It’s often thought of as comeuppance, or the justice of the universe, but that’s not quite right. Karma basically refers to natural cause and effect. If you plant barley seeds, you can grow barley. If you plant wheat, you’ll get wheat.
And along with the right seeds, you need the right conditions — light, water, earth and nutrients – for the seeds to take root and grow. If these circumstances are absent, or out of balance, you won’t harvest any crops.
The same principles apply in the realm of sales.
Sometimes the sales cycle is very direct and immediate. You meet with a prospect, work up a proposal, and close the deal. But often the process takes longer. With commercial insurance, renewal dates and other factors can prolong that time between prospecting and closing.
Sales professionals are frequently compared to hunters going after prey. But the farming analogy also applies, especially when it comes to nurturing prospects over time. Nurturing is based on the principles of how things actually work.
The art of selling is grounded in the science of human nature. By understanding what each prospect needs and wants, you know what you have to do to influence them to become your clients.
Of course, with even the most attentive efforts there will always be unexpected conditions that stall or stop a sale from happening.
But when you understand the karma of lead nurturing, you can apply the natural laws of cause and effect to keep prospects engaged and motivated through each stage of the sales cycle.
TRUST, ADVANTAGES, AND VALUE
Because every prospect is different, success depends on reading people’s motivations – recognizing what they want and value.
Sometimes price is the driving force; sometimes it’s service or coverage.
But whatever the ultimate arena of competition, everything starts with trust and confidence.
For relationships to take root and grow there has to be mutual trust.
Business prospects should trust your integrity, your expertise in their industry and your commitment to solving their problems and caring for their needs.
We trust the familiar and feel uneasy with the unknown. We also trust by association. If a person or company we know and respect endorses a brand, we’re likely to trust that brand as well.
You can’t simply engender trust by telling people to trust you. But you can cultivate that confidence by example, by association, and through familiarity.
Prospects need to feel they are going to benefit in some meaningful way by becoming your client. And with rare exceptions, those prospects already have an agent relationship, so you’ve got to show them, clearly and specifically, what advantages they’ll get by becoming your client. And once they make that change, you’ve got to continue to remind them of all the advantages you’re providing.
Leads are nurtured most effectively when your messages are specific, personal, and potent. The same way that “Trust me” comes off pretty lame, “We’ll do a great job for you” doesn’t say much either. Prospects want to hear about your successes with comparable companies. Case studies, concrete examples, and real life anecdotes convey way more than boring homilies.
Value is about the economics of buying decisions. It considers the big picture and the balance of all the considerations that impact those decisions – time, reputation, personalities, business reputations, and so on – anything that adds to or subtracts from the buyer’s perceived status as a result of a particular decision.
Lowering premium rates, even significantly, won’t add up to greater value if the client isn’t covered for exposures that result in costly claims.
For some people the value of driving an expensive foreign car outweighs the practical advantages of fuel economy and low maintenance costs. For some companies, doing business with an “uptown,” prestigious agency may outweigh the advantages that a smaller, less impressive agent can deliver.
You’ll be able to nurture your prospects best by focusing on what they value most.
One last point, if it’s not obvious already. Plants don’t need to know how well you’re taking care of them, but people do. It’s easy for prospects and clients to take your work for granted.
Communication is key. Make sure your clients are well aware of the value of every aspect of your business relationship.