Thursday, September 20, 2012

Question Based Selling, Part Two

I recently provided a review of the book Question Based Selling. Now I’d like to explain how I have been able to receive some great results utilizing some of the techniques explained in the book.
Thomas Freese discusses the importance of understanding how people have a natural aversion to people they don’t know and trust. Once you realize that EVERYBODY feels this way you’ll be ahead of the game. It’s very difficult to fight Mother Nature, so it’s better to just accept it and know how to react.
Have you ever talked with a prospect who seems to contradict everything you say? It can be quite annoying and make you feel like you want to throw the phone out the window and purchase a taser gun. Instead of taking the risk of getting arrested, I offer an alternative solution that will save you some money on telephones, an attorney and therapy.
For the last week every cold call that I initiated, began this way.
“Hello XXXX, this is John McCollough and I'm a health plan expert. Is this a good time?”
I call 100 numbers every weekday and usually talk with about 200-225 people on average on a weekly basis. 14 people said it was a bad time! When I got that response I asked when would be a good time to call back. About 1/3 replied, “what is this about?” Ah-ah, so this isn't really a bad time! Next time your making a call mix it up a bit. Instead of saying, "Is this a good time?" say "Is this a bad time?" This will give the the information you need to adjust your script and find out what works and what needs to be discarded. I suspect that if you use the latter line you'll get a lot more resistance, but try it out and post a comment about your results.
Herd Theory
I have got some great news for you. Have you heard about the new lead company out of California that provides leads for $5.00 each and only sells them to 3 agents? Yes, it actually is the truth because I have been using this company for the last 4 months? Another great thing about this company is that their credit policy is very liberal and I’m averaging right around $3.50 a lead after factoring in uninsurables, false information, etc.
I almost forgot, they signed a contract with me stating that they WILL NOT sell the lead to no more than 3 agents without drafting up a new contract and I get seniority should they chanege their policy. I love it when a new lead company comes out. I don’t get anything for recommending this company…just a chance to help my readers. If you’re interested in learning more about this opportunity you can find it here
It’s really something isn’t it! Who would have thought that this opportunity existed. Hopefully you realize the purpose of this fun experiment. If you can create the illusion of something grandiose and you merely suggest (slight push) taking a course of action vs. “sell” (pushing or pulling), you’ll have a better chance of persuading an individual to reach the same conclusion you anticipate. You’ll feel better about yourself because you just separated yourself from every other agent who still thinks closes work in the long term!
Are You Running Away From Dogs or Aiming For The Gold?
The answer to that question is that you should be doing both or you’re going to miss half the deals you could be getting. People don’t buy insurance because a certain plan is cheaper. There are people who like change, people who abhor change and people who lie! When it comes to keeping the status quo or risk making a bad decision, most people will choose the former UNLESS you present options that offer a reward (cheaper premium) and a risk management strategy (no loss in benefits). Here’s an example of what I mean.
Situation (Family X)
-3 person family currently paying around $700 a month for an HMO plan with all the bells and whistles.
-Rate is expected to go up about 17% within the next month.
-Understands they will have to get new doctors/network.
-Cannot stand HMO’s or MEGA
-$0 deductible plan with $20/$30 copays for doctors or specialist and an OOPM of $7000 per year.
- High Deductible Health Plan w/out HSA and an OOPM of $2500
- Stable rates for 12 months
- Extensive PPO network in Mid-Atlantic area.
- New Premium $408.02 p/month (69% SAVINGS or $3500 a year)
Now you are probably thinking to yourself that the saving alone justifies the switch. Up until September 2007 I thought the same thing, but that isn’t the case. My record to date was a lost opportunity to save a family over $10,000 a year until Medicare kicked in a few short years away. They decided to self insure and cancel their plan instead of protecting their family and saving $20,000. That case still amazes me. Sometimes people do things out of spite because their upset about something and close-minded. Try to move on and not take it personal when you deal with these types of people. We all get them!
Even though I saved Family X a substantial amount of money that isn't enough for 9 out 10 people I talk because they have no idea about other insurance carriers besides Blue Cross Blue Shield and being comfortable with a carrier is 100%. That's fine and I can respect that..
All I did to finalize this deal was maximize their feelings about saving money using selective imagery combined with reducing their fears about switching carriers to a nameless carrier. For example, here's what I said.

"Mrs. X, I think I may have a solution for you that will enable you to take charge of your own plan and cut your premium in half (gold) ...while ensuring that you're families protected with a highly rated and financially sound (who let the dogs out) company...(Smiling) So take the extra money and spend it however you wish. I'd recommend you spend some of it on shoes and invest the rest!"
I LOVE sales!
Let me know how things works out you. Hopefully I've been able to shed light on a few topics that will help you to retain your ethics and sell more at the same time w/out having to resort to using a "fake family picture" because your manager said you need a family to sell health insurance online. If you're offended by adult language do not read this next line. My ass you do!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Affiliate Marketing Company Should I Join

Choosing the right affiliate marketing company really boils down to what type of product you want to promote, as well as the payout of the particular product.  You should ask questions first before joining any program in order to determine if they are a good fit.  Such questions might be;

