from reading magazines and newspapers.

[2].  Industry Knowledge

Professional salesmen must be fully informed about the industry of which they are part. They must be familiar with their competitors' products, prices and positioning. They should be aware of other people or personalities within their own industry and should know their competitions' masin selling points and new product releases.

[3].  Company Knowledge

The professional salesperson must be a good ambassador for his or her company, which means that they should be well aware of company policy, in-company schedules. they must be particularly well-informed about their company's marketing and advertising programmes and lastly, they should know the right people and departmental contracts within the organization. This will, of course, mean that from time to time, they can point their own customer or client in the right direction for assistance or further business.

[4].  Product Knowledge

That you should know your product thoroughly may seem obvious, but it is quite extraordinary how many salespersons are not fully conversant with the products that they are attempting to sell. Nothing is so frustrating for customers than salespeople who are ignorant about their products. It is a simple fact that failure to have a profound knowledge of your product you will be unable to exercise any persuasive skills. Let me state quite emphatically here that having the most knowledge about a particular product does not mean that you will win the most business. Like almost everything in life, the balance has to be right and product knowledge without sales skill is most certainly not the recipe for success. But you as the salesman must be credible. You must be able to convince your client that what you are selling will be right for him or her. There will obviously be times when the best informed salesman is caught out by a question which he has never been asked before. In such circumstances it is, of course, quite in order to apologize to the client and give him the information as soon as you have the answers. This is an exception not a rule.

[5]. Sales Skills

Even those of you who have been in sales for many years will agree that from time to time you forget the basic rules of professional selling. You may know them but are you operating by those rules? The sheer pressure of the current business market causes many good salesmen to get themselves into a rut or a comfort zone. They forget to use the sales skills that they learned many years previously.

[6].  Attitude

This is, of course, the ultimate characteristic that distinguishes the winners from the losers. Star professional salesmen in the 80:20% ratio category. Knowledge is power, we are told. Infact, in the world of professional selling, knowledge is a potential power. Why, we all get paid for using our knowledge, not for just knowing. It is not that you know that matters, it is who you know that really matters. But that, of course, is not strictly true either. It is what you do with who you know that really matters.

The Basic Factors in a Sale

The aim of every salesman engaged in commerce is to sell goods or services for money. To do this, you need knowledge and ability. These two qualities together with suitable training and experience should produce a successful salesman.

The five major questions:

[1].    What business are we really in?
[2].    Who are our customers?
[3].    What do they want and desire?
[4].    How can we best distribute our products to them?
[5].    How can we communicate most effectively with them?

Three Factors Diagram

Best Three Factors Diagram


The Mr. Salesman: In modern commerce, the salesman is a person who makes his living by selling goods and services for money to other people.

A successful; salesman earns good pay and a good living, but if not, his standard of living will not be high. It is therefore as important to him personally as it is to his ER that the salesman makes a success in his career which means selling as much as he possibly can.

A successful salesman is one of the most important persons involved in modern commerce. This is becuase in selling goods and services for money is the foundation of all modern business and industry. An excellent article may be prouced by a factory, but if it is not sold, all the work of the people who designerd and made the article will be wasted. The modern world of commerce recognises the importance of the salesman and there is always a great demand for capable men and women to be employeed in selling. Therefore, a good salesman has excellent employment prospects. Task for example the making of a bicycle. First the designer, building the factory, metals purchased, staff engaged and trained to produce the article. Finally, the bibcyle is presented in the showroom. If after all these the bicycle is not sold, all the time, work and investment will be a total waste.

The Qualities Required of a Salesman

The very nature of his work demands the salesman to meet people of all walks of life. It is absolutely vital that the salesman makes a very good impression right from the onset on everyone whom he meets, i.e. even before he starts to talk about the items that he has for sale. He can do this best by first presenting a neat and tidy appearance. This can be attained by careful attention to cleanliness and to personal hygiene. A salesman wearing dirty or badly ironed clothes or who has not washed or shaved properly will not create a good impression and will not therefore succeed as a salesman.

After cleanliness comes fitness. Efficiency depends to a large extent on physical and mental fitness. A salesman often has to be able to think quickly and to give answerrs to questions about what he is selling without hesitations; he must be mentally alert, and have a good memory for faces and for facts.

Other qualities of the salesman is to succeed:

[1]. Honesty: A salesman must be honest both in his dealings with customers and in his relationship with his employer. A salesman who is known to be honest will be trusted and will be recommended to others by even his customers and thus increase his sales. 

