3 Ways to Manage Prospect Expectations

One of the skills that successful Consultative Brokers learn at an early age is how to 'manage' prospect expectations. Your ability to do this on the front end of the transaction has a direct correlation to your success on the back end (i.e. your closing ratio on Broker of Record Letter appointments.)

One of the skills that successful Consultative Brokers learn at an early age is how to 'manage' prospect expectations.  Your ability to do this on the front end of the transaction has a direct correlation to your success on the back end (i.e. your closing ratio on Broker of Record Letter appointments.)

The need to manage expectations becomes critical when a prospect's requests and 'perceived' needs do not align themselves with your organization's strengths.  Here are some examples:

  • The prospect believes your organization is simply going to quote their business.

  • The prospect declines to provide you with full data (e.g. financial statements.)

  • The prospect shuts you out from other decision makers.

  • The prospect gives the incumbent broker a 'preferred' position.

  • The prospect will not use the Broker Selection Model over the Market Selection Model.

In each of these cases, your ability to re-focus and manage expectations requires that you substitute an outcome that is more meaningful to the prospect's business organization than the one they are choosing.

I can hear some of you thinking right now, "Are you telling me that I should not listen to my prospect's requests and give them what they want?"  Exactly.  In the case where they're going down the wrong path, you have to work differently.

One of my closest industry friends once told me, "Some prospects don't know what they don't know."  Think about it. What this means is, if a prospect has never seen something, been taught something or learned the advantage of something, then they will continue to go down the same path.

The basis of Consultative Brokerage is to provide a buyer a quantifiable impact that improves their business organization. How many of your prospects expect this outcome when you first call on them?  Not many I would guess.

So, to have a successful outcome, you need to understand the prospect's expectations and manage them effectively, thereby aligning their expectations with your deliverable outcomes. Isn't that the basis of all high level selling?

Here are 3 Ways to Manage Your Prospect's Expectations and help them decide on the best course of action (appointing you as the broker, of course):

1. Determine common areas of agreement and goals - From the initial conversation, always point to the ways you will look to help your clients improve their profits, capitalization, shareholder value and productivity.  This becomes your theme throughout the entire sales process.

2. Keep your focus on these quantifiable goals - By constantly featuring what you are looking to achieve, your prospect will stay engaged and look to your firm for guidance.  In many cases, you will achieve broker control by reminding the prospect of your goals.

3. Appeal to their sense of urgency - Every organization has a sense of urgency around important financial goals.  For-profit firms look to improve their financial position.  Not-for-profits are interested in serving more constituents.  Keep this in the forefront to keep their attention focused.

Managing a prospect's expectations is a critical part of attracting new accounts.  The brokers who master this skill are excellent communicators and have a confidence and reputation that transcend the basic insurance transactions.  

This is how they become Consultative Brokers who achieve tremendous hit ratios and success on large accounts.

All the best to Consultative Brokers,

Rob Ekern

President/CEO

C.R. Ekern & Company


Topics