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Sales and business development training

A series of customizable programs from Zurich Academy for Select Brokers® to help sales teams gain a competitive edge.

Our Sales and Business Development Training, part of the Zurich Academy for Select Brokers©, delivers training designed to help your team gain the competitive edge you need to win, retain and grow your accounts.

Why our training can help your organization:

Customization: Our training can be customized for your needs. Select any of our programs as designed or we will work with you to configure it to your group’s specific objectives. We also can deliver programs “à la carte”: Choose content from several of the categories below to create a program best-suited to your organization.

Primary or supplemental training: Our role can be primary or supplemental. Utilize our content to fill a gap in your current curriculum or employ our programs to supplement or reinforce training your organization has already adopted and is committed to pursuing.

Insurance-industry specific: Many training programs are “one size fits all,” with no distinction between industries. We believe the insurance industry presents unique challenges in terms of sales, negotiation practices and management needs. For example, in highly sophisticated commercial insurance situations, the sales cycle tends to be lengthy, complex and involve multiple stakeholders who may or may not be known to the seller. Our training is exclusively built for the insurance industry, with examples, case studies and role-playing that integrate insurance-related situations.

Emphasis on practical application: We don’t do conventional classroom-type training, which often focuses on talking at people and telling them what to do. Instead, our training is laser-focused on insurance and risk management situations and utilizes highly interactive exercises, case studies and role-playing that is relevant, practical and designed to get people out of their comfort zones.

Combining sales with product training: Complex insurance products are a tough sell, even in the best of circumstances. We design programs that isolate an insurance product (or combination of products) and then provide sales strategies designed to support those products in the context of specific customer situations.  

Career development imperatives: Regardless of the organizational role a person fills, they have to be accomplished at selling, influencing and/or persuading others. These skills are critical for personal and professional success. Let us help your organization build the skills your people need to make them even more committed and valuable to your company.

Value-added service: Our training is provided without charge to our key Select Broker colleagues. So you really have nothing to lose. Call us to discuss your needs and learn how we can help provide or improve training that can deliver a positive difference in your operations.

Explore our lineup of courses:

For more information about our programs, please contact:

Sales training and coaching

The art of getting quality referrals

In the pursuit of new business, every salesperson would prefer to approach someone who is a “hot lead.” Few people want to call prospects “cold” from a phone book or a group of business owners provided by a list broker (not much better). That’s why it’s important to get in the habit of regularly asking for referrals. The acquisition of quality referrals helps build healthy, robust and productive sales pipelines.

Course highlights:

  • Why you deserve to ask for referrals, whether you’re dealing with a prospect or client
  • How to ask for quality referrals that actually lead to measurable results
  • How to develop a disciplined, standardized referral-gathering strategy

Closing sales with effective storytelling

Consider this Native American proverb: “Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”  Selling insurance is difficult and involves a complex analysis of needs and coverages that are technical and often difficult to understand. To be effective, we have to appeal to people at the intellectual level, and make complex issues easier to understand. But we also have to reach people emotionally. Stories can do that and, effectively utilized, they can help you win business.

Course highlights:

  • Understand the essential ingredients of effective stories and how those ingredients make stories memorable and inspire action.
  • Learn where in the sales process stories can be most effective.
  • Hear examples of stories used in insurance-related sales situations.
  • Develop and deliver your sales story for group discussion and critique.  

Comprehensive sales training 

This program provides an end-to-end analysis of the sales process. This analysis helps the producer build or refine critical sales skills and self-identify where in the sales process improvement is needed. The most important theme in this program is its focus on the mindset that successful salespeople must embrace, starting with the reality that selling invariably involves constant rejection: Salespeople who perceive of that rejection as a personal sign of failure tend to wash out of the business; those who embrace rejection as an opportunity to learn, improve and get stronger tend to be the most successful.

