Sales Techniques for Insurance Professionals (4-part Series)by Paul T. Montgomery
Part 4: The Art of Selling Insurance from Home
Believe it or not, some people actually worked from home before the pandemic. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), roughly six percent of the U.S. workforce worked remotely full-time, possibly up to 25 percent on a part-time or occasional basis. In May 2020, 48.7 million people, about 35% of the employed workforce, were working from home; this was shortly after the rapid rise of COVID-19 in mid-March 2020.
Today, you’ll find a significant disparity in reporting on how many people continue working from home. It’s clear that more people than ever are at least working in a hybrid capacity – some days at home, some days in the office, and on occasional summer days simply calling in sick and going to the beach.
The question is: Are you getting the most out of working from home?
Some people thrive when working in a quiet home office, making sales calls, engaging in meetings on Zoom, sticking to a schedule, and even finding time to go to the gym before or after their busy day. The rest of us ask, “How the heck do they do it?
Three things come to mind. First, they are extremely well-organized and very well-prepared. Next, they use technology as a necessary tool rather than letting it run the show. And finally, they are comfortable in their role and exude confidence.
Well-prepared and well organized
The impact of the pandemic on the working world was sudden. People went from working in their office one day to working from home the next. Because of such a sudden shift in where they worked, many people, especially in sales, did not have the time to prepare for a change in how they worked. Sales across the board were upended, especially in insurance, where person-to-person sales are still prevalent.
Working from Home: Best Practices
As the world continues to adapt to the new normal of working from home, it’s important to remember that your employees’ physical and mental state is critical to their productivity. Encouraging your employees to take regular breaks, get comfortable, and get into the right mindset can help them stay engaged eventually. Here are a few things you can do to help your employees:
1. Get comfortable: Employees should find a comfortable workplace where they can focus and be free from distractions. They should ergonomically optimize their workstation.
2. Get into the right mindset: Employees must have the right mindset when working from home. They should approach their work positively and set realistic goals for themselves.
3. Take regular breaks: Employees should take regular breaks throughout the day to stretch, move around, and care for themselves mentally and emotionally. This will help them avoid burnout and maintain their productivity levels.
A Little More Depth:
Predictable Schedules: Encourage your employees to keep to their usual schedule. This can help prevent disruptions to your business and keep everyone online simultaneously. Employees may be tempted to change their schedules to match customer schedules, which can lead to confusion and unexpected changes. Reminding employees to stick to their regular schedule, even if it means working odd hours, is important. This will help ensure that your business runs smoothly and that everyone is on the same page. Thanks for taking the time to read this!
The” No Pajama”-Policy: Staying focused and productive can be challenging when working from home. One way to help yourself stay on track is to stick to a daily routine; part of that routine is to get dressed for work. It may seem small, but getting dressed for work helps create a mental separation between your home and work life. It can also affect your performance; one employee on our marketing team said she likes putting on her shoes to help her feel more like she is working rather than lounging. In addition, if you are ever called into a meeting or need to interact with clients or coworkers, you will be glad you took the time to get dressed for work. So even if you are working from home for a day, take the time to get dressed for work.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Regularly — Anyone who has ever worked a long shift knows that hunger and thirst can quickly lead to feelings of fatigue and irritability. That’s why it’s so crucial for employers to encourage their employees to take regular breaks to eat and drink. By scheduling regular meal and snack breaks, employees can keep their energy levels up and focus on their work. And by keeping a bottle of water at their desk, they can stay hydrated throughout the day. These simple steps can improve employee productivity and morale.
Take a Moment to Move …often— Being sedentary is not only bad for your health, but it can also lead to feelings of anxiety and boredom. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you schedule regular movement breaks when working from home. Taking a few minutes to walk around or do simple exercises will not only improve your physical health but also help clear your head and boost your mood. So, the next time you feel sluggish, take a quick break to move your body, and you’ll feel better quickly.
Ergonomic seating— Designing an ergonomic workspace is crucial for maintaining employee productivity. One often overlooked aspect of office design is the chair that employees use. A study published in the journal “Ergonomics” found that sitting in a hard, uncomfortable chair can lead to higher levels of fatigue and lower levels of concentration. The research suggests employers should encourage employees to invest in comfortable, adjustable seating. Otherwise, workers may find it challenging to maintain focus and experience increased levels of muscle soreness. Besides being more comfortable, ergonomic chairs can also help to reduce back and neck pain. They are a wise investment for any company that wants to create a productive and healthy work environment.
Besides Googling your next customer and doing the prep work necessary for a sale, preparation now means knowing your tech partners (i.e., Zoom, MS Word/Excel, Google Docs/Sheets, etc.) well. While you need not be a techie, you need to ability to give your entire presentation flawlessly and electronically. This means taking extra time to hone your technical prowess, so you don’t get slowed down by tech glitches. It is better than being in your presentation and having something not appear on the screen as it is “supposed to.” While this may sound obvious, you have no idea how many insurance agents are ready to smash their laptops or notebooks after a presentation has gone awry. From ensuring everything is charged to staying on top of your schedule, it means conscientiously focusing on preparation. This includes not just having data ready but having it “camera ready,” which means sized and loaded into a specific location in your computer – and easily located with the click of a button.
Organization is also a priority – in the office, everything you need is already in place, and at home, you must put everything in the right place. It means having attention to detail at a new level. It also means you have more flexibility in setting up your workplace. This means you can arrange things as you like…so seize the opportunity.
Using Technology as a Tool
Just because technology is replacing face-to-face interactions doesn’t mean you can use it as an excuse for not being on top of your game. Humans still rule, and you need to let your sales skills and persona shine regardless of the medium you use to get in front of your clients.
While you are limited in movements since you need to stay “on camera,” you can still smile, gesture and present with the same enthusiasm as you would in person. You just need to be aware of the boundaries.
There’s nothing wrong with practicing before the camera until it becomes second nature to be yourself and let your personality shine. Holding a potential customer’s attention is difficult in any situation, but being remote can make it more challenging. You also must share the screen with prepared material, including data, forms, etc. Broadcasters on television have made it look easy for years; now it’s your turn. Remember, your technology is working for you and not the other way around.
Comfortable and Confident
Working from a home location should feel comfortable – not too comfortable, or you’ll be dozing off. And, don’t just settle at the kitchen table simply because it’s convenient for snacks – find the ideal place with very few distractions, good lighting, a good chair, adequate space to put whatever you need, plus a temperature you can control. Find a place that suits you and lets you get your work done. In front of the 90” TV probably isn’t the best idea.
Confidence will come from being prepared, organized, well-rehearsed, in control of your technology, and in a comfortable location. Making work seamless from a remote location is easy if you take the time to set everything as you like. Remember, while you may not be the boss of the company, but you are the boss of your workspace.
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