Learn nine common insurance cold calling mistakes and what you and your team can do to avoid them.

Cold calling can be an intimidating part of insurance lead generation. But it’s a great way of getting your name out there and build rapport with prospects. Talking to strangers can feel awkward at first, but with practice and time, it becomes second nature. Avoid cold calling mistakes by reviewing your calling strategies periodically. Here are nine common cold calling mistakes to avoid and what to focus on instead.

1. Not knowing the product or process

If you’re sharing insurance information with a complete stranger, make sure you know your products. You won’t necessarily get into the nitty-gritty during a cold call, but if your lead asks a question about the insurance buying process or a particular policy offering, you need to be able to answer those questions. Review the different products your agency provides. Keep notes handy so you can refer to them if you need to. Any long pauses or lack of clarity can be seen by a lead as a sign of incompetence. Remember, it’s okay to say “I don’t know,” but it’s even better to say “Let me get back to you on that.”

2. Asking closed questions

One of the major goals in cold calling is to get to know your lead. This helps you confirm that they are, in fact, a good candidate for one of your policies or products, and also begins to establish trust. One of the cold calling mistakes to avoid is asking closed questions. Closed questions are any type of question that can be answered with a one-word answer. Yes or No questions can be helpful when gathering some basic demographic information. But if you’re looking to get to know someone and want to encourage engagement, try open-ended questions using who, what, where, when, and why as your guide.

3. Not listening

Out of all the cold calling mistakes out there, not listening is a common mistake made by seasoned agents. It happens innocently enough. An insurance agent who has been doing this for years can get into a pattern or routine and mentally “check out” during a phone conversation. Not listening to your lead can hurt your chances for a continued relationship and eventual sale. You also run the risk of missing out on important client information that could help you close a deal in the future. Get in the habit of taking comprehensive notes during your cold calls. You never know what piece of information will turn out to be beneficial in the long run.

4. Losing your focus/Not have clear goals for the call

This is one of those cold calling mistakes that happens from time to time. Sometimes agents get so caught up in conversation and relationship building that they lose focus. Before picking up the phone, you should have a clear goal in mind. With cold calls, this is your first opportunity to make a good impression. Having a script or a list of talking points will keep you from rambling.

5. Not establishing clear next steps

Just like losing focus, not having clear follow-up steps in place is another cold call mistake that can get in the way between you and your next sale. Be clear with your lead about what they can expect in terms of next steps. Confusion around follow-up calls or meetings can be a deal-breaker.

6. Mispronounce names or say the wrong name

Out of all the cold call mistakes out there, this one is probably the most obvious. Don’t mispronounce your lead’s name. And don’t call them by the wrong name. While it seems simple enough, if you’re on the phone for hours at a time with back-to-back phone calls, mixing up names or mispronouncing names can happen. If the name is tricky to say, try looking it up before the call. If you’re still unsure of how to pronounce a name, own up to it at the beginning of your call and seek confirmation on the correct pronunciation. Don’t forget to write down the phonetics in your notes so you and your team can reference them in the future.

7. Pitching instead of discussing

It’s easy to go into sales mode after the first minute of a cold call. But resist the urge to pitch your products for three minutes straight without checking in with your lead. Having a discussion that involves a back and forth sharing of information is key in cold calling. It’s great to be excited about your products or offerings, but not giving your lead a chance to get a word in edgewise is a major cold call mistake.

8. Sounding like you’re reading from a script

The importance of sales scripts and talking points cannot be overstated, but no one wants to talk to a robot. It’s important to make your scripts sound as natural as possible. Build in opportunities for back-and-forth conversation within your script. The ultimate success is to use a sales script without it sounding like you’re using a script. A great tool to review your technique is to record yourself either by yourself, or an actual sales call.

9. Ignoring customer objections

Out of all the cold call mistakes out there, there’s one that can permanently ruin a lead and that’s when agents ignore customer objections. Ignoring customers’ objections and pushing forward with your sales script or talking points is a major sign of disrespect. There are effective ways of handling customer objections while making a customer feel heard and building rapport. Not taking a moment to affirm a lead’s concerns signals to the lead that you’re not interested in getting to know them and their insurance needs. Not only is it a sign of disrespect, but it’s a missed opportunity to educate your lead on services and products available to them.

Avoiding cold calling mistakes is important but can be a real time-sink. Especially if your focus is on building relationships and nurturing leads. Reclaim this time by working with HBW Leads. HBW Leads will provide you and your agency double-verified and exclusive leads. This means you don’t have to compete with other agencies for the same customers.