Part of your job as an agent is to make the client feel comfortable with both yourself and the policy that you are developing for them. In fact, this is one of the key elements of your trade as it will open up discussions and options that would otherwise be off the table. But how can you do this? How do you put someone at ease when your prior interaction with them has been limited?
There are certain factors that can be used in your favor to help a client feel comfortable with you and the service you are providing. Here a few that may help:
Environment can be a huge factor. Visiting a client in their home has this stacked in your favor, and should give you some confidence right off the bat. Making yourself feel comfortable in this unfamiliar environment will also only serve to facilitate things – This can be different for each individual, but be sure to take steps before your appointment to calm yourself and prepare mentally to be ready to step into their home.
Appearance is a basic but crucial factor. It is also a difficult one. In terms of putting someone at ease, a power suit may not be the best route to go, but you need to appear professional, so you can’t wear just any old thing. An important item to consider is your own personality. A very charismatic, outgoing, and personable individual could pull off the three piece suit and still make their client feel at ease. If you are new at this and still working out some kinks, a better idea may be a more relaxed appearance, still using a jacket and tie approach, but with a splash of warm colors (warm, not intense!) which will make you appear more approachable. Your comfort affects your mannerisms though, so above all, make sure that you are comfortable in what you are wearing or the client will notice!
Body language is a very subtle tactic that can have great affect. It may be difficult at first, but with effort and practice, you will be able to master this device. As basics, your eye contact will indicate interest and positive thinking of what the speaker is saying. Try and avoid crossing your arms over your chest, this is almost always seen as a type of barrier to communications. Good posture should be maintained in order to indicate interest, alertness, and a professional bearing. The tricky part is not to be too rigid and appear only business, but to have just enough relaxed mannerism to exude warmth and friendliness while retaining your professionalism. A hot tip here is to mirror the body language of your client. This is a tactic that is often employed in interviews to help the interviewee feel more at ease – Mirroring of body language is almost universally interpreted as showing understanding.
Language is an item that will develop over time, but is, of course, one of your most powerful assets. This doesn’t mean English or Spanish or French, but how you craft what you are saying in order to show your client that you are focusing on them. Rather than just selling the client something, you are working with them to provide a valuable asset. Instead of trying to add on extras, you are exploring options to help fulfill their needs. Slight shifts in the way you present your language will show your focus is indeed on them and not just the sale, which will take a load off of their mind and allow them to trust what you are telling them.
Finally, understanding, in terms of trust, demonstrating your understanding of the products you are presenting is extremely important. Even more important is making it evident that you understand the client’s needs, and are properly developing policies to reflect that. Exhibiting this knowledge and know how will not only put your client at ease and gain their trust, but they will enhance your reputation and allow you to write policies that last – And that is what will benefit everyone involved.
Strike up a conversation in the comments and let us know what helps you put your clients at ease!