The Cliff Notes

This episode kicks off a series where we deep dive into each of the 5 Real Reasons Why People Don’t Buy that we discussed in Episode 03 and 04. Join Chris, Roger and Austin as we take a further look at tactical ways to build trust from the time you get ready until the moment you get back in the car after a successful sit.

Questions Covered in this Episode

When new agents are starting out, trust probably isn’t the first thing they are thinking about. What are they focusing on when they get into this business?

  • “I hope I can sell a policy”
  • “I hope they need life insurance today.”
  • “I hope they open the door.”
  • “I hope they don’t open the door.”
  • “I need to know product knowledge.”
  • “I need to know how to do the presentation.”
  • “Where’s the phone script?”
  • “Where do I sit?”
  • “Do I use my computer”
  • “How do I find out information on the carriers.”
  • “Are you coming with me?”

At what stage in the training process do you think trust should be taught?

  • It’s day one: we begin and end with trust. It’s what opens a door, it’s what closes a door. It’s what ends a sale, it’s what closes a sale. It’s a repeated priority.
  • In basketball, John Wooden – the winningest coach in NCAA history – would teach his guys how to tie their shoes and put on their socks. These are players that have been scoring 20 points a game and are thinking this is ridiculous but he’s teaching them the fundamentals. A blister could affect how you run which could sprain an ankle and then you’re out for the season or a few games when we need you the most. That’s how trust is. It’s basic and it’s fundamental.

Why are an agent’s initial focuses that we just went through secondary to establishing trust?

  • In every sales opportunity, you have to have trust. When you’re at the grocery at the counter and look down, you see very familiar brands that you’ve seen many, many times before. Companies spend millions and millions of dollars creating and developing trust – branding the concept of “we have a worthwhile product and we are trustworthy.”
  • Websites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Angie’s List, or your neighborhood Facebook page are all built on the reviews and experiences of other people. That’s what gains companies traction because people want to know if they can trust this person to come into their home and do this repair. Everyone is looking to establish trust.
  • Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. was recently on a commercial about reverse mortgages saying “I’ve been around awhile. I feel like I know some things. I feel like I know when I can trust people and I trust this company and I trust the reverse mortgage.” He’s speaking to people who are in his generation who may need a reverse mortgage and they’re going this is a trusted face: “If Magnum PI trusts these people, so can I.”
  • Then there’s social media influencers who post pictures with products to influence people’s purchasing decisions. You have people like Gary Vee who is a marketing genius and Casey Neistat, a YouTuber who took Nike’s money to travel all over the world to say Make it Count and Do More. They’re creating familiarity with their audience and they’re creating trust.
  • When we walk into these one-on-one sales, our agents don’t have it on the top of their minds that this is the number one priority. I’m not sure why because it’s in everything else that we consume – it’s the trust building phase. It’s just done differently. 
  • When Chris came in, he had a trustworthy face. The running joke was he looked like the comfortable people in Hollywood like Al Borland, Drew Carey and Jim Gaffigan got smashed together. People trust him when I knock on their door so people trust me when I’m smiling and waving.
  • When Chris started, his approach was very easy with people and they would get comfortable with him fairly quickly. It doesn’t come so naturally with other people so it has to be taught. Without trust, a transaction can’t be made. A long-term successful career in this industry is going to be built on establishing trust.

Where does trust building start with a client?

  • It starts when you get up and start getting ready for the day. Stand in the mirror before you leave the house and ask yourself, “Would you let you into your home? Would you buy from the person you’re looking at?” Presentation matters. If your clothes aren’t ironed or they’re all wrinkled up because they were laying in the chair from the day before, that creates a problem of people trusting you. You can create your own barriers of people trusting you.
  • When Roger got started in sales, it used to be you had to shave your beard because people would think you’re hiding something. He doesn’t have a beard now but you all do. (He used to have a go-tee linked here). We used to do business-to-business sales and we would dress up and suit up. Now it’s business casual but if you go out in a t-shirt, it probably won’t work well. Your appearance matters.
  • The reason why we bring this up today and the thing we like about it is that you’re thinking about trust before you even walk out the door – you’re not thinking about selling. You’re thinking “Do I look trustworthy? Am I trustworthy? Can people count on me? Do I look like someone they can trust?” It’s a good mindset to have.
  • It’s all about lowering barriers – lowering any barrier that’s unnecessary so you can have an honest conversation about what’s important. Trust is about lowering the barriers and creating open dialogue.

