Tag Archives: prospecting

Do you have the GUTS?

16 May

While reading around on one of the insurance forums that I frequent, I stumbled across a video of Claude Diamond.  He’s the founder of the GUTS sales system.  The video I watched basically shows Claude and a client role playing different scenarios and how to integrate the GUTS method of cold calling.  The part I enjoyed was learning how to get through the gatekeeper and straight to the decision maker or owner of the business.

I spent the day yesterday using this method (or a variation of said method) while calling large self storage facilities.  These are places I’ve called before but go nowhere.  Yesterday, while using this method, I was able to obtain the name and direct phone number of the person in charge of the company’s business insurance.  Was I actually able to speak to the owner?  Only a handful of times.  But, in my opinion, this method helped me get several steps closer to obtaining the sale.  Especially since I wasn’t able to get past the receptionist/office manager in my previous calls.

Here’s the video:   Oh, and if you go to YouTube and search GUTS sales training, there are many more videos there to learn from.


By the way, I have no affiliation with Claude Diamond or the GUTS Sales Method.  Please use his methods at your own risk.

Your turn:  After you’ve tried this out, let us know how it went.  We’d love to hear from you!


Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979



Connecting Clients With One Another

30 Apr

If you read this blog often enough, you know I’ve been targeting a lot of auto repair shops lately.  Well, a few days ago, I was talking with a new potential client who mentioned to me that the garage he currently rents out is getting way too expensive for him.  I happened to remember a client I signed a few weeks back mentioning that he wanted to rent out one of his beys so he could retire sooner.  So I put the two of them in touch and, long story short, the new guy ended up leaving his current garage and renting out the bey of my client at a more reasonable price.  And because of my actions, I ended up not only making my current client happy, but I made a connection for the new guy that allowed him to save money every month and, of course, he now insures through me.  Both clients have already told me they have a few business owner friends they’d like for me to meet to insure them as well.  I’d say this was a win-win-win situation!

My point is, if you have the opportunity to help out a client or two, do it!  Expect nothing more than knowing you went above and beyond for these clients who will remember that in the future when they are talking with their business owner friends.  I have no doubt they will recommend you!  And, if they don’t?  No worries, you can still sleep at night knowing you did a good thing for someone else.

Although you may not always come across a situation like I had where it would be easy to see the connection, you can be prepared in case an opportunity comes along.  Make sure you keep a list of reputable professional contacts (handyman, plumber, electrician, real estate agent, etc – preferably those that are already your clients) so that when a client mentions a certain need, you can open your file and recommend a great person to help them out.  And, on the flip side, request to be recommended from these people as well if and when they come across someone in need of insurance.

Your turn.  Have you had a similar situation where you were able to help out a client or potential client in a way you didn’t expect?  How did it work out?

Melissa Ash/NJ’s Business Insurance Lady
Irwin Edelstein Associates, Inc.

Tel: 732-549-1800 | 732-317-1979


Cold Calling Like A Pro 2

3 Apr

As a continuation of yesterday’s cold calling post, we are looking to answer the following questions:  What is the best time of day and/or the best day of the week to cold call?  How many hours per day should I spend cold calling?

Let’s start with What is the best time of day and/or day of the week to cold call?

Since we all have the same objective of getting to the decision maker, the answer to this question is any time of the day or week where you can catch the decision maker.  Ok, that seems a bit too simple right?  Well, think of it this way…what type of businesses are you looking to target?  If you were in that business, when do you think you’d be the busiest?  The answer to that question will tell you the best times to avoid calling.

For example, I target a lot of auto repair shops.  I’ve found that Monday mornings are the worst since most people are dropping their cars off for service as well as most afternoons (after 3pm) since the mechanics are scrambling to finish up cars before people pick them up.  During the rest of the week, I’ve found that mid morning (10-11:30am) and after lunch (1-3pm) are the best times to reach auto repair owners.

Targeting restaurants?  Try to avoid calling restaurant owners during the breakfast, lunch or dinner rush when the owners have the least amount of time to talk.

Targeting painters?  Any rainy day is a great time to catch a painter!

Now, what about corporate businesses where there is always a gatekeeper in your way?  Well,  your first contact should be with the gatekeeper since we can get extremely valuable information from him/her such as the target person’s name, who their current carrier is and x-date, among other things.  But, now you want to get through the gatekeeper and get to the decision maker, right?  So, when do you call?  My suggestion is to call anytime the gatekeeper is away from his/her desk which would be during lunch hour, before 9am and after 5pm.  Generally decision makers will have much longer office hours then their receptionists and you will have a better shot at catching them at that time.

Also, for any business that may have to generate quarterly reports or reach monthly quotas, avoid the last week of the month.  Most of these type of employees spend this time on a mountain of paperwork in preparation for the start of the next month and/or they are scrambling to fill their monthly quota.

