The main objective of family-owned restaurants, dry cleaners, fitness centers and florists…is to sell their wares and services in order to gather interest, to stay in business…and, to ultimately make a profit.

For many entrepreneurs within our local communities, however, their out-of-this-world concepts may be something of wonder…but, they couldn’t sell that thingamajig, if their life depended on it.

That thingamajig is usually tangible and could probably sell itself.

Insurance, on the other hand, is an intangible.

And sadly, when it comes to intangibles, the word “selling” confounds the masses.

Having been in sales for nearly 25 years…I can attest that selling tangible and intangible products is merely a conversation between two interested parties. One person has a need, and the other person intends to espouse the reasons why they have a solution for that need.

When it comes to insurance and communicating about these intangibles…

You are telling a story.

You are painting a picture.

You are talking about needs, beliefs and values.

And, as you are talking about these intangibles, you are inviting that person into your realm. And, who knows more about your field than you? No one does. Talking about intangibles is no easy task…it takes creativity to explain the benefits of your agency and how you and your staff will solve your client’s fears. And that is precisely why ‘sales’ should be considered just a conversation.

Forget about all of the closing techniques pitched by the sales ‘experts’ in their latest videos…forget about all about the sales methodologies written by all of the supposed ‘gurus.’ Sales is just a conversation…period.

(Spoiler Alert: if you bought a book to help enhance your sales efforts…you’ve just been sold. Just sayin’…)

We are a convincing species. We really need no formal training, for each of us actually possesses the ability to persuade the person sitting next to us, over the phone or over the internet of our ability to serve their needs.

Common courtesy flourishes amongst us.

At your favorite restaurant: “Would you like to start with an appetizer?”

How about your local florist: “Would you like this in a vase?”

Or, at your neighborhood grocery store: “Paper or plastic?”

These inquiries are also examples of conversation generators…questions in the beginning of a conversation…mid-conversation questions and end-conversation questions.

And, these questions obviously involve a tangible product.

Discussions involving intangible products, such as insurance deserve a different style of questioning.

“How long have you lived in our area?”

“Where are you from originally?”

“How did you hear about our agency?”

All…conversation generators.

I think you’ll find it an interesting dialogue if you’d just ask a question. Remember…the action of ‘sales’ is just a conversation between you and your client (or prospective client). By leading the conversation with questions, you allow the client to do most of the talking, and ultimately express their fears, hopes and dreams to you. And, the conversation will flow from there.

It starts with a question about them. And, ends with a conversation about a solution.

Remember, it’s not about getting the sale…the point is to help the client. If you help the client then you will probably get the sale. But, you cannot get the sale unless you have a discussion with your clients about their needs, beliefs and values.

Insurance is an intangible and the fear of being “sold” plagues our clients.

You are not a florist or a dry cleaner…and, you’re not selling a thingamajig.

You are a solution provider.

So, next time you have a potential client walk through your door…show interest in the person. Create a conversation generator…pose several questions, relieve the stress of selling…and, watch the conversation take off!

You’ll be glad you did.

Steve Shepherd

About Steve Shepherd


Steve’s entire career has been focused on helping companies to increase sales. He has sold, managed, trained and coached sales and sales management with noteworthy results. Steve’s results-oriented, highly interactive style has the ability to increase sales for many companies statewide. He makes sure the workshops are productive, interactive, and, above all, fun.