[2]. Loyalty: He must be loyal to his employer whose interests he represents and to his customers on whose goodwill his livelihood depends.

[3]. Punctuality: The salesman will always have appointments to interview new and regular customers and to demonstrate his goods, must be on time for such appointments. A late-coming salesman loses business and cannot prosper and cannot meet targets and finally, will lose his job. Keep your diary up-to-date. In business, time is valuable, buy yourself a watch.

[4]. Diligence: Must make efforts to find and to keep customers; must be pains-taking and industrious up his connections. Be constant in pleasing and satisfying your customers so that in turn he can canvass for you.

[5]. Amiability: Expect to meet rude and unpleasant people but no matter how appearing they may be, you must keep your temper, remain amiable, calm, and polite. In no circumstances should a salesman repay rudeness with more rudeness - to do so may give him a moment satisfaction - but will not get him the sales that he wants.

[6]. Good Speech: The art of salesmanship depends on the ability to persuade and to convince. To do this, you must first cultivate a pleasant voice and a confident manner of speech. The salesmanship must be able to communicate adequately with potential customers and so it is obvious that he must be able to speak their language and speak it correctly. To obtain good sales, speak simple and correct language so your customer cannot buy something he does not understand. Avoid using `slangs' expressions or unfamiliar words. At all times use good and clear language to sell your goods.

[7]. Neatness: It is a worldwide practice that salesmen in our categories must dress neatly with a tie and coat if a man. This is to give a good impression on people. You are recognised by your dressing and ability of expression. To sum up, I can say that a salesman must first sell himself to the buyer if he is to give himself the best chance of making a sale. 

Knowing About the Product

Often a buyer walks into a shop and tells the shop attendant exactly what he wants to buy; pays for the article bought and then walks out of the shop again. A sale has been made "Salesmanship" has not been used because the shop attendant merely had to find what the buyer asked for; wrap it up and collect the money for it. The salesman must know everything that he can about his product and be able to answer, without hesitation any questions asked by the prospect.

What is Salesmanship

The act or skill of persuading someone to buy but where the buyer does not need to be persuaded to buy, then salesmanship does not need to be used. To persuade someone to buy, a salesman must know as much as possible about the product for he will have to describe his product to the potential buyer quite convincingly, by answering all questions relating to the product accurately without hesitation. There is an obvious need for a salesman to know the product he is selling or about to sell. The major objective is best achieved by spending time on learning all about the product you sell; it will be to your benefit, also to your employer and to your buyer and will build up goodwill for yourself in the future. Remember at all times that there are other competitors in the field and if you are not able to give a prospect the information he wants, then he will go to another salesman.

Selling Services

A service that is intangible is a product that cannot be seen or touched or tested or smelt. Only the result of the service performed can be seen or felt. In fact many salesman earn very good livings by selling services of different kinds. The skill of the salesman is very important in the selling of a service. He must be able to present the service to the prospect so that in his mind the service becomes a "Real" thing as the salesman talks about it and describe it. This service can be sold either by the salesman calling on prospects in their houses, shops, officers or at very busy factory/industry. You should now be able to understand why the selling of services calls for the highest qualities of salesmanship. They must always present a clean, smart and tidy appearance; be able to talk fluently and at a great length about the services they are selling, describing them very clearly. They must know everything that they possibly can about the services they are selling and must be able to answer any questions about them in detail and without hesitation.

The centre point of my expression is about the sale of insurance and life assurance as an intangible product that cannot be seen, or touched, or tested or smelt. However, as the thing being sold in this case is a service, the prospect cannot see it, or even visualize it (see it in his mind) easily.

Insurance

It provides protection (called "COVER") against unusual events which may or may not occur e.g. the burning of as house, the thief of some belongings, a motor car accident, etc. the object of insurance is to repay the buyer (called "THE INSURED") any financial lose which may occur if certain items of his property are lost or damaged, or if he himself is injured.

There are different branches of insurance - fire, accient, burglary, marine,aviation, oil, engineering, life pensions, property etc. and like any other salesman, the insurance salesman must learn everything he can about his product, which in the case of insurance is a service because the insured cannot see or feel the protection. The insured buys ("take out") an insurance policy to protect himself from financial loss if a certain event occurs,usually for a certain period, like a year,and if the event does not occur during the period, that is the end of the matter unless he wants to take out a policy for a further period.

What is Policy

This is a written agreement about any type of insurance. A policy document is issued by the insurance company to all its customers (called "POLICYHOLDER"). It is a contract document between insurer and insured, e.g. My fire policy states that I shall be paid N100,000,000 if my house burns down through fire.