- Does it cost anything to join the program?
-What forms of payment do they accept (for buyers) and how do they payout (checks, wire transfer, paypal, etc.)
-What is the hit per sale ratio?
This is typically the average number of hits (view or clicks) to a banner or text link it takes to generate a sale
-Do they have any ongoing sales promotion features (banners, email templates, etc.)
 -How are clicks (visitor engagement) from an affiliate's site tracked and for how long do they remain in the system? This will tell you about cookie length and any issues that might pop up.
- Does the affiliate company pay pay for the hits and impressions in addition to any sales?
 -Lastly, what is the amount of commission paid?
Depending up the program you could get anywhere from 5% - 50% on the sale amount of they might also pay on a PPL (pay per lead-sound familiar) If you find a products also paying for impressions, the amount paid is not much at all.
-Lastly, what other companies offer commissions for the same product. You might find an affiliate company paying less than the competitors without any gained benefit. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How To Learn SEO And How To Further Develop Your Website

First you need to analyze your business as a whole then delve into what marketing you are currently doing and analyze what is and isn't working. Only then can you plan its aim, no. You need to learn affiliate marketing before you actually make it a means to earn money. Evaluating your objectives may lead you to a better decision but you should at least know some of the basic facts before determining what to complete yourself or outsource.

Find a trade off between the two, you doing your own SEO work vs outsourcing tasks you have no desire to do yourself. Figure out who your competitors are and then see what their backlink profile looks like.  This can vary from vertical to vertical, and most importantly, it will establish a baseline for you to compete. Another commonly used way is to build backlinks to your website using the knowledge gained from a backlink analysis.  As you gain experience you will learn about what shortcuts you can employ to rank faster, but this requires time and money with CONSISTENT FAILING of what does and doesn't work.

 Always verify information across various mediums and then test it yourself to determine what's right.  There is a lot of misinformation out there and testing is the only way to know exactly what is right. Part of the seo school bus, is actually doing the work yourself and setting specific goals of what you want to achieve. Only then should you consider what to outsouce if it's in your budget. If you need additional help learning seo the search engine is you friend, however, Seomoz is pretty good. 

Here's a quick tip. Blogging can be a good way of attracting visitors to your website. To often website owners focus on generating as much content as possible, but fail to recognize the need to have QUALITY content.  Think of some problems you can help solve and craft posts, articles, inforgraphics, etc. to help people SOLVE the problem.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Question Based Selling, Part One

Have you ever wondered why you sometimes feel as though you’re not getting anywhere with a prospect because you don’t know what to say next to make the person want to buy from you? If you’re like most people talking comes very easily for you and when somebody asks your opinion, via directly or indirectly, you immediately go off into sales mode and then somewhere down the road you catch the prospect looking at his watch and telling you that he needs to “think it over.”
If so, then a book written by Thomas Freese entitled, “Secrets of Question Based Selling: How the Most Powerful Tool Can Double Your Sales Results” might very well provide you with the ammunition you need to separate yourself from the competition and give you the tools to get the job done. I’m going to offer you something fun…something exciting…something you’ve never heard before. Are you ready? Sales professionals talk too much!
Yes, it’s true; part of the reason why some people have disdain for people like sales professionals is because we won’t shut up. Rather than learning more about a prospect and his needs, fears, hopes and dreams, we regurgitate the same canned sales pitch that we used on the last 10 people that had the same effect. Rejection without accomplishment!
This books does a very good job at illustrating a basis paradigm, a foundation shall we say, about what is needed to win…that is, to get a sale and help the client feel proud and secure.
Have you ever wondered why people some seem to flock to the gas stations every summer when gas prices go up $.05 like flies to honey? How about the beanie baby rave or the crash?
Thomas uses his sales experience to illuminate a basic social psychology principle entailing what motivates people in a group. The sad fact is that most people would jump off a bridge if everybody else did! But you’re not like everybody else right?
Everything we do when were prospecting, selling, etc. can be stripped down to its core. Namely, we need tools that will enable us to increase the probability of succeeding. Thomas does a good job at illustrating ways to build credibility through asking questions, avoiding mismatching, using a social psychology theory (herding) to generate interest and using rewards and risk aversion to sell a product.
Surrounding prospects with the perception that “everyone else” is already moving in a certain direction is a very powerful QBS technique.
Let that sink in for a moment. He explicates that in order for a sale to be made; credibility must be built; questions must be asked and addressed; interest must be peaked; while building value in a presentation so a the proper solution can be offered that will help a prospect find a reward and avoid risk.
Thomas uses 259 pages to illustrate exactly what I said in the preceding paragraph. He even throws in a chapter about cold calling that is a must read for anybody serious about taking some stress out of cold calls. He says that the success rate for contacting prospects is between 2-5 person!
That means that out of every 100 hundred sales calls, the average performer can expect to generate only a small amount handful of opportunities. The other 95 to 98 percent of these calls end in rejection.
My personal experience is averaging right around 10%, meaning 10 out of 100 people I talk to end up as a lead. I’m not an average insurance agent though!
In conclusion, I give this book an 8 out of 10. The only reason why it’s not a 10 is because he needed more examples of his questions that didn’t rely on his computer background. I spent about a week reading this book, making notes and making some changes to my presentation and cold calling techniques. One change can be found here
I had a hard time correlating some of his computer questions to the insurance lingo. I stopped watching Star Trek about 15 years ago (movies excluded), so I’m not up to speed on quantum-flux capacitors and how they relate to health savings account. I had no idea what he was talking about upon the first reading, but with the help of another book (Christmas present) I’ve been able to almost double my reading speed and increase my memory retention.
In Part Two, I’ll show you ways on how you can apply the aforementioned sales techniques to sell more insurance using real world examples. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks trying out various techniques and I’m looking forward to sharing my results.
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