Course highlights:

  • Focus on prospecting, needs analysis, active listening, handling objections, and closing
  • Real world, insurance case scenarios used to illustrate concepts
  • The importance of follow-up and establishing responsibility and accountability for every step in the sales process
  • Using rejection as a vehicle for positive personal and professional change and development

Creating and articulating your value proposition

A value proposition is that thing (or things) about you, your product, service and/or organization that will be perceived as so important and valuable to the current or prospective buyer that they feel they can’t do without it, even if alternatives are available at a lower price. This course helps participants build and articulate effective and compelling value propositions.

Course highlights:

  • Six criteria that are critical to establishing an effective value proposition
  • How to determine if you have a value proposition that makes pursuit of a prospect viable
  • The relationship between value propositions and “elevator speeches”

Power networking

Most professionals acknowledge the importance of networking, but few do it with specific goals and objectives in mind. This course helps producers develop a more consistent, disciplined and productive networking strategy.

Course highlights:

  • Top 10 benefits of networking
  • Identifying professionals who need to be in your network
  • Consistently helping others: the secret ingredient to power networking
  • Developing a networking strategy that aligns with your business objectives

Real-time/actual “live” cases sales coaching

Review and discussion of actual cases producers are working on (identity of actual clients involved is not revealed). Focus is on resolving potential breakdowns or obstacles in the process, developing tactics or strategies for advancing the sale, and conducting post-mortem analyses on why an account was won, retained or lost.

Course highlights:

  • Highly interactive discussion in a safe, nurturing environment where participants can feel comfortable expressing both positive and negative feelings regarding any aspect of the sales process
  • How to decide when or if to continue or halt the pursuit of a prospect or client (the “fish or cut bait” scenario)
  • Participants are typically exposed to a broad range of sales challenges and an appreciation for sharing information, ideas and possible solutions
  • Producers emerge with actionable recommendations for addressing sales challenges they are currently facing

Selling to different generations and executive typologies

More than ever before, today’s sales professionals must learn to work effectively with organizational leaders who are widely diverse by age, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and, of course, desired method of communication (texting? Instagram? other?). This course provides sensitivity training related to the breadth of differences that sales professionals will encounter and what they need to do to adapt.

Course highlights:

  • Preparing for calls and/or meetings with people whose background, style and/or preferred method of communication may differ from your own
  • Addressing and avoiding common mistakes when conducting meetings with people of different backgrounds or ages
  • Adapting your communication strategies to prospects, customers and others you need to work with

Stakeholder analysis and management

Stakeholders include anyone and everyone who can impact — positively or negatively — a salesperson’s efforts. They exist within the salesperson’s own organization as well as at the prospect’s or customer’s business. Stakeholders may have a direct or indirect impact on the sales process and can advocate for or sabotage a sale. Top salespeople recognize and manage stakeholders effectively.

Course highlights:

  • Why stakeholder analysis and management is critical to the insurance sales process
  • How to identify stakeholders within an organization, including the prospect, buyer, insurance provider or broker (including your own organization)
  • How to maximize the impact of advocates (people who may support your objectives) and minimize the impact of detractors (people who may subvert your objectives)

Writing effective emails

Most businesspeople receive hundreds of emails. How do you craft emails that are effective, compelling and motivate action? Perhaps even more important, how do you avoid writing emails that elicit the wrong reaction, potentially resulting in reputational damage or even legal liability? This course helps producers craft effective emails that can cut through inbox clutter and help get results.

Course highlights:

  • 10 critical rules for writing effective emails
  • Potential email landmines
  • The opportunity to compose emails for review and analysis that are designed to advance a desired aspect of the sales process

Negotiation skill building

Negotiation tactics and strategies

Selling skills help win business. Negotiation skills help ensure that business won is profitable. This course focuses on how to prepare for and successfully execute a negotiation that leads to mutually satisfying and profitable outcomes for all parties.

Course highlights:

  • How to establish and articulate your “bottom line” non-negotiable walk-away position
  • When to push for and when to pull back from your negotiating stance
  • Creating a negotiating environment and outcome that will encourage the development of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships

Power networking

Most professionals acknowledge the importance of networking, but few do it with specific goals and objectives in mind. This course helps producers develop a more consistent, disciplined and productive networking strategy.

