Use Questions to Differentiate Yourself

How to differentiate yourself when prospects request a price quote over the internet or through RFPs.

Jeb Blount

This week Mathew, an insurance agent from Kansas, wrote us with this question:

I receive internet insurance leads from people requesting home and auto quotes. Ideally I would like to talk to the person first, find out some information about them, and then work up a quote. But I know I'm also competing with a lot of other insurance agents who initially e-mail ‘low ball’ figures to attract people, but don't disclose how inferior their coverage may be. How can I set myself apart when I first contact them whether it's by phone or e-mail?

This is an excellent question and frankly one that many salespeople never stop to ask. The first thing you have to do is make a choice: Are you just going to be an order taker by sending out quotes and waiting for a bite or are you going to be a Sales Professional and actually bring value to the table? To me it is much more meaningful and more profitable to be a Sales Professional.

Sales Professionals ask questions and listen. Then they develop unique solutions that solve their prospects’ problems. When you engage your prospect and connect with them you have a much higher probability of closing the deal while at the same time giving your customer what they really need.

I've spent my entire career in business to business selling and what you are experiencing is similar to what businesses do with RFPs (which are also known as Requests for Proposals). What happens in this situation is a buyer for a particular service or product will send out an RFP to salespeople at companies who provide that product or service. Most salespeople promptly respond with their best prices and go on their merry way. This strategy rarely results in a sale. However, a few smart Sales Professionals place a phone call or send an email and ask questions. They do this for two key reasons:

  • First, by asking questions they have the opportunity to engage the buyer in a conversation that opens the door to establishing a relationship. This simple relationship becomes the foundation on which they get beyond the RFP into a sales discussion that allows them to differentiate their product or service.


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