Life Assurance

This is a contract between the insurance company and the insured under which the company agrees to pay a certain sum of money when the policy "matures".  A life policy matures at the stipulated year it was stated or at death whichever comes first. Life assurance is really a special kind of insurance and it provides for the payment of a sum of money if one or two things happens:

[1]. Either the person assured lives until the policy matures.
[2]. He or she dies during the term of the policy.

One of these two events MUST occur. Other forms of insurance give cover against events which may never occur, and which in most cases never do occur, e.g. many people insure their premises against fire, but only a few of them experience such a catastrophe. However, thwey all need to apy gor insurance because it is not possible to tell in advance who will suffer a fire and who will not.

Buyers of insurance come from many classes of society. They may be owners of property like houses, departmental stores, factories, warehouses, etc. who wish to insure against loss by fire. They may be businessmen or householders who wish to insure against loss of goods by theft. They may be motor car owners who must by law, be insured against injury to other people and who may also want to insure against damage to their cars, their passengers and to themselves. They may be by ordinary people who want to provide a sum of money for their families in the event of their dying.

Open Field

often the prospective insured knows that he needs insurance, or that he must have it by law, but the insurance salesman (often called the "INSURANCE AGENT") or marketing executive or sales representative, etc. must ensure that the policy is bought from his company.

Even more often the agent has to find and sell to his prospects, e.g. an agent who sells life assurance must do so by calling on people in their house or office. As already explained he must be clean, smart and tidy and must pay particular attention to personal hygiene. He must know everything about the life assurance policies which he sells and must be able to talk about them fluently and at length.

Marketing

Everyday he reads his local newspapers or listens to his local radio advertisements, about births, traditional marriage and weddings. One day he reads that a son has been born to Mr. and Mrs. X, it's their first child. As Mr. X, a bank clerk, it would not be a good thing to try to meet him at his place of work, or to call at his house during working hours. Make your plans to meet him at his house in the evening.

Sales Techniques Discussion

At the house he introduces himself to Mr. and Mrs. X, states the name of his company and congratulates him on the birth of his son. If the agent has attracted favourable attention to himself by his appearance and his manner of speaking, he will be invited inside ther house to hear more from him. Once inside, he must transfer the facourable attention of his product, in this case LIFE ASSURANCE. He does this by mentioning that the baby boy has brought added responsibilities to Mr. ABC and by suggesting that now is the time for him to think about life assurance, both as a way of providing security for his family and also of saving to pay for the child's education.

Mr. X may reply that he already has insurance, but the agent will explain that what gave security just for Mr. X's wife, will not be enough for the baby as well. Now the agent must arouse interest and he does this by describing the different types of policy available, fully and clearly. If he can find out from Mr. X or his wife what ambitions they have for the child, and what they can afford to pay, he will know which policies to talk about most. In order to do this, he must, of course, know everything about the policies he is selling. It is the agent's duty to suggest the policies which best suit Mr. X's situation and pocket, as well as the best way to arouse interest.

In order to create desire in Mr. X (and his wife, too, as she may well be the one to influence the husbandwhether or not the agent is able to sell a policy), the benefits of life assurance must be stressed. The main advantages is security for his wife and child in the event of any happening that must be mentioned over and over again, as well as the point that life assurance is also a way of saving for the future and most importantly it is the complete collateral for investments. Whilst arousing interest and creating desire to Mr. X family, the agent has already said much to convince the prospect that he does need life assurance. To do tthis, continue to repeat the advantages to be gained by having life assurance policcy. Additional benefits include savings on income tax. In mentioning costs, explain that the "premiums" as the payments are called, can be paid on different frequencies i.e. monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly, and on receipt of his cheque, the cover will start as soon as the first payment has been paid.

Naturally, the agent may not be able to complete the "sale" on his first visit, and he may have to return to see Mr. X and his wife a number of times. It is by perseverance, his knowledge of the benefits of assurance, and his confident manner and way of speaking, he should in the end be able to persuade Mr. X to take out one of his policies.

Source: A paper presented by Matthew Gab Akpan during the Life Assurance Salesmanship Seminar organized by Anchor Insurance Company Limited, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, (10th - 12th April, 2001)  

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Nsikak Andrew: Life Assurance Salesmanship Effective Selling and Six Cylinder Points
Life Assurance Salesmanship Effective Selling and Six Cylinder Points
This life assurance salesmanship introduction to effective selling points are sales process steps with examples as qualities of a salesman.
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