Closing the gap on close ratios

Friday, July 18, 2014
Written By
Dave O'Brien

One of the things that always amazed me when I was a broker was that my brokerage did not know my close ratio. Sure, they monitored my pipeline, but stuff fell off, new opportunities got added and it was all about what was in the door. To measure an appropriate pipeline, we always used the rule of 6. In order to have a £100,000 in growth, we needed £600,000 in the pipeline. Backing into it, we expected a 16% close ratio, but the actual close ratio was never discussed.

One firm I met in my travels had a successful team of brokers. While they all had respectable sales results, only one broker had a 70% close ratio. Rather than find new salespeople, the firm focused its energies on improving close ratios. What they discovered was simple. The top broker followed a 10-step process that carried him from the first prospect meeting to the close of the deal. It went like this:

  1. Do your homework. Spend at least an hour researching everything you can about the prospect.
  2. Come prepared. Have a form of questions and fill in the answers during your meeting. Insurance is too complex and not having it in front of you guarantees you will miss something. (Broker Briefcase users have access to a library of templates to assist you.)
  3. Find at least three pain areas and their value. For example: Is employee retention low?  What is that costing the firm in time and resources? This value answer is VERY important.
  4. Define everything about the existing broker including payment. This is so important, it bears repeating – ask how much the current broker is compensated. Your ultimate goal is to obtain their business. This is very hard to do if you have not established a cost benefit to the relationship.
  5. Perform a very tight pitch (only a few minutes) about how you can help them with their problems. The key is to have passion — to be excited about how you can help. Tell them you will follow up with a meeting.
  6. Contact the prospect with an email outlining the pain areas and verify the issues.
  7. Schedule a meeting at your office. There are several reasons why this is KEY — you can control the environment and showcase your people, and you are getting a commitment. (This seems to be the best kept sales secret of the insurance world. Time and again, brokers tell me if they can get prospects in the door, the close is well over 50%.) This cannot be underestimated.
  8. Match up their pain points to your solutions. You may have the greatest wellness plan ever created, but if the prospect doesn’t consider it an issue, neither should you.
  9. Compare your solutions and financial impact to their current broker.
  10. Ask for the business. Again, this is an obvious – but often missed – broker tool.

Investing your energy in these steps will take some time, but if your close ratio goes from 16% to 60% — isn’t that time well spent?

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