How to Develop Better Listening Skills as an Insurance Agent

Published on June 21, 2021

In the insurance world, listening is the most important part of the sales process. When you understand your prospects, you’re much more equipped to overcome objections, identify their needs, and retain them in the future. 

When it comes to sales and customer interaction, there is always room for improvement. You may think your listening skills are more than adequate, but are you following these guidelines? 

We’ve compiled a list of some fundamental listening facts and tips to help you evaluate your skills as an agent.

Most People Have Two Stumbling Blocks When it Comes to Listening

  1. You have already decided what you’re going to say before you begin listening to the prospect or client
  2. You have made up your mind before you hear what the other person has to say

These can be two huge impediments to truly listening. What’s the solution to this problem? 

There are two steps that are essential when it comes to effective listening

  1. Listen with the genuine intent to understand 
  2. Listen with the resolve to respond based on what you have heard

Implementing these practices can really change your interactions for the better. Make a conscious effort to put these steps into your daily conversations. 

What are Some Common Barricades to Listening?

  1. Doing something else while the other person is speaking. Are you playing on your phone or looking something up on the internet? You may think your client will have no idea but that isn’t true. Your responses will show that you are uninterested and unimpressed. Let your client or prospect be your sole focus at that moment. Avoid distractions at all costs.
  2. Thinking about another priority. If you can’t give your prospect your undivided attention, don’t have a conversation! Your “to-do” list can always wait.
  3. Waiting for a chance to get your comments in. If you find yourself pretending to listen so you can get your comments or answers in, stop! Take the time to know what the other person needs and don’t respond with rehearsed answers. You may think you know what is going to be said, but often that is not the case. 

How to Maximize Your Listening Skills and Make Your Clients Happy

  1. First and foremost, don’t interrupt! There is nothing that will lose the sale faster than rude interruptions. Your client will see you as a salesperson that doesn’t care.
  2. Ask real questions and allow your prospect to answer. Focus on the responses and let them guide the conversation.
  3. Put away prejudices. Perhaps you’re working with a certain age group and immediately make assumptions. Stop doing this! 
  4. Take notes. Jot down some bullet points as your customer speaks to remember important details you may need to refer back to. 
  5. Read between the lines. It’s important to also listen to what is not being said. Does your customer sound frustrated or impatient?  Listen for tone and speech patterns. 
  6. Don’t jump to conclusions. Ensure your prospect has been given every opportunity to speak and be heard. Verify you understand correctly. 
  7. Take action! After practicing effective listening, tell your client what you will do for them and follow through. 

In the long run, powerful listening skills will ultimately help you close more sales and develop better relationships with your clients. If you aren’t already, put some of these tips into practice and take notice of the differences in your interactions. You’ll be a more confident and proficient insurance agent.

What are your favorite strategies for effective listening as an agent? We would love to hear from you.

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