That being said, my personal philosophy with cold calling?  You should be cold calling or cold knocking any time you are not doing something else productive!  Anyone you don’t get this time around, you can always try again in a few months.

Let’s move on to the next question of How many hours a day should I spend cold calling?

That depends on your sales goals.  The best way to figure out how many calls a day you need is to write out the following:

1.  My annual sales goal is $_________.

2.  My monthly sales goal is $_______.

3.  I make $_________ in commission per sale (this can vary…feel free to average)

4.  I need ________ number of sales a month to hit my monthly sales goal.  #2 divided by #3 = #4

5.  It takes ________number of hot leads to make 1 sale. (A hot lead is someone willing to let you quote them and has given you all the information needed to do so.)

6.  It takes ________ number of cold calls to make 1 hot lead.

7.  Multiply the numbers from #4, 5, & 6 to find the total number of cold calls you need to make per month. _________

8.  Divide the answer to #7 by the number of days you work per month, and this will give you the number of cold calls you need to make each of those days to hit your monthly and yearly sales goals.  ________________

And, thus, the answer to #8 will give you a general idea of how much time per day you should spend cold calling.  I generally cold call until I’ve hit my cold calling goals (number of cold calls not including those that don’t answer), but some people set daily cold calling goals based on the number of leads they generate (I’m not stopping until I get 10 leads),  or based on the number of x-dates they receive.   However you want to do it is fine, just make sure you have a goal and you stick to it!

Your turn:  Please share your experience with cold calling.  I’d love to hear any other advice you may have for us concerning the topics discussed above.

If you have any ideas or requests for future posts, please feel free to email me at melissa@njbusinessinsurancelady.com

Melissa Ash

New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady




Stand Out From The Rest

28 Mar

It seems as though every time I talk about marketing ideas with veteran business insurance agents, I’m told there really isn’t much you can do other than cold calling, walking into businesses and gaining referrals but I’m not convinced!  And I assume that since you read this blog, you are not convinced either.

While those three things definitely need to be a huge part of your marketing strategy, I truly believe there is more we can do to stand out. My goal is not to be known as every other insurance agent who has called or stopped by.  I want clients and potential clients to remember me.  To want to stay with me because they feel they know me.  And to refer me to others not only because I can do a great job for them, but because I’m not the same as every other agent they’ve ever come across.

So how do we do become memorable? Think about the most memorable and successful businesses in this world.  They all have a hook related to what they do, right?  When you think about a junk removal company, you aren’t thinking about the little known truck down the street.  You are thinking about ‘Got Junk?’.  When you think about researching something online, immediately you think ‘Let’s Google it.’   This is all due to great branding on the business owner‘s part.

That’s why I decided to brand myself as New Jersey‘s Business Insurance Lady!  And while clients may not initially know my real name, they do call and ask to speak to The Business Insurance Lady so my branding efforts seem to be paying off.  Once you’ve decided how you will brand yourself, here are some ways to make sure you become known for your brand:

  • Create a website for your brand.  Even if you are a captive agent, you should have your own personal business website dedicated to getting clients to call YOU specifically.  Make sure you market your brand throughout.
  • Change your business cards, flyers, postcards, etc. to reflect your brand imaging (cohesive colors, fonts, etc)
  • Create a facebook page specifically for your brand.
  • Answer the phone with your tag line (Ex:  Thank you for calling New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady.  How may I help you?)
  • Introduce yourself to others with your brand/tag line as the focus.
  • Cold call using your tag line.
  • Create a blog to supplement your branding and show you off as an expert in your field.
  • Make sure your email address reflects your branding as well as your email signature. (For example, instead of Independent Insurance Agent under my name, my signature always has New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady as my job description and my email address is melissa@njbusinessinsurancelady.com.)

Time to get your creative juices flowing!  How will you brand yourself?  Here are some questions to ask yourself as you are getting started:

  • Pick what you want to be known for.  Do you want to write all insurance for auto repair businesses or apartment complexes in your state?
  • Create a catchy name or tag line for yourself that creatively describes who you are and what you do.  For example, would anyone need to ask me, New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady, what I do for a living?

Now get out there and start branding yourself!

Your turn.  Have you done any branding in the past?  What have you found to be successful and unsuccessful?  But, if you are just getting started, please be sure to come back and tell us what your name or tag line is!

If you have any ideas or requests for future posts, please feel free to email me at melissa@njbusinessinsurancelady.com

Melissa Ash

New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady


Become An Expert

26 Mar

We all aim to get to the point of being an expert in this field.  We all hope to one day (if you aren’t already), become known in your area for being the go to person for business insurance.  But, the question is, how do we get there?

