Insurance, like all industries, has been in constant evolution over the years. new technologies and innovations have breathed new life into a once mundane generic industry.
That said, the insurance industry as a whole continues to grow. in fact, according to policy advisory studies, in 2015 insurance companies contributed more to gdp in the united states than banks for the first time in history, and the trend has continued until now.
Reading: How to increase life insurance sales
There is insurance for just about anything you can imagine now: In addition to the more common insurances of years past, you can insure everything from a dancer’s legs to a pianist’s fingers, or even get insurance to cover damage caused by an alien abduction!
Over time, however, what customers expect from an insurance company has also changed. for example, a bain & the company found that 79% of consumers will use a digital channel for insurance interactions. they also found that customers have much higher expectations for their interactions with insurance companies, requiring a more seamless interaction that is convenient for the consumer.
How can insurance companies, both old and new, continue to please customers and increase sales while adapting to the modern world of insurance?
While some of these strategies have stood the test of time, others are new methods to include in your insurance sales process.
Learn these strategies to become a master of the modern age of insurance.
1. be an educator and advisor, not just an agent
For the average consumer, insurance is confusing and frustrating.
Whether you’re selling life insurance to individuals or business-related insurance to companies, it’s unlikely your customer is really familiar with the types of insurance available to them.
What they do know is this: Choosing the right insurance policy with the right company is a big decision.
That’s why, before you even think about selling, you need to establish credibility and trust with your prospect.
we asked insurance expert don bailey how the insurance sales process differs from a typical sales process. he replied:
This is where being an educator and advisor comes in.
By helping the potential customer understand how insurance works and by taking an interest in their particular needs, you will accomplish two things:
- first, you will show them that you are an expert in the type of insurance you sell
- second, you’ll establish trust by taking an interest in them and their needs
- An agent selling health insurance may have helped a low-income parent obtain expensive life-saving treatment.
- A life insurance agent could have helped set up and honor a policy that gave bereaved family members what they needed to get through tough times.
- A home insurance agent may have seen how having the right policy helped a family whose home was damaged in a storm.
- first, gain a deeper understanding of the journey your customers are taking
- second, make sure your communication from different channels is centralized in one place
- how many leads did i get this month from facebook ads?
- How many insurance sales did I make this year from leads that came from referrals?
- Which lead generation method generated the most profit over the last 6 months?
- If they trust the person who referred you, they will trust you more from the start
- the customer who referred you knows you and the person, so they are more likely to stick with what you offer
- Find out what methods work for them: For example, maybe they offer a gift card for every quote they give. Does this attract new customers? can you offer something similar?
- learn what your policies include (or don’t include): how do their policies compare to yours? Can you improve your offer to better compete?
- respond better to objections: If your prospects are comparing policies with different companies, your understanding of your competitors will help you better respond to their objections.
To do this, find ways to explain insurance options and coverage in simple terms. don’t spend hours monologuing about insurance coverages and options: instead, give them a simple explanation and use questions to dig deeper into what they really need.
“You have to boil it down to the language of the client,” coverr’s avi ben-hutta explained in an interview. “work with the premise that if you guide them, they will buy. it’s a matter of building trust, especially on personal lines.”
While it may take some extra time, positioning yourself as an advisor and educator from the beginning of your relationship will help you gain (and keep) the trust of your prospects.
2. give fewer options
This psychological trick may seem like the opposite of what you should be doing.
While giving more choice may seem like the best way to win over new customers, evidence shows that the more choice you give people, the less likely they are to buy something.
this idea was called “the paradox of choice” in psychologist barry schwartz’s famous ted talk.
shows that having too many options can actually cripple us.
For your insurance sales, that means giving more options can actually paralyze your prospects and cause them to procrastinate making a decision.
However, to narrow down the available options, you need to know exactly what your potential customers really need.
What’s the best way to find out?
“Listen,” insurance expert Don Bailey told us. “Listening generates more sales than talking. it is essential to learn about and understand your customer. when you do, they’ll trust you and you’ll close the sale.”
Don’t give your prospects a thousand options to choose from. listen to them and you can give them what they really need.
so by offering fewer options, you can increase your insurance sales.
3. personalize the insurance experience
In today’s world, customers demand a personalized experience. in fact, according to research from accenture, 77% are willing to share their usage and behavioral data in exchange for lower premiums and personalized coverage recommendations.
