Insurance Agencies need Salesmanship to be Competitive not more Markets

December 14, 2008

Operating an Insurance Agency

Many times we fall into the trap of believing that we can’t be competitive unless we have this market or that one. The reality is you can be appointed by every carrier under the sun but you won’t sell insurance unless you’re closing sales. If you’re salespeople base the entire conversation on price, then the client will base the entire conversation on price. If you don’t have the lowest insurance rate they’ve heard, you lose the business. I’ve heard agents complain that they’d write more business but ABC Insurance is quoting everyone with lower mileage, not charging the client for all of their points and outright lying to clients. While you can’t stop your competition from selling unethically, you can inform the client of all the pitfalls that come along with buying something that’s too good to be true. Here are a few tips to help you overcome objections:
  • Build rapport with your client BEFORE getting to the price. Talk about the kind of work they do, the school they attend, compliment the car they drive, find something in common with them. Talk about their kids, talk about THEM, not insurance or yourself – talk about THEM. The average person says 3,000 words daily and 80% are about themselves. I, me, we, us, our. People love talking about themselves – so let them. If you build rapport with the prospect, they’ll tell you who quoted them, what they were quoted and they’ll believe it when you dispute the validity of the rate they received.
  • Always ask what carrier the prospect is being quoted with. Try to match the rate and tell them exactly what the competition is doing; low mileage, not charging for a ticket, wrong symbol, etc. Tell them the negatives of lying on an insurance application and that a $10.00 per month savings isn’t worth risking a claim being denied.
  • Try the “If it’s too good to be true it probably is” close. Tell your client that most agencies are quoting similar products and if someone is FAR lower than everyone else – something is wrong.
  • Sell the benefits of being with your agency: open 6 days per week, open during lunch, hundreds of products to suit their needs now and in the future. Mention your personal experience and the fact that 50% of your business is generated by referrals because of the outstanding service your agency provides. Review the benefits of buying from your agency several times before asking for the sale and if they say no, review the benefits again.
  • Sell benefits of the Carrier you’re quoting: 24 claims assistance, choose your own body shop, includes UM, permissive user policy, pay online, by phone or mail. No fees when adding additional vehicles, coverage’s or drivers. A rated, in business for X Years, publicly traded. Can write policy by email or fax – No need to come into the office.
  • Find their hot button and let them know how easy it is to fix. Lienholder sending you letters? No problem, we’ll fax them a binder the minute we bind your coverage. Need an SR-Filing? We can hand you one the same day and you can go get your license back. Find their hot button and pounce on it several times throughout the conversation. Everyone has a hot button or need, find out what it is and you’re half way to a closed deal.
  • Never bad mouth the competition, especially the carrier they’re with now. In fact, if they’re complaining about their current carrier, let them know it must be an isolated incident because you’ve heard good things about that carrier. They chose the carrier, so bad mouthing them only makes them look and feel like poor decision makers.
  • If they have coverage with a carrier you write with, try to get the Broker of Record Letter. Let them know it’ll be business as usual except you’ll call ME when you need service, not you’re current agent. For some, this is the perfect solution.
  • Ask for the sale. The most important part of selling is asking for the sale. Remember, “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed”. If the client says no, go back to your benefits and read through them again – after you do – ask for the sale again and repeat if necessary. When a prospect tells you NO, it simply means they need more information before making a decision. Remember, even if they don’t buy today, when they do make their decision, chances are they’ll go with the Salesperson who asked for the sale over the order taker who didn’t.
  • Send every prospect a quote by US Mail and Email the same day given. Prospects talk to dozens of agents, have scribbled notes all over the place and really have no idea who/when/where/what was the best quote and benefits. By sending the letter they receive a clean copy of what was discussed and you’ve increased your chances of winning their business. Also, personalize the letter to cater to their hot buttons. (Same Day Filing, immediate binder for lienholder, etc)
These are all basics we were taught our first few months in the Insurance business. In times like the present we can’t discuss the basics enough so it’s important to consistently teach them to your staff. Make these basics a daily habit in your agency and your business will grow beyond your expectations.