Cold-calling for sales isn’t dead — if it’s done right

Posted On September 26, 2023

Cold-calling for sales is dead, people will tell you. Brian Tanner says that’s hogwash.

Tanner, our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” is the Managing Principal at the Birmingham, Alabama, office of EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants, a commercial insurer that is the 15th largest in the nation. And he says cold-calling, when done right, is the best way to drum up new business.

How do you do cold-calling right? Tanner has three tips:

  1. Always stand up. “If you’re sitting down, they can hear it,” he said. “They know you’re flat. You don’t play sports sitting down.”
  2. Use humor and blatant honesty. After trying slick approaches early in his career, Tanner has found this method far more effective: “My name’s Brian Tanner. This is a cold call. I don’t like doing them. You don’t like getting them.

    “Right there, at that moment in time, usually they’ve either hung up or they’re laughing so hard they have no idea what to say,” he added. “If you can get them laughing … you have a much better chance of at least setting an appointment.”

  1. Always have an answer ready for the rebuttals you know are coming. If they say they’re happy with the current insurance coverage, for instance, be ready with something to counter it. “It can’t be canned,” he added. “If you’re yourself and you’re honest, I feel like people are more likely to talk to you.”

Tanner, who was featured recently in Business Alabama magazine, also shared an honest assessment of why insurance rates are rising – particularly hurricane coverage. Only part of it is caused by claims, he said.

“Insurance companies make money two ways: premiums that you pay and investment returns where they invest their money,” he said. “If they’re not getting the investment returns and they’re having more claims than they’re collecting in premium, something’s got to give or there won’t be an insurance company there to support you when the event occurs.”

Auto insurance rates are also rising, and Tanner doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.

“We’re in the sixth year of rate increases. However, the market is still operating in the red,” he said. “That means the legal business is outpacing the rate increase that the insurance markets are able to get. I foresee that the auto market is going to continue to increase for some time because we’ve got to get ahead.”

His name is Brian Tanner. He doesn’t like giving you that news. You don’t like hearing it. But he’s being honest.


Categories: Blog, What's Working with Cam Marston