Teleprospecting metrics give you a window into how to boost your hit rates. Everything else being equal, increasing the number of sales appointments you go on will multiply the number of sales you close. And one of the best ways to boost sales appointments is by speaking with more decision makers per calling session.
Corporate websites, LinkedIn, and other online resources can tell you who’s likely in charge of insurance buying at target companies, but you still have to get those people on the phone. These 6 strategies will take you past the run-arounds, voice mail walls and clueless gatekeepers, so you can reach more insurance decision makers in less time.
Use other people at the company to gain leverage (even if you hardly know them)
People are more likely to respond positively when they hear you mention a colleague’s name than if you sound like a complete stranger to their organization. You’re apt to have a warmer conversation and better results using the second approach below, than if you come off as completely clueless:
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with whomever is in charge of the business insurance there and they thought you might know….”
“Hi. Shirley at the reception desk said she thought you’d know who’s in charge of the business insurance.”
Ask to be connected to the Human Resources Department
Gatekeepers sometimes have no idea who’s responsible for insurance decisions. If an organization has upwards of 40 or 50 employees it’s likely there’s an HR department. You can go right to that department and ask someone there to help you speak with the person in charge of the business insurance or employee benefits.
Speak with the decision maker’s assistant
At larger corporations the decision maker often has a personal assistant who can be an ally and resource. If you can’t reach the target contact directly on the first call, ask for his assistant. Explain why you’re calling and communicate the potential benefits you can deliver so she will want to help you secure a meeting with her boss. Assistants can often provide a wealth of information such as the best times and ways to reach the contact, the company insurance shopping procedures, how they like or don’t like the current agent relationship, and more.
Call off hours
Executives are often more available before or after regular business hours, when they are less likely to be caught up in the whirlwind of office activity. Ask the GK or someone from the DM’s department (HR, Finance, etc.) if they can be reached at those times and make sure you have a phone number that will ring through to their office instead of sending you directly to voice mail.
Ask for and call their cell number
Decision makers at construction, distribution and other business classes can often be reached via their cell phones. When you can’t get them at the main number, ask the gatekeeper if it’s OK to try them on their cell and get the number.
Even when you’ve gotten a cell number, that owner or manager may not always appreciate receiving sales related calls that way. When you do reach the decision maker, be considerate and let them know how you got the number and that you hope it’s OK to call them on their cell. Then be direct and succinct about why you’re calling.
Ask to be connected to the Sales or Accounts Payable Department
If the corporate gatekeeper has no idea who is the proper contact person, ask to be connected to Accounts Payable or Sales. Even the most ornery gatekeepers are likely to put you through to these offices. Ask the person who answers for their help in getting to the individual responsible for insurance decisions. As always, be sincere and appeal to people’s natural desire to be helpful.
Ask for someone in the decision maker’s department
If you’re getting no further than the decision maker’s voice mail again, try speaking with someone in their department to determine when and how you can best get them on the phone. Underscore the potential advantage to their company. Depending on that informant’s knowledge and desire to help, you may also be able to gather quite a bit of other sales intel – are they unhappy with the incumbent’s service? How frequently and when do they typically review insurance with other agents? What are the decision maker’s likely concerns and issues around risk and coverage?
Leave voice mail that you’ll be calling back
Leaving a voice mail message that communicates a potent value proposition can pique the decision maker’s interest and increase the likelihood he’ll want to pick up the next time you call. If you have a strong or unique offer (say for an exclusive program in a particular industry) leaving that voice mail message and your direct phone number will also generate call backs from self-selecting prospects.
Use voice mail to get them to read your email
This strategy works great because people would rather read email than listen to rambling voice mail messages. You leave a message saying, “This is Paul Flavin from Expert Underwriters in New Haven. You don’t need to reply to this message but I’d appreciate it if you’d give me a quick answer to the email I’m about to send.” This works for two reasons, prospects want to reciprocate when you ask them to reply to the email, and it inspires curiosity that motivates people to check their email.