Need help building rapport over the phone with your clients? Use these seven strategies and leave your clients feeling connected and engaged.
Phone calls are a lot trickier than face-to-face meetings when trying to build a relationship with a client. Especially with new clients, building rapport over the phone is an essential step in relationship building and sales lead nurturing. Even if you can’t meet your client in person, there are still strategies for building rapport over the phone. With a layered approach, you can employ multiple techniques and your client will feel a stronger connection to you by the end of the phone call. The goal is to go from being a no-name insurance agent cog in the machine to a client’s personal contact who knows about their individual insurance needs and circumstances. Here are seven techniques for building rapport over the phone quickly.
1. Double-Check Name Preference and Pronunciation
At the beginning of your call, confirm that you are pronouncing your client’s name correctly. If they ask you to use a nickname make a note of that for future follow-up contacts including emails. Showing this base level courtesy is helpful in building rapport over the phone right off the bat.
2. Practice Active and Reflective Listening
Listen carefully as your client speaks, taking note of any detail they share about their living situation, personal life, and personal priorities. Simple and short responses like “uh-huh” and “right” indicate to your customer that you’re listening without interrupting them fully. Reflect what they share with you back to them as a sign of good listening with simple summary statements. If they say “I’m not sure what type of insurance coverage I have for my car,” you can respond later in the conversation with “So it sounds like you’re not sure what type of auto insurance you have currently.” This works in building rapport over the phone by showing that you understand what your client is saying and have been paying attention.
3. Show Empathy
When building rapport over the phone, it’s important to show empathy to your clients. Phrases like, “I understand,” “I can see how that might be frustrating,” or “I imagine that must feel good,” are great ways to build a relationship and a positive experience with your client. Be sure to keep the “I” in your phrasing to add more connection between you and the client. A great way to practice empathy is to imagine you are in your client’s position.
4. Ask Questions
A simple technique for building rapport over the phone is to ask clarifying questions. This shows your client that you are actively listening and making an effort to understand them. It also encourages your client to talk more which gives you the opportunity to collect valuable information about their lives and priorities. Be sure to take notes!
5. Put Your Personality into the Script
You may use scripts or talking tracks with many of your insurance sales phone calls. That’s good. In fact, that’s great! But don’t be afraid to let your personality shine and be flexible for off-script moments. Maybe your client mentions something about their dog. It’s okay to go off-script and ask them what kind of dog they have and to share what kind of dog you have (if you have one). A quick flash of personal touch lets your client see you as a human and not just another salesperson.
6. Be Honest About Your Product and Timeline
There may be times when talking to your client, that you can’t give them everything they want. Rather than skirt over the details and try to sweep them under the rug, own up to the facts and be truthful. Honesty is a basic technique for building rapport over the phone because when a client knows you will give them straightforward information and not sugarcoat things, they will keep coming back to you for guidance. This can feel counterintuitive sometimes, especially if you are showing how another agency’s product or policy is cheaper than yours. But by being honest about the facts, you can easily pivot your talking points to showcase why your product is still a better fit for your client.
7. End the Call with a Shared Understanding of Next Steps
Take some time at the end of your call to summarize the conversation and lay out some possible next steps. Be sure to get buy-in from your client with questions like “Does that work for you?” or “Am I understanding this all accurately?” By including the client in the planning of next steps, you’re improving the odds of them following through since they will feel ownership over the process.
Want to make more time for building rapport over the phone with your clients? Let HBW Leads manage your lead generation and free up your schedule so you can focus on getting to know your clients. HBW Leads uses insurance and technology experts to provide you with double-verified leads specifically for your business.