Explaining to the Dominant Sense

Think back to your favorite teacher—the one who helped you suddenly understand algebra or nail the perfect arc on your free throw or understand iambic pentameter. How did that person figure out how to effectively explain information to you? Chances are that teacher tapped into your learning style.

As an insurance agent, you have a fair amount of information to explain. How do you know what will be the most effective way to do so? Try to figure out your customer’s learning style.

There are several learning-style theories. One of the simplest has just three categories of learners: auditory (learn best by hearing), visual (learn best by seeing), and kinesthetic (learn best by doing).

A prepared agent will be able to work with all three types. But how do you know which you’re dealing with? Ask.

If a customer says a phone call is fine, they are likely an auditory learner. Be prepared to talk your way through everything. For some, this will be natural and easy. But if words aren’t your thing, prepare ahead of time. Keep a file with insurance-company product explanations and make notes to remind yourself of the key points you should be making. You’ll really need to know your stuff with an auditory learner so creating these ‘cheat sheets’ ahead of time can help you answer questions with confidence.

A visual learner might want you to email charts and graphs, or send a link to an insurance-company website with more information. When trying to explain to this type of customer, infographics are your friend. Most insurance companies do a good job creating catchy visuals, but you can also look online for other links that might be helpful. For instance, your local police department website may have charts with neighborhood crime statistics. This could be an informative visual as a customer thinks about how much personal property protection they will need.

A kinesthetic learner may very well want to meet in person. Or if they don’t have time, they may ask you to send or drop off a packet because they prefer to have something in their hands. An array of leave-behind materials is best for this customer so they have physical items to refer to and write on.

Whichever type of learning style your customer seems to be, it should also go without saying that you have to know a topic well in order to be able to explain it well. A good teacher has to do homework, too. The more you know about your products, the easier it will be to explain them, and sell them, to others.

This is the second of three blog posts about communications skills. Read the first about active listening here.

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