How do you set yourself from other insurance brokers and agents?
Do you sell on price like most of your competitors? Or do you build long-term relationships by selling on value?
Set yourself apart by finding ways to remind everyone about the value you bring your customers. Actively share what makes you different with everyone you know.
Dale Carnegie said it best: “Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.”
In this case, your audience includes your clients, prospects, and even yourself.
Grab your copy of “10 Ways We Bring You Value,” so you can share your value with your clients immediately.
Every sales conversation finds you talking to clients about the excellent services you offer as an insurance broker or agent. But, you’ve quickly discovered that sharing how awesome you are can get you nowhere fast.
For some reason, people seem to go into the twilight zone with a glazed look in their eyes. Or if they are on the phone, you can tell that they’ve stopped listening to what you have to say.
Your pre-canned talk scripts and presentations are missing a few core elements to make you successful. Here are some essential truths that can help turn things around.
Five Essential Truths You Must Know
- Essential Truth #1: It isn’t about you. It is about them—your prospective customers. While this may sound counterintuitive, your conversations shouldn’t focus on selling products to others.
- Essential Truth #2: Your customers are interested in finding products that meet their needs and their problems. But, they won’t be interested in what you’re selling until they have a desire to solve their problems.
- Essential Truth #3: You need to engage your customers in conversations that allow them to discuss their business challenges. Sharing a list of memorized talking points does not allow dialogue and turns people off.
- Essential Truth #4: You need to define your customers’ pain points so you can provide answers to their burning questions. When you know what keeps your customers up at night, you can easily guide conversations towards the solutions you offer.
- Essential Truth #5: You need to showcase the value your knowledge and expertise brings to their company. Share how they can count on your services to make a difference year over year.
If you reflect back to the beginning of your journey as an insurance broker, you may recall that identifying your customers’ problems helped identify the products to sell in the first place.
These same issues can help you market and sell. Understanding what annoys, frustrates or hinders your customer gives you psychological ammunition that you can use to create trust and form relationships.
Once you are armed with this knowledge, you can start conversations so they creatively focus on your customers’ problems. Since most people like to talk about themselves, your discussion should create lots of dialogue that allow them to tell you about their problems and any potential objections.
By shining the spotlight on your prospects concerns, you’re creating a bridge that eventually leads to the products and services you provide. But it doesn’t happen overnight. This form of relationship marketing takes time to build—just like a friendship.
Think about the friends you trust. You connect with them because they get you. They understand what you struggle with and why. They empathize with you, and sometimes they even show you ways to do things that can ease your pain.
Now that you know the secret to connecting with customers and prospects, how can you tweak your sales conversations to increase engagement, and eventually convert to sales?
Whether you’re a insurance broker or agent, selling is a continual cycle. To sell insurance, you need customers. To get customers, you need to build relationships and network. To build relationships with people, you sometimes feel like you need a degree in psychology.
You really don’t need a degree in marketing. But you do need to know how to build and maintain relationships with customers successfully. Some circles call this common sense, while others call it relationship marketing. Whatever label you put on it, know that anyone can successfully connect with customers and prospects.
If you do this right, you can engender loyalty that will pay off for many years. The pay off can come in the form of referrals, renewals, and genuine friendships that position you well in your community.
It is critical to remember that happy customers become loyal customers. They create repeat business and can bring you their friends, colleagues and business members. Satisfied customers can give positive reviews of your business online, too. In today’s social-driven economy, positive ratings are critical to your success.
Here are some tips for building relationships with clients:
Become a Trusted Resource. Share the most relevant news with your clients. Read the latest industry news and publications. Write articles for publications – both online and print. Keep an up-to-date blog.
Effectively Communicate. Schedule in-person meetings or phone calls. Stay in touch using email and social media to let customers know about changes to the industry and your business. Keep all communications friendly and helpful.
Be Authentic. No one likes the used-car salesman approach. Open and honest relationships with others show them that you are genuine and have their best interest at heart. It also shows that you value the relationship. Cultivate trust and loyalty by consistently being real and authentic.
Reward Loyalty. Everyone loves to feel like they are getting something for their efforts. Sometimes people like to get something for “free.” Invest in gift cards and send them to clients thanking them for their business. When they refer someone to you, acknowledge it with a note and a token of your appreciation.
Remain Visible. Proactively reach out to customers and prospects to let them know you’re thinking of them. Suggest ways you can help them. Don’t be “out of sight.” Ask customers and prospects what you can do for them or how you can help. Asking questions about the client’s potential issues and problems can open dialogue and doors for sales.
Promptly Respond. Excellent customer service and solid customer relationships occur when you make clients feel important. Going dark or being slow to answer calls and emails send a message that they aren’t important. Demonstrate your attentiveness by quickly responding, even if you’re simply acknowledging their message and need to get back with them later.
Building relationships are critical to the success of your business. When you are intentional about how you interact, reach out and follow-up, you are sure to create loyal customers for years to come.
Your customers are typically business owners, which means they have a long list of things to think about and manage. Help yourself by setting your insurance business apart. Proactively help business-owner prospects understand why they need insurance.
Knowing what a customer needs and why it is important to them ultimately helps you sell. Needs-based selling can increase your sales while improving your customers’ satisfaction.
We all know that running a business comes with inherent risks that range from financial loss to protecting employees to potential lawsuits. Build on this base knowledge by readily explaining why your customers need to insurance for their business.
Here are five reasons why your business owner clients need insurance:
Potential Accident Coverage. Workers’ compensation regulations and requirements vary from state to state. Regardless of the state your business owners clients are located in, workers’ comp ensures that their employees who suffer from job-related injuries or illnesses get the medical care they need, as well as wage replacement if they are unable to return to work.