After you leave the house, what does trust like when you first make contact with your client?

  • If you’re making phone appointments, it’s the first words out of your mouth to make them feel comfortable. We teach “phone tone” and “door CORE”. Don’t be stuffy or sound tense.  If you’re door-knocking, do a drive-by to see if their home and the primary door of entry. When you pull into their driveway, have everything ready and don’t be on the phone.
  • When you pull-in, leave the car running, door open, and take your lead-sheet clipboard to the door with a smile on your face. Wave at the window so that they see you. You want to look like a friendly, non-threatening person that’s looking for help. It starts as early as that.
  • On the phone, you’re thinking about your tone. At the door, you’re thinking about establishing rapport.
  • When Chris knocks on the door, I’m the friendliest, dumbest guy in town. “I don’t know if I’m at the right spot – I’m looking for Mrs. Jones. Are you Mrs. Jones? [Yes I’m Mrs. Jones] I’m so glad I found you!”
  • People like to help people and it’s a way of building trust. 
  • When you leave the car running, it’s communicating that we aren’t going to be there for a long time. By bringing your stack of leads, it’s communicating that we have other people to see who trust us. 
  • One key tool in this process is empathy. You have to consider what the client is experiencing as if you were in their shoes. Don’t do anything that makes them feel like you’re a stranger.
  • Make note as you drive by or enter the driveway of what’s going on in the home to understand the client. Be mindful of cars, gardens, gnomes, or other unique items to compliment them on.
  • If they’re not at the door, confidently look at other doors or over the fence to see if they’re home. They may be out in the garden or in the garage. Be friendly and not threatening.
  • Slow down as you’re in the area of the client’s home because they may be out and about. If your client isn’t home, then you’ve started to build trust with those around them. Create opportunities with their neighbors because you were aware of their surroundings.
  • There’s a key piece that gets lost in the sale. It’s the fact that I as a salesperson am a human being who interacts with other human beings. At the door, the number one thing the client is thinking is I don’t want to be sold something and I don’t want them in my house – for whatever reasons.
  • People get on the stage of sales and stop being a human. They run a sales script instead of a human-to-human interaction. They self-sabotage by going too fast or getting nervous.
  • The first two questions people have when you make contact are “Who are you?” and “What do you want?” You don’t have to wonder what they are thinking. Don’t get into anything else until you answer those questions.
  • Nod your head yes and they will to because people repeat you.
  • Go back to your car to get your things and turn the car off. That communicates that they are going to stay a little longer. 
  • As you get up to the door, wipe your feet real quick and say “Thanks for having me in.” That set’s an expectation and assumes the next steps because you had built the trust.
  • Confidence builds trust. Move confidently, speak confidently, phrase your questions confidently. 

After you’ve entered the home, do you start the presentation or is there more trust to be built?

