You’re either born to sell or not. It’s like saying you’re born to be a world-class athlete and hard work has nothing to do with it.
Sure, we’re all born with different abilities but: No one ever achieves greatness without practice.
Practice makes everyone better regardless of ability.
But you don’t need practice, right? You’re a natural. You’re a born salesman. You can sell ice to eskimos and plastic surgery to Joan Rivers. Right?
Then I guess you don’t need to read this article.
But if you’d like to sell more insurance, make more money, and take better care of your family you need to practice.
Here’s 17 ideas for practicing and studying sales techniques.
1) Use a Mirror
mirror-for-sales-practiceIf you think it’s stupid to practice in front of the mirror you’re missing the point.
The mirror doesn’t give you magical insight about your body language or facial expressions, it’s the foundation of sales practice.
Selling to the mirror is like shooting hoops by yourself in the driveway.
It’s not as fun as playing with others but it’s always available, always helpful and time spent by yourself on personal development gives you more confidence.
Are you one of these kids who needs private lessons to get off the couch or are you self-motivated enough to get better by yourself?
2) Role Play with a Colleague
Co-workers are great for role-playing because they know the material, they know all the objections, and they have a lot more experience with different insurance sales situations.
Afraid of how your co-workers will react if you ask them to help you practice sales conversations?
Ask them anyway, getting out of your comfort zone is one of the first lessons in sales!
3) Role Play with a Non-Insurance Person
Sometimes you can gain deeper insight by practicing with someone who doesn’t understand all the intricacies of insurance like you do.
It’s the best way to find out if you’re overdoing the jargon.
And after all, your target clients are not your co-workers, they’re people who don’t know jack about insurance.
4) Record Yourself on Video
If you’re squeemish about role-playing to begin with, maybe just skip to the next one and pretend you didn’t read this.
It’s not easy seeing yourself on video but I promise it can be helpful.
Look for things like:
Proper amount of eye contact?
Do you look confident?
Are you fidgety or visually distracting?
Are you listening attentively or waiting to talk again?
5) Record Your Voice
When you watch a video of yourself there is a tendency to pay more attention to visual cues while auditory ones may be lost.
Also, it’s easy to use a voice recorder or your smartphone to record live sales conversations without your prospect even knowing.
Listen for things like:
Are you acknowledging and addressing prospect questions?
Are you using the same terms and verbiage of the prospect?
Do you use a lot of auditory pauses (like umm)?
Does your voice sound like you care?
6) Keep a Lost Sale Journal
Losing a sale sucks, but it’s a lot worse when you don’t learn from it.
Whenever you lose a close sale, take a few moments to write down what you may do differently to make the sale next time.
The point is not to focus on what you did wrong but to make sure you learn from the mistake and try something different the next time you find yourself in the same situation.
Who knows, it could be in 6 or 12 months with the same person.
7) Get Peer Feedback
Ask a co-worker or sales manager to listen in on some of your live sales conversations and provide feedback.
The best salesperson in the world will still benefit from feedback. Even if it’s just 100% positive!
The benefits are mutual because the reviewer gets ideas from you and learns more about their own sales skills by observing yours so carefully.
8) Write Your Own Sales Scripts
A lot of the sales scripts I come across suck.
That’s because they’re either written by someone who doesn’t know how to sell or using language and talk-paths that are unnatural to me.
Plus, if you write it yourself it’s a lot harder to blame the script for your failures.
9) Memorize Scripts First, Then Improvise
Most sales scripts were not written to be read verbatim.
But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be memorized word for word.
A good sales script will subtly and precisely move you through the right questions to ask and important talking points. Once you know it backwards and forwards it’s easy to improvise all you want without missing your key points.
A football running back’s biggest plays are usually the result of real-time improvisation but he still starts every down with clearly defined plan.
Just like a football player, start from the point of most rigidity and work your way backward to maintain the highest level of effectiveness.
10) Write Mini-Scripts For Every Objection
Keep a list of all the different sales objections you hear and write a script for overcoming every one.
Or better yet, devise a questioning strategy that helps identify possible objections and prevent them before you need to overcome them.
And remember not to overcome an objection until you’ve confirmed it’s the only objection. Otherwise you’ll be running in circles.