Last month I introduced you to the concept of the high-quality appointment as part of my sales system that cannot fail. As a reminder, a high-quality appointment must meet four criteria:

  • The prospect knows exactly what you are meeting about
  • The prospect has an interest in that idea or product
  • The prospect is a decision-maker or was referred by the decision-maker
  • The prospect is open to making a change

I also should add one more criteria — it must not be about the cost of the health plan. This leads me to the next part of my sales system. While the cost of the health plan may open doors, it also significantly complicates the sales process. For starters, it makes it difficult to close the sale. In talking to hundreds of group benefit agents here is what I can say with absolute certainty: If you are actively marketing for new clients based on the group health plan, you have to create proposals for 10 prospects in order to close three to four of them. That’s is a lot of work.
If you are actively marketing, you get a lot of renewal dates, which in 2014 means October through December. That makes it hard to sell year-round. If you are not actively marketing, you will only likely add two to three new accounts per year and those are not really referrals. In reality, they are accidents.

Sales value proposition

If you want to open new opportunities year-round and close more than four out of 10 prospects that grant you an appointment, you need to become a brand of one. To become a brand of one you have to have a sales value proposition that is compelling and different from that of your competition.

Your sales value proposition can be product- or service-focused but it must include at least one deliverable outcome. When I created what I call the Trailblazer Dental Plan, my value proposition was: “I have a unique design in dental insurance with premiums that are 20% to 40% less than other plans and increases employee appreciation and satisfaction.” Unlike other agents who want to shop the dental plan, I was making a very definitive statement about both design and premiums. In addition, I was telling the prospective employer that not only was my plan less expensive, but it enhanced employee morale.  If an appointment was secured I had a very high probability of a closed sale.

If I were selling group benefits today my value proposition would be: “I help employers reduce employee pressure for increased wages and improve employee morale and productivity.” Since there are numerous ways that I can achieve this result beyond quoting the group health product, I can secure appointments without dealing with renewal dates. A concern that many agents have when using specific ideas or products is that they believe (mistakenly) that this will somehow limit their opportunities.  The truth is that this approach opens more opportunities of a far higher quality.

To learn if you have developed a good value proposition you have to go to networking events and use it. Go to a few BNI groups — the international networking and referral company — and when it is your turn to share your 60-second commercial simply state your value proposition and shut up. Then, see how many people approach you afterward and want to know more. That is the best gauge of the power of your proposition.

Next month we will look at creating your online marketing system.

Schlesinger helps agents close sales through his Social Proof Machine marketing program. Reach him at (336) 525-6357.

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