In today’s tight economy everyone is on a budget, it’s difficult to make a sale in an environment where no one is buying anything! Well, that’s what the statistics elude to anyway.
Regardless of how bleak the economic headlines may be; people are still buying. In tougher times, like during the Great Depression, about 25% and in some countries up to 35% of the work force were unemployed. Salespeople had a difficult job of selling them essentials like homes, insurance to go along with it, suits, travel and furniture. Yes, it was a difficult task for sales agents and many of them washed out of the business. There were however a few of them who were unstoppable and got smarter – they were adamant to take home that commission cheque!
What can we learn from them?
Here are some tips from the Great Depression which can help you sell Life Insurance to a prospect on a budget:
1. Key Human Needs And Emotions
Buying is linked to key human needs and emotions which prevail, regardless of the economic conditions. The drive for beauty, success, security, wealth, entertainment, peace of mind and love never goes away.
Approaching your prospect, with a pitch based on these enduring ambitions and values as opposed to a product or service focus will be more effective if your prospect works on a strict budget.
2. Advising And Informing is Key
Just like the times of the Great Depression, impulse sales are on the decline, so do experiment with educational sales and marketing initiatives which you’ve never tried or have avoided in the past.
Say, for example, that you loathe the idea of hosting a seminar. Seminars are actually a powerful way to sell through education. By advising and informing, you will be able to deliver a strong advantage.
Offer this as a “free” service, if possible. If your prospect is already on a budget, he or she will not have extra cash to spare on a seminar. If it’s free, it will be seen as a “no-strings-attached”, beneficial exercise.
3. Sell Yourself
Be cheerful and optimistic in all of your dealings and regardless of the product you are selling – and sell yourself first.
If your prospect is already working on a tight budget, you will need to make a good impression in order for him or her to extend themselves. You need to gain their confidence and remember that People want to do business with successful people.
Be sharp and make sure that your appearance is just as sharp! First impressions last. Good organization and cleanliness convey confidence and peace of mind to the prospect.
Here are a few NO-NO’s when it comes to selling yourself when you meet with your prospect:
- No chewing gum
- No smoking or drinking alcohol
- Be positive and when anyone asks “How is business?” just smile and say “just fine” or “good”
- Do not tell anyone that business is bad or that you are struggling. People only want to do business with successful people. Negative comments indicate that something is wrong with the product or with you.
4. Price Is Not The Only Deciding Factor
Low prices aren’t enough on its own – price in relation to the value of the benefits offered by a product is what you should illustrate to your client.
Albeit light bulbs – take for example this advertisement for General Electric’s Mazda light bulbs created during the Great Depression: “Why take the chance of getting 30% less for your money and of cheating your eyesight by using inferior substitutes?” This line clearly illustrates that GE bulbs weren’t cheaper–but they were worth the premium!
Similarly with life insurance, illustrate the value of the product you are recommending to your prospect, versus the one they are currently paying for (if any). Show the clear distinction between the two and what additional benefits the product offers and clearly paint the picture of how they will in fact be benefiting or saving in the long run.
5. Don’t Stop Advertising
If we look back, Companies who done well in the Great Depression were those who ignored the headlines and continued to act as if though nothing was wrong and that their target market had the cash to spend – which means, they kept Advertising!
They did not wait for people to come to them, for their products to rise – they created that demand during the most difficult of times and because so many companies actually cut their advertising budgets during the Great Depression -spending declined.
The Advertising cutbacks actually caused many customers to feel abandoned and they began to associate the brands that cut back on advertising with a lack of staying power. This drove customers to more aggressive competitors who continued to advertise.
So don’t put your advertising plans on hold when you think your prospects are cutting back. Your advertising may be the very thing which will get them to come to you.
6. Make A Fuss About Your Success and the Popularity Of Your Product or
People want to do what others are doing and they buy what others are buying. If they can identify with how you or your product has made an impact on somebody’s life, you are half way there.
Here are a few ways to do this:
- Share some success stories of how Life Insurance played a role in one
of your customer’s lives. Explain how easy the process was for them
and how simple it was for them to realize the benefits.
- If the numbers are good, speak about how many clients have taken up
the life insurance product you are offering.
- Brag about your service levels and the competent staff working for you.
- Share some of the compliments you have received from your customers, with your prospect.
7. Assist Your Prospect In Re-examining Their Priorities
The Great Depression had different impacts on different industries: while luxuries like cars, fashion and diamonds fell, economical luxuries such as alcohol, tobacco and going to the cinema gained a wider consumer audience.
These trying times forced people to re-examine their priorities in life and led them to think more about their future. The Americans’ impulsive lifestyle of the 1920s was quickly forgotten and people were reminded that they needed to work hard and try their best to earn a better life.
If your prospect is on a budget, offer your services to assist them in re-examining their priorities. Speaking about the future will be an integral part of this and is a great way to subtly bring in your sales pitch about Life Insurance.