Sales Term Glossary: H-W


When you’re just starting out in sales, you may think it will take you a while to learn all of the sales-related terms you’re already encountering. However, truth be told, sales is like just about any other industry; it has unique terms you’ll want to learn to be successful.

This is our Sales Term Glossary: H-W, the second of two parts in our sales terminology primer. Here, we look at terms starting with H through W – sorry, there’s no Y- or Z-words in our list, at least not yet. If you learn these terms, you’re likely to find your new sales career somewhat easier and, definitely, more rewarding.


Head Buyer

Also known as Lead Buyer, this person is more important and influential than a typical buyer; however, he or she may be harder to contact because of a busier schedule.


Inside Sales

an Inside Sales Representative is typically a person working within a General Agency or insurance company who sells products online and via the telephone. He or she may also help serve the needs of brokers who work on the “outside” (face-to-face with customers.)



the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills; as it relates to sales, your social intelligence can help you “read people” and guide your discussions with them toward a successful close.


Key Account

an important customer; this could be an employer with a lot of employees enrolled in a group health plan or an individual who has purchased multiple policies. These customers are typically a priority because the loss of their business would be financial loss to you or your agency.



a prospective customer you want to approach concerning a product or service. A lead can come from a variety of sources – referral from a current customer, an article online or in the newspaper about a planned new business opening, an online inquiry (received via your website), or direct mail, among others.


Lead Qualification

your process for evaluating and grading leads based on the potential of turning them into a client/customer. The lead qualification process involves asking some key questions to determine how what you market fits with the prospect’s needs and situation – and whether he or she has the ability (or inclination) to buy. A “qualified lead” is a prospect (see definition below).


Lifetime Value

often abbreviated as LTV, this refers to the value (profit) during the length of time you have someone as a customer.



the difference between the cost of a product and the price at which it’s sold.



the exchange of information or services (in-person or online) among individuals, groups, or businesses; the establishment of a relationship for potential future business or employment; as a sales professional, networking is critical to your long-term success as you continue to grow your business.



a reason to decline an offer or a feeling or expression of disapproval; when it comes to sales, this could include an objection to the price, features, benefits, or complexity of the proposed product.



when someone gives you permission to add them to your email distribution list (to receive future emails or newsletters). Opting in is not required for a single message, but it is essential if you want ongoing contact with a prospect or client. (See Opt-out below, too.)



to choose not to take part; usually applies to an individual’s request to be removed from your email distribution list; federal anti-spam laws require your newsletters and emails include an option for the recipient to opt-out from future messages.



refers to your list of prospective customers, which (hopefully) you have organized based on the stage they’re in the sales/purchase process. You can help fill your pipeline by asking your satisfied customers for referrals (see below).



refers to what you’re selling, which when you’re working as an insurance broker can include a variety of health, life, disability, and related insurance policies. Having the right product mix can you more attractive to prospects and clients alike.



a potential client who has been referred to you by someone else or who has expressed an interest in what you sell by responding to your email, direct mail, or telephone call or by visiting your website.



your sales target (or goal) for the month, quarter, or year. It’s important to track your sales success against your quota. A quota can be set for an individual, a group, the organization at large, or a geographic area.



what you hope to build with your referrals, prospects, and clients: a close and harmonious relationship – one that is built on mutual trust and understanding.



the name and contact information for a potential future client; someone referred to you by a current client, friend, or colleague.



this refers to your ongoing book of business, your list of retained (or maintained) customers. It’s often said that keeping your current customers is easier and cheaper than finding new customers. You can increase your customer retention by building a rapport (see above) with your customers and periodically checking in with them to ensure they are continually satisfied.


Sales Report

a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual summary of your sales quota/target and success (sales results) as well as trends affecting your current and future business.



this term, coined originally by the folks at the inbound marketing software platform HubSpot, involves the integration of sales, marketing, and technology to achieve increased revenue.


Social Selling

this is using social media (like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to connect with prospective customers, increase your online presence, and boost your sales. It can include use of a blog or posting useful content on social media sites to enhance your profile.



using research and targeted outreach to increase your sales. When you take the time to learn the needs of your prospects, to get to know them, and to match what you’re selling to their needs, you are more likely to turn them into customers. Proper targeting can help you save time and increase the effectiveness of your sales efforts.



this usually refers to the geographic target market for your sales. Some sales representatives target only a few ZIP Codes or communities, while others may have a wider geographic focus.


Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

also referred to as your Unique Sales Proposition, a USP includes your distinctive selling points as a broker. What differentiates you from other brokers who are selling the same or similar products in your community or region?    



persuading a customer to choose a more expensive product or an added product (in addition to what was originally proposed). Your successful up-sell usually will offer you a greater commission.



something that changes; for example, this could include enrolling dependents at a group, rather than just the employees of the group.


Warm Calling

refers to your renewed contact with a prior prospect (who did not buy) and offering them a different product or service that could move them to make a purchase (and become a customer). Your prospect may just be in a different state of mind at the time of your outreach and may be more receptive to your pitch.



this is a term used to describe a potential customer that represents a significant sales opportunity – perhaps because their group is large and represents a substantial potential premium (and commission). These customers require added time for outreach and marketing, but may be worth the effort.



acronym for “what’s in it for me,” which is the question all of your prospects and clients are asking (or at least wondering). You must address this question in your discussions, so your clients and prospects understand the potential benefit to them, their companies, and their employees in selecting you and the proposed product to address their insurance needs.

That’s it . . . for now. We hope you found this glossary a useful read in your efforts to expand your sales knowledge and expertise. 


Related: Sales Term Glossary: A to G


Stay tuned to our site for future posts to help you build your insurance brokerage business and differentiate yourself in today’s changing health care marketplace. At Word & Brown, we’re committed to you and your continuing sales success.


How Much Can You Earn as an Insurance Broker?

Find out what you can be earning as an insurance agent in our handy, up-to-date salary guide. Produced by our in-house experts, this resource is bound to help you in advancing your career.

Word & Brown Salary Guide