  • You’re definitely not pulling out an application or asking for their drivers license or social security number.
  • Enter the home and sit in their safe living space rather than at the table. Let them sit in their favorite spot and sit reasonably close to them and begin doing CORE, an acronym for building trust.
  • CORE stands for Children, Occupation, Recreation, and Emotion. It’s about having conversations about things matter to them and builds a bridge to have the right to give a presentation. 
  • CORE will tell us about who they are, their discretionary income and how they like to spend their money, and what they love.
    • Talk about their family and what matters to them.
    • Talk about their work history, what they loved about it, what they did, why it was important to them.
    • Talk about the things they love to do
  • As you discuss these things, you’ll remove barrier brick by brick until you reveal the real emotion about why you’re there in the first place.
  • One of the things that a lot of agents forget in this business is CORE and establishing trust is 2-way communication. They forget that they’re a human being and they go through these check-off questions but it doesn’t work like that.
  • As you go through CORE, also establish who you are and who you are in their community. Let them know you’re a real person. By having a real conversation, you develop a mini-relationship. You have to be comfortable with giving and not just getting information.
  • Show them your dogs – people love animals. Show them your family or your kids. That’s the beautiful thing about having smartphones. Pull up your pictures or Facebook and show them these things.
  • If we’re establishing trust and using the acronym CORE to get there, this first one C for Children really represents family – who they are and who is important to them.
  • O is for occupation – what they did, what they do, what they value. Sometimes people have been in the military or belong to organizations they’re proud of like motorcycle clubs, hunting groups, gyms, church associations, charities, etc. That kind of bleeds from occupation into R for recreation but those two things are tied based on their age and season of life.
  • If it’s a mortgage protection lead and they’re 40, ask “What do you do? How long have you been working there? Is this something you want to continue to do? What are your kids or spouse involved with?” Then transition recreation into value to discover what’s important to them.
  • It doesn’t take long to figure out what’s important to them by looking around their home like what’s hanging on the fridge or mantle or walls.
  • When they start opening up and sharing things that are important to them, you’ll start to get a glimpse of their life.
  • You can still enter a home with minimal trust. There may be some skepticism but if you take the time to observe and empathize and connect with them as a human being, you can build trust and the client will open up.
  • The E of core is Emotion but there’s empathy tied to that.
  • New agents will get so focused on their script and what they’re supposed to say or their product knowledge and forget the most important thing: does this person trust me.
  • Once they trust you, you have a multitude of graces extended to you. Focus on the relationship first.
  • If you notice one of the spouses with less patience, take care of them first.
  • When you establish trust and prioritize a relationship, it’s easy to move forward and take care of the client.
  • It goes back to having the mindset of “What would you want if someone else were sitting in your home talking to you?” It’s the empathy piece that’s very important when building trust.
  • E is the Emotion of the matter: what triggered their emotion to respond? You’re figuring out what’s important to them.
  • Life insurance sales is primarily an emotional sale because it’s about placing value on the people they care about the most through a non-tangible purchase. They don’t get a physical product to continuously feel good about. They’re getting a piece of paper and a promise.

Do you hit the E in CORE every time as a specific point or does it come out through the other three?

  • You may hit emotion early and that’s okay. What we’re talking about here is addressing the questions, “What made you start thinking about final expenses? What made you start thinking about dying or passing away?”
  • In most of our clients’ cases, someone passed away recently or there was an illness and they started worrying about some things in their life that they hadn’t taken care of.
  • The difference is you’re getting to the why you’re having the conversation in the first place vs. emotion to make a connection and earn trust.
  • Taking the time to do CORE and build trust will pay off in the end as it will help you discover what’s truly important so that you can write a policy and not worry about chargebacks.
  • The E in CORE allows you to transition into the next real reason of Need

If you’re transitioning from Trust to Need & Want, that’s assuming you’ve built trust but how do you know that trust has been built?

  • You know there’s trust when you feel connected with them and have a relationship.
  • Depending on their personality type, you may need to move to the next step if they’re looking for the information. If this is the case, don’t forget to do the work afterwards. The work still needs to be done.
  • CORE can transition what a relationship looks like and how a sit will go.
  • You’ll know if you didn’t gain trust if you reach the end of the sale and they say “I’ll think about it.”
  • If you feel like you have good trust established, the transition of moving locations within the home will be very easy. Initially, they won’t want you in their space so if it’s still awkward, you still have work to do.
  • In some cases, a client will go through writing an app and then cancel days later to avoid conflict in the home.
  • Lean into confrontation. Address fears and issues and tension rather than pushing through and ignoring it. If you’re not connecting, you’re wasting time. Ask if there’s something you need to talk about or something you need to address.

Once you’ve addressed the elephants in the room, built CORE, and identified trust – what’s next?

  • Typically, you’re writing an application to meet their needs after you’ve covered all of the five real reasons. But it doesn’t stop with that policy. Your reputation precedes you.
  • If you’ve built great trust, so many referrals can come out of that relationship which means free leads and opportunities for you to serve more people. There’s children, neighbors, friends, and so many others that they are connected to.
  • You will build a career in this business if you focus on trust.
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