Would you like to close more sales with less effort? As Medicare health insurance brokers, you know that this competitive market is over-saturated and full of hesitation when it comes to trusting insurance agents. Your competitors will focus on driving home the product – like that new Medicare Advantage plan with the extra benefits. But as the experienced and capable insurance agent, you are, it would also be in your favor to stand out from the crowd using whatever tools necessary. Even psychological skills. Yes, you read that right.
Using Subtle Body Language to Close More Sales
(Just to make this more fun, every idea below has a movie quote. Can you guess them?)
Trick #1 – Body Language
“Don’t underestimate the importance of body language.”
Did you know people decide if you’re a trustworthy insurance agent in a tenth of a second? For everything trust entails — being a person of honesty, dependability, and integrity — it can all fall away with the judgment of your client in an instant. Your body language inadvertently tells people if they should trust you or not. If you want to boost the confidence your clients have in you, display it through your body language.
Open shoulders that are rolled back and have you standing tall portray that you are open to them, as they should be towards you. Your client will take in your stance and recognize that you appear welcoming rather than being hunched, tense, or closed off. Opening your palms can even represent that you are not holding anger or stress during your meeting, while closed hands and pointing can be perceived in the opposite light. Is there anything you could change about your body language to close more sales?
Trick #2 – Smiling
“Smile. It increases your face value.”
Smiling not only makes you happier, but it also portrays optimism to your client. It’s a natural response for someone to copy facial expressions – meaning, they will smile back at you. Oddly, our brains don’t know the difference between a real or fake smile. So, once a smile hits our face, the endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are all released either way. This translates to feeling happy and relaxed. Once you’ve smiled, and it contagiously spreads to your client, you’ve succeeded in the first step of making a good impression. Just be cautious not to overdo it with ingenuine smiles or getting overly creepy! I’ve never heard of anyone able to close more sales with a creepy smile!
Trick #3 – Mirroring
“When you decide to be something, you can be it.”
Mirroring someone’s body language, tone, or energy can be a good nonverbal way to express similarities. Psychology calls the act of mimicking someone’s body language ‘the chameleon effect,’ meaning when someone is casually leaning forward in their chair, imitating that action is somewhat impulsive and matches the person’s social environment. In terms of mood, if someone is reserved and quiet, then do not come off as loud and aggressive. Instead, soften your tone and calm your expressions as to not intimidate them. Likewise, if you meet a potential client who is buzzing with energy and sitting up straight, respond by being just as confident and tall in your seat.
Of course, if your client is displaying negative emotions such as anger, matching that isn’t likely to close more sales! The bottom line is that portraying a similar demeanor as your client will make them more comfortable since they won’t feel out of place attempting to adapt to your level. And that is the start of a good client relationship.
Using Subtle Psychology to Close More Sales
Trick #4 – Listen More Than Talk
“The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.”
Talking about yourself activates the same part of your brain scientists associate with rewards and the good feelings you get from eating delicious food. (Oddly specific, I know). The point is, instead of exclusively talking about the policies you’re trying to sell, ask questions about your client. Encourage them to talk about themselves by facilitating questions and listening for good talking points you refer back to.
However, be careful it doesn’t turn into an interrogation of sorts. Some people are very private and prying too much (even with the best of intentions) can cause them to trust you less. The point of all this is to make your clients feel good and comfortable in a topic they know and like best… themselves.
Trick #5 – Using Names
“The key to this business is personal relationships.”
Using someone’s name to address them is an important part of the relationship you are establishing. When you take the time to remember someone’s name, they feel like an individual rather than just another policy. It also triggers more brain activation to focus on relevant information pertaining to them. So, pay attention when a client introduces themselves and start to refer to them by the name they gave you. Try not to make assumptions about nicknames or titles. And while you should sprinkle it around, do not overuse their name in every sentence, because that would just start feeling awkward. The goal is to come off as a casual and personable insurance agent.
Trick #6 – Embrace Imperfections
“Well, nobody’s perfect.”
Dressing for success, holding yourself confidently, and speaking with intelligence puts you in the perfect position to play the part of an expert. However, while confidence and competence are great for closing more sales, sometimes they can be intimidating. The Pratfall Effect is the tendency for people to like someone more when they see them make a mistake. Spilling your coffee or showing a flaw has actually been studied and proven to make someone more likable!
However, limit your embracing this to certain circumstances. You must have already proven your expertise, otherwise, this will hurt your credibility. Why does this work for insurance agents? Because your client sees you having your defenses lower and admitting to flaws that they know exist. Now they can see you clearly as a genuine, human insurance agent. (Who knew that being personable is a requirement to close more sales? *said sarcastically*)
Trick #7 – Reduce Options
“I’m going to give him an offer he can’t refuse.”
Giving customers too many choices may actually make them less likely to make a purchase. They may even experience what is called ‘analysis paralysis.’ (That’s fun to say, isn’t it?) This happens when too many options leave an individual unable to make a choice. While giving your client multiple options may seem more thorough, it can be overwhelming, especially with something as complex as insurance. When it comes to closing more sales, fewer options are an important factor.
In fact, a study conducted around Medicare Part D plans found that it was less difficult for people to choose an ideal plan when they have fewer options before them. Of course, they still liked to have alternatives, so it’s a fine line. As an agent selling Medicare, you may find it helpful to come prepared with fewer policies and help their clients decide from a smaller pool of options.
Trick #8 – Social Proof
“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.”
The rise of social media has taught marketers that social influence has power over an individual’s purchasing behaviors – even with things like insurance. Establishing with your clients that others are pleased with your services will give them more confidence and trust in you. It’s more likely you’ll close more sales if the client feels validated by others making the same decisions.
One way you can do this is by subtly mentioning how many of these policies you have sold or how a percentage of people just like your client have recently bought this policy. Another form of social proof may be as simple as collecting testimonials and posting them somewhere visible on your website. The goal of social proof is showing your prospective client that they will have the same security as the rest of your happy clients.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Insurance is a people business, and people are complex. Everyone has different personalities, unique circumstances, and previous experiences you have to navigate as an insurance agent. While I’m sure you can work any context in your favor, there is always room for improvement. If learning these subtle psychological skills helps you close more sales, why not try? After all, “Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”
- “Don’t underestimate the importance of body language.” – Ursula, The Little Mermaid, 1989
- “Smile. It increases your face value.” – Truvy (Dolly Parton), Steel Magnolias, 1989
- “The key to this business is personal relationships.”- Dicky Fox (Jared Jussim), Jerry Maguire, 1996
- “When you decide to be something, you can be it.”-Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), The Departed, 2006
- “The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.” – Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), American Gangster, 2007
- “Well, nobody’s perfect.” – Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown), Some Like it Hot, 1959
- “I’m going to give him an offer he can’t refuse.” – Don Corleone (Marlon Brando), The Godfather, 1972
- “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” – Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), Wall Street, 1987
- Bonus: “Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.” – Shuri (Letitia Wright), Black Panther, 2018
How many quotes did you guess correctly?