As a provider of life insurance, your clients look to you for advice regarding their finances. And while you have the right credentials, you strive to continually improve yourself and thereby, the services you provide for you clients.
Of course, everyone has their bad habits. When it’s something innocuous, you don’t expect it to have any ramifications on your effectiveness as an insurance provider. However, some habits have the potential to hurt your business.
With that in mind, here are five bad habits that every insurance provider needs to drop immediately:
1. Talking more than you listen
Yes, you are the insurance expert when you’re meeting with your current or potential clients. However, take a lesson from the pages of sales experts and refrain from talking more than 20 percent of the time. How do you do this? By asking the right questions. This way, you’ll still have full control over the conversation, even while your client is doing most of the talking.
The truth is, most people love to talk about themselves. And someone who feels like they are being listened to will be more likely to trust you, allowing you to more effectively do your job of insurance planning to provide them with the financial protection they need.
2. Using the wrong method of communication
A generation ago, if you wanted to get in touch with someone you had to write a letter, pick up the phone or knock on their door. Now, there are myriad ways that people can communicate, from texting to tweeting. While many of these forms of communication are not appropriate channels for you to contact your clients, you should generally follow your client’s lead when it comes to their preferred form of communication.
For example, many people can’t or prefer not to take personal phone calls during their work day for a variety of reasons, but can quickly and easily respond to an email. Whether you simply ask your clients what the best way to get in touch with them of or feel the situation out, they will get back to you more quickly if you use their preferred method of communication.
3. Failing to follow up
Quite simply, if you don’t follow up with every potential lead, you risk losing your clients to competitors. When you tell your clients that you will reach out to them in three days to give them time to go over their finances and discuss their options with their loved ones, you absolutely must reach out to them in three days. Failing to do so not only gives them time to go elsewhere, but it will paint you as an unreliable person. No one wants to discuss their life insurance options with someone whom they perceive as unreliable.
Remember that few agreements are reached in just a meeting or two, so remain persistent to make sure your current or future clients are going to get the best possible life insurance benefits: those you provide for them.
4. Pestering or being impatient
The flip side of that coin is that you cannot pester your clients. Deciding on life insurance policies and other major financial decisions is no easy task, so you may need to give your clients some breathing room. But you don’t want to be too distant, so how do you decide how frequently to reach out to your clients? Part of it may just take some gut instincts and the ability to read your clients. Some like to have their hands held through the process while others prefer space.
However, the easiest way to make sure you’re not badgering your clients is to let them know when they can expect to hear back from you. If you say in your email that you hope to hear from them sometime this week and will follow up Monday if they don’t get back to you, a time frame has been established. If they need more time, it gives them the option to tell you so.
5. Don’t waste your own time
You would never want a contractor to waste your valuable time, so why would you misuse your own? Do your best to schedule out every day so you are always being productive and getting something accomplished. Sure, you can build in short breaks here and there, but give yourself goals to reach that will help you stay on track throughout your day.
Bad habits are hard to break for everyone, but taking a look at your own weaknesses will help you improve yourself and better serve your clients.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been reviewed and updated.