Wednesday, June 10, 2020

What's A Fact Finder?

There are two types of sales - transactional and relationship based. When you go to the store and buy groceries, you pick out what you want, take it to the cashier and pay. No one asks you about your dietary restrictions or who else is going to eat dinner or what your grocery budget is. It's a pure transaction. Some would even go so far as to call this sales person an "order taker". 

A relationship based sale is different. No, there isn't a real "relationship" involved, but the seller will ask questions. And if they are worth their salt, the sales person will drill down for more information. This is where a great tool, the fact finder, comes in handy. 

In my 35+ years in sales I've seen people who do both. When I first broke into the insurance business, we sold accident plans door-to-door. There weren't a lot of return visits or questionnaires. All we did was push the benefits of the plan and close hard. One co-worker referred to it as "guerrilla sales" because we attacked the prospects and left. There was a lot of high pressure stuff going on and, as you can imagine, a lot of cancellations of policies after we walked out the door.

Years later I worked for another insurance carrier who had a fact finding questionnaire, but it wasn't required and seemed like more work than it was worth. Again, sales were lackluster. I glanced at it and memorized a few of the questions, but didn't make it a workable part of my presentation. 

Eventually I went to work for a very large life insurance carrier and it was mandatory for us to use a fact finder. Theirs was about 10 pages and very in depth. Mentally, it was a struggle for the agents to wrap their heads around this booklet. The managers were insistent that we use it. "The sale is in the fact finder" was the mantra.

It took a few months to get comfortable with asking the questions. I found short cuts and ways to ask the questions that were relevant to the client. As their needs changed, I could ask the other questions later on down the road. I learned how to do this correctly and my sales started to get better. I was managing to get bigger cases. More importantly, I was finding out what the client wanted and how much they could actually spend. 

If done correctly and casually, a good fact finder will help find out what the actual needs of the client are. And by asking sincere follow up questions, the sales person can build a rapport with the client. Don't think of it as a questionnaire and giving someone the third degree. Instead it's a great way to get a relevant conversation going, thus building the relationship on a foundation of trust and genuine concern. 

If you look to the right side of this page you'll find a button asking you to schedule a time with one of our agents. With the Covid-19 virus in consideration, we can do some good fact finding over the phone. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you find the protection you need. 

And as always, stay healthy!

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, as well as a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient.

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