Lawsuit Protection. We live in a society where lawsuits are commonplace. Liability insurance gives peace of mind and coverage for lawsuit and liability claims. This type of protection can protect your business from lawsuits resulting from accidents or disgruntled employees. Liability coverage can even help with expensive legal defense costs.
Contract Requirements. From client contracts to bank loans to leasing a business facility, your business owner clients may be required to carry insurance. Requirements vary from agreement to agreement and state to state. Regardless of the fine print, having insurance policies in place show potential vendors and clients that a business is a credible, safe bet.
Business Continuity. In the event of a natural disaster, property and casualty insurance can cover the loss of buildings and equipment. And Business Owner Insurance can help a business survive the loss of income and compensate for regular operating expenses.
Mandated by Law. Businesses that have employees are required by law to provide certain types of insurance. What is required varies from state to state, but failure to have insurance policies in place can result in civil or criminal penalties or fines.
Actively share with your prospective business-owner customers the types of insurance coverage they need to protect their business. Help clients purchase peace of mind so they can focus their attention on growing and developing their business.
These days it is challenging to sell products and services to people.
Your competition is not just the insurance broker down the street. You’re also competing with the wealth of instant information your prospective customers can access on their computers, smartphones, and iPads. With the click of a button, anyone can quickly research reviews and prices for almost anything.
So what can you do to compete and win the business? If you genuinely want to be different, you need to sell on value not price.
Selling value over price can get you a higher caliber of customer that is willing to stick with you for the long run. Studies show that value is the difference between the price you charge and the benefits the customer receives.
Exactly how do you sell the value? Here’s a couple of approaches that may work for you:
Showcase Your Company’s Success. Share how your company stands out. Tell how you’ve helped other clients be successful. Use case studies and testimonials. Feature these stories in your conversations and on your website.
Showcase Your Customer Service. Many competitors don’t offer excellent customer service. They sell the product or service and move onto the next client. Let your customers know that they are important and you’re with them for the long run. Tell stories about how you’ve supported other long-term clients over the years. Be genuine, and let them see that they are more than just a number to you.
Showcase Your Product and Service Benefits. Start by identifying your customer’s fundamental problems. Every customer has unique circumstances that are important to them. If you can readily recount these issues, they will know you’ve really been listening. Then highlight how what you offer solves their problems. The more you focus on the value, the less important the price becomes to them and the decision they are making.
Showcase the Cost Difference. Provide a market analysis and quantify the difference they receive by doing business with you. If your policy is $100 more, divide that by 365 days and show them what they’re getting for only 27 cents more per day. Most agents claim they make a difference until push comes to shove and a client has a claim. Tout your success as an insurance consultant by really analyzing the value and showing the ROI you’re bringing to them up front.
Showcase the Discounts. Everyone loves a discount. The more discounts you can offer, the more incentive people have to do business with you. Be sure you know how to explain why and how they are qualified to receive specific discounts. When they see you know what they are entitled to receive they will understand yet another value of doing business with you.
Remember loyal customers don’t always buy based on the lowest price. Long-term clients— which is what you want for repeat business and future referrals—always buy based on the rapport, relationship and value you bring to them.
You want to be successful in your insurance business. Some agents dive in feet first and cross their fingers as they wish for success. Other brokers make a plan and follow it. With either approach, most of us check the box: project/business launch completed. And we quickly move onto the next thing… Right?! We tend to “set it and forget it,” like a Ron Popeil commercial.
While there may be a handful of people this approach works for, the rest of us typically aren’t as fortunate.
If we want to be successful, we need to continually learn and seek ways to improve our insurance business.
Sure, we all know outlandish brokers and agents who run through life jumping from one shiny object thing to the next. While they appear to be successful, they actually leave a wake of chaos and destruction in their path. (The aftermath of a hurricane comes to mind.)
Shiny-object brokers may experience momentary success, but it isn’t sustainable over the long term.
So how can you beat the odds and establish a foundation to propel your insurance business forward systematically?
From a marketing perspective, we recommend creating a strategic plan that you follow like a roadmap. But let’s say you already have a plan. How do you ensure forward momentum and keep up with the accelerated pace of today?
Here are a few guidelines to consider following:
- Continually Learn. Keep reading, searching and listening. With today’s information highway, the options for learning are limitless. From webinars to podcasts to social media platforms – all you have to do is plug in, absorb, digest and apply what you discover.
- Share What You Learn. Keep posting and sharing relevant nuggets and insights with your customers and prospects. In doing so, you’ll position yourself as a thought leader that is plugged in and paving the way for success.
- Find Ways to Connect. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t all about you. It is, however, about connecting with others to see how you can help. (As a Rotarian, we call is Service Above Self.) If you seek ways to help others, you’ll learn volumes about what works and what doesn’t work. By contributing to the lives of others, you feed your soul.
- Genuinely Listen. One of the best ways to continually learn is by really plugging in and listening to what others have to say. Intentionally dig beyond the surface and find out what others are passionate about, what keeps them up at night, and how they are achieving their business and life goals.
- Practice Makes Perfect. Anyone who masters a sport, skill or talent continually practices. They stretch and grow by finding new techniques, approaches, and strategies. No matter what you’re trying to achieve, consistently push to find ways to practice and improve.
- Study Others. Whether it is a new marketing technique or a creative tactic you’ve never tried, there is always something to learn. Find best practices and up your game. Study the masters and learn from the experts.
If you want to be successful, you cannot be stagnant. You have to learn new methods, test them and find the ones that work for you. What methods do you use to continually learn?
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