Have you ever spoken with an agent or consultant of an organization and it just left a bad taste in your mouth? The first assumption you may have may be that they were a liar, too pushy, or just having a sleazy demeanor. That wasn’t it at all. If anything he was very nice, seemed to be trustworthy, and an overall good person. The part that was so disturbing is how unprofessional he was and how much his lack of discipline cost him business.
Here’s what happened. I was at a trade show and I walked up to an insurance booth where they were giving away a prize. All you have to do is give them you contact information. I said to myself, “okay, I’ll bite”.
On the form I was filling out, it had an area to be checked if you are interested in more information in insurance. I spoke to the older man briefly, dropped of my form and went on my way. Two weeks later (yes two weeks) I received a call from a female from the insurance agency.
She said “Hi. My name is ____________. We spoke at the trade show last week, and you had said you are interested in insurance.”
“We did?” I replied
“Yes and I’d like a schedule a time to meet with you and see which plan would best fit you.”
“I don’t remember talking to you. I spoke with an older gentleman.”
“Oh yes, that’s ___________. We work together. I was there while you were talking.” she said nervously.
“Mam, I don’t remember you being there at all, but I may be mistaken”, I replied.
“Would you like me to call back later?”
“Sure. That will be fine.” I responded
A couple days later, the older gentleman from the agency called me and we set up an appointment for 4pm the following day, in my office. The next day at 3:30 he called me and told me he was running a little late and would arrive at 4:15. When he arrived at 4:35, one of the office staff showed him back. He introduced himself and we did a little small talk and then he opened his briefcase. I was expecting a few questions so he could determine my needs and interest. Nope. He pulled out his cancer brochure and read the entire boring thing to me. My eyes glazed over about five minutes into his reading, so I really heard nothing he said. At the end he went over the pricing of the policy that I wasn’t interested in. Then I thought to myself, “Aw, here’s the close”.
Nope! The question he asked was, “Do you have any questions?”
I said, “Yes I do, which one of these do you have?”
He went on to tell me how he didn’t have this coverage and how it was a decision he and his wife had made and how it was just a decision they had to face.
I finally encouraged him to tell me about the policy I was interested in, and I really did like it and want it. But because he didn’t ask me up front, I told him it was a joint decision and I would need to speak to my wife. I asked him to email the agreement and I’d show it to her and send it back that way, if we both liked it. I also asked him how long he had been selling insurance. He told me he had owned his own agency for 29 years. I figured giving him any pointers at this point would be insulting.
I waited for about a week and never received a follow up phone call or email. If he would have contacted me, my wife and I decided to purchase the coverage. But we finally gave up him.
The take-aways I learned from this encounter:
• Establish trust upfront by being honest on everything that you say, arrive when you say you will arrive
• Whatever you sell, you need to own yourself
• Determine needs by asking good questions up front
• Follow up, no matter what and set a follow up day
• Be passionate about what you do
• Just because you been doing something for 29 years, doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it the correct way