Socratic Questioning and Your Sales Conversations

Do you want to elevate your sales conversations as a final expense or preneed agent? Use the Socratic questioning method to turn your “sales pitch” into a genuine discussion that educates, edifies, and expands your client’s perspectives.

When we think about questions in a sales conversation, we often make the mistake of using questioning as a means to an end: finding that client’s negative bias in regards to final expense or preneed insurance, and then helping to correct that distortion with our sales acumen and irrepressible logic.

This is not a terrible questioning model, and it may even be effective at times. However, if you’re looking to really transform your client’s critical thinking about final expense or preneed insurance and the value you can provide, take a note from the 4th century BCE by considering the 6 types of questions Socrates would use to teach his students.

Clarifying concepts. These questions establish what the client already knows about final expense or preneed insurance, uncovers bias or negativity, and lays a foundation for future questions.

• What do you know about final expense or preneed insurance?
• Can you give me an example of a time when insurance benefitted you?
• Why do you think it may not be worth the financial sacrifice?
• What have you heard about final expense or preneed insurance?
• What is your experience with end of life expenses?

Probing assumptions. This is a time when you can gently challenge a client’s preconceived notions about final expense insurance and educate them on the truths they haven’t heard.

• Is final expense or preneed insurance always unnecessary or superfluous?
• What expectations do you have when we talk about this?
• Where is your experience coming from?
• You seem to be assuming that final expense or preneed insurance is expensive—where does that assumption originate?

Probing rationale, reasons, and evidence. These questions provide a little cognitive dissonance to an open-minded client, and this is a great time to provide them with resources to use to come to some of their own conclusions.

• Where have you gotten this information?
• Who would you consider an “expert” in final expense or preneed insurance?
• Would you read an article that actually provides evidence contrary to your rationale?

Questioning viewpoints and perspectives. Here is where you and your client identify the resistance they may be feeling and challenge those perspectives with personal stories and experiences that may help them see a different side of the “argument.”

• Have you ever considered this from a totally different standpoint?
• Why is it better than or different from…?
• Can I tell you a story that demonstrates the exact opposite of what you’re saying?

Probing implications and consequences. This is a great opportunity to follow some storylines to illustrate your points about the benefits of final expense or preneed insurance.

• What would be the consequences of accepting this investment?
• What would be the consequences of not having final expense or preneed insurance?
• How could this realistically change your day-to-day?
• How could this affect your future, or the future of your family?

Questioning the question. At the end of a Socratic discussion, it is great practice to reflect on our learning, our biases, and our epiphanies.

• What have we talked about today?
• Have we learned anything new about final expense or preneed insurance?
• Are there any areas of our perspective that have changed?
• What is something you will consider moving forward?

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