Of course time spent in this business and knowledge of our products will help us get where we want to go but how do we make it known how knowledgeable we are?  We certainly don’t want to turn everyone off by constantly talking about nothing but insurance since every time we come close to anyone we would just see their ass as they run away!  So, obviously, we need another forum.

In my opinion, free press releases and articles are the way to go!  Even if you are just starting out in this business, you can always just write about what you know.  Have you been focusing on restaurants lately?  Write an article giving insurance tips to restaurant owners.  Does it seem as though you encounter business owners on a daily basis with the same questions?  Answer them in a press release.

Make sure in your article you include an engaging title, an introduction paragraph that will draw in your target audience and, after the body of your article, a conclusion that sums it all up.  While you will not include your contact information within your article, information about you and your business will be displayed when the article is published.  The more articles you write, the more you will be seen as an expert in the field.  And, the hope is, people will begin to come to you for guidance and to buy from you.  Doesn’t everyone prefer to work with an expert as opposed to someone who may not know the details of their business?

Once you’ve written your article, you’ll want it published for the world to see.  Here are a few sites I like to use:




You may also want to look up online and offline magazines and newspapers who target the audience you are writing to and see if you can submit your work for free to them as well.

Here are a few articles I’ve written myself:



Your turn.  How do you think writing articles and press releases will help your business?  And, of course, please feel free to add a link to your article so we can check it out!

If you have any ideas or requests for future posts, please feel free to email me at melissa@njbusinessinsurancelady.com

Melissa Ash

New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady


Beyond the phone book…

22 Mar

As I’m driving around to clients or taking my family to the park, I always notice service vehicles and lawn signs of businesses (usually service businesses) and want to take down their information so I can cold call them.  As much as I’d love to stop every few minutes, interrupt my family time and visit each and every one of these businesses, I can’t. Nor is it safe to try and write down the info while I’m driving with me knee.

Instead, I pulled out my trusty old mini tape recorder and began recording every business I see that I want to contact when I’m back in the office.  The tape recorder remains with me at all times and any time I’m sitting at a traffic light next to an HVAC (or any other type of service for that matter) vehicle, I turn on my recorder and tell it the name of the company, phone number, what type of company it is and that there is a service vehicle as well (so I know to offer commercial auto).  Also, anytime I see lawn signs or billboards with companies I’d like to quote, I do the same thing.  Pull out my recorder and tape any and all info I can gather from the billboard or lawn sign.

Does this generate more leads for me?  Absolutely!  I’ve gotten quite a few new clients using this method and even though my family gets a bit annoyed every time I pull out my recorder (because that means the kids need to be quiet for a minute), I’m sure they’ll enjoy eating again next month from the money I make off my tape recorder.

So, pull out your mini tape recorder and start finding businesses to contact not listed in the phone book!

Your turn.  What other methods have you used to find businesses to contact who aren’t in the phone book?

If you have any ideas or requests for future posts, please feel free to email me at melissa@njbusinessinsurancelady.com

Melissa Ash

New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady


Touch Your Clients More…

19 Mar

The passing of St. Patrick’s Day made me think about how often we are keeping in touch with our current clients.   Is your client signing the paperwork, handing over a check and then you never see or speak to them again?  If so, is it any wonder they are quick to move on as soon as the next agent comes along and shows them a savings?

So, the question is, how do we keep our clients from moving on at the drop of a hat?  Answer:  Touch them more!

And, no, I don’t mean physically touch them (and I sure hope this site doesn’t pop up on an x-rated google search because of these key words!), I mean reach out to them.  Keep your name in their mind and make them feel special, even if it’s only 3-4 times a year.  There’s nothing we want more then for our clients to answer an insurance cold call and say, “I’m happy with the agent I already have.”

The reason the passing of St. Patrick’s Day got me thinking about this is because I wondered how many people were sending out St. Patty’s Day cards to their clients.  I know we all send out holiday cards around Thanksgiving and Christmas but what about sending out holiday cards on the off beat holidays?  Wouldn’t it be great to be the only card a client receives on a holiday? 

Here are some of the upcoming holidays you can and should send a card out to touch your client:

  • Easter
  • First Day of Summer
  • 4th of July
  • Back to School/Labor Day

Make sure to include a copy of your business card or, better yet, a magnetic business card.  Other than that, no writing about business.  Just a simple, Hoppy Easter or Aren’t you glad the kids are back in school? will do the trick.  Have some extra time one your hands?  Personalize each one with a handwritten message to make your client feel extra special.

Your turn.  What other creative ways have you used to touch your clients throughout the year? 

If you have any ideas or requests for future posts, please feel free to email me at melissa@njbusinessinsurancelady.com

Melissa Ash

New Jersey’s Business Insurance Lady




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