Course highlights:

  • Top 10 benefits of networking
  • Identifying professionals who need to be in your network
  • Consistently helping others: the secret ingredient to power networking
  • Developing a networking strategy that aligns with your business objectives

 
Stakeholder analysis and management

Stakeholders include anyone and everyone who can impact — positively or negatively — a salesperson’s efforts. They exist within the salesperson’s own organization as well as at the prospect’s or customer’s business. Stakeholders may have a direct or indirect impact on the sales process and can advocate for or sabotage a sale. Top salespeople recognize and manage stakeholders effectively.

Course highlights:

  • Why stakeholder analysis and management is critical to the insurance sales process
  • How to identify stakeholders within an organization, including the prospect, buyer, insurance provider or broker (including your own organization)
  • How to maximize the impact of advocates (people who may support your objectives) and minimize the impact of detractors (people who may subvert your objectives)

Leadership skill building

Coaching teams

Although a manager can order an employee to do something (an approach that sometimes is necessary), this leadership style has limitations. To optimize productivity and help employees reach their full potential, managers need to be effective coaches. This course explores the characteristics of an effective coach, including how to help employees understand challenges and take ownership of workable solutions.

Course highlights:

  • Understand the differences between managing and coaching.
  • Learn how to get and give productive feedback that enhances the manager-employee relationship.
  • Learn to empower employees to identify problems, develop solutions and accept responsibility for their actions.

Leadership training

Strong organizations build a deep bench of leaders. Those leaders need to show certain critical and consistent traits and habits that foster trust, loyalty and commitment among the rest of the organization. This course identifies those traits and helps build critical skill sets.

Course highlights:

  • The importance of ethical, moral leadership
  • Exploring strategies and tactics for leading teams
  • How to identify, recruit, train and motivate high-performing teams
  • Identifying and resolving potential areas of conflict and other behaviors that can derail objectives

Managing for new managers

Many people become managers by default. Perhaps they’ve done a good job in their current position and it is assumed they can manage others to do the same. It’s not that easy. In fact, ill-prepared managers can quickly compromise the morale and/or productivity of a team. This course provides a toolkit for new managers to ease their transition to new roles and enhance their confidence to help them hit the ground running in their new position.

Course highlights:

  • Identify obstacles in making the transition from being managed to being a manager.
  • Understand how to communicate your responsibilities to subordinates through basic managerial responsibilities, including policies and procedures, expense reports, goal-setting and employee evaluations.
  • Learn how to deal with difficult management situations, including those that may involve employment practices liability exposures.

Managing and influencing without authority

In today’s leaner organizational structures, supervisory or managerial authority over key people in an organization is not always available. The most successful professionals (and salespeople) are, and will continue to be, those who can influence, persuade and motivate other key players to do things critical for business (and sales) objectives to be realized, especially when they don’t have authority to mandate those actions.

Course highlights:

  • Obstacles to influencing others when you don’t have supervisory or managerial authority
  • Taking stock of the assets and resources you can offer to motivate others to help you
  • Identifying what others have that you need
  • Developing, building and protecting your reputation and brand: essentials for influencing, persuading and motivating others

Time management for professional salespeople

The most important asset professional salespeople have is time. It is crucial to use it wisely, yet many salespeople wind up spinning their wheels on time-consuming, unproductive activities. This course explores and analyzes best practices exclusively in the context of activities, responsibilities and challenges faced in sales.

Course highlights:

  • Top 10 time wasters and why salespeople engage in them
  • Prequalifying sales prospects and current accounts to determine if ongoing pursuit is productive and profitable
  • Building a productive pipeline in a continuous, disciplined manner

This is intended as a general description of certain types of services, tools and courses available to brokers through the companies of Zurich North America. Zurich does not guarantee a particular outcome and further assumes no liability in connection with the provision of services. Zurich reserves the right to make changes in course offerings at any time.

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