That said, only 22% of consumers say the companies they do business with tailor their experience based on personalized data.
If you go a step further in personalizing for your clients, you’ll stand out from the crowd and increase insurance sales. How much could this benefit you? Well, the same study found that 58% of consumers say they would shift half or more of their spending to a provider that excels at personalizing experiences without compromising trust.
“The era of the insurance generalist is over,” Don Bailey, a partner at Bristlecone Partners, told us. “The seller must be an expert in the client’s risk environment.”
so go beyond the basic data. Try different lead discovery tools. Get more information about your customers. If you sell home insurance, for example, find out about the habits and records of the owners. you may be able to lower the premium for a customer who lives in an area where there are much fewer thefts than the average for their state, or has received much better than average maintenance.
By digging deeper into the data and personalizing the experience for your customers, you’ll develop a more loyal bond and stand out from the crowd.
4. hone your storytelling skills
Most insurance agents have a few horror stories up their sleeves to sell to a potential client when the time is right.
don’t be that insurance agent.
Instead, hone your storytelling skills to create an emotional connection without falling into fear.
In the end, fear is not the most powerful purchase motivator.
Sure, buying insurance is about preparing for the tragedies and risks associated with life. but there are good stories you can use that don’t lead to fear.
For example, someone who sells life insurance has probably had the experience of giving a check to a needy family that allowed them to stabilize their lives.
Stories like these, when used correctly, can help motivate a potential customer to buy without using cheap tactics like fear-based selling.
5. create smart views to organize leads by policy expiration date
The best way to boost your insurance sales is to make sure your potential customers don’t get lost.
For example, let’s say you contact a potential customer who is interested in switching insurance companies, but their current policy doesn’t expire for another 6 months. This prospect is likely to buy you insurance, but it’s your job to make sure it doesn’t fall through the cracks until the time is right.
That’s where using a tool like close crm can help.
First, you can create custom smart views, allowing you to group leads based on your own criteria.
In this case, you can create lists that tell you when to follow up on certain leads. Using the example above, you could create a custom status for your prospects that tells them when their policy expires. then create smart lists that group those prospects based on when you need to follow up.
You can also use close to set reminders to follow up on certain leads at a certain time. that way no lead will slip through the cracks.
6. build relationships virtually using the communication methods your prospects prefer
There is no “best” channel of communication for all of your potential customers. you must be prepared to take on all forms of communication with your potential customers and build a completely fluid conversation through different channels.
when we asked insurance expert don bailey what is the biggest change in the insurance sales process he has seen in the last year, he replied, “the shift to virtual sales. it’s a relationship business, and now relationships must be forged and nurtured virtually.”
remember: the goal is to get your prospects to buy, so you need to create a simple line from recognition to a closed deal.
To achieve this, you must do two things:
First, to gain a deeper understanding of your customer journey, you’ll need to dig into data and research. You can start by looking at current customer data, identifying where they came from, how they found out about your business, and what communication channels they used to reach a purchase decision.
Because there is no single solution to communication, you’ll need to understand all the different methods your customers use and love. to get a deeper look, talk to your customers. use surveys to learn more about your customers’ communication preferences. What do they like or dislike about communicating with your firm or agents?
Once you have this information, it’s time to make those communication channels smooth.
so if a customer enters via a form on your website, can you easily pick up the conversation over the phone or email?
By using the right crm system, you can make communication easier and create a process that engages your customers instead of frustrating them.
For example, let’s say a potential customer interested in auto insurance enters information about the type of car they drive, where they live, and how long they’ve had their license into the form on your website. that information should be automatically stored in your crm, otherwise you’ll end up asking the same questions again when you call them on the phone (which, let’s face it, is frustrating for them and for you).
with a crm like close, you can manage phone calls, virtual meetings, emails and sms messages through the crm itself. but it gets better: it can also integrate with all your favorite marketing and communication tools, like drift, facebook, intercom, 99inbound and more.
that means your interactions with leads on all channels will be saved in your crm. Not only will you increase productivity, but you’ll also create a seamless experience for your leads and customers.
7. sell based on value, not price
Since potential customers are automatically attracted to a lower price tag, does that mean you should try to offer the lowest price?
In a word, no. Although this method may win you a sale today, it is much more likely to be replaced by a cheaper competitor in the future if the customer does not understand the value of having their insurance policy with your company.
To sell insurance effectively, you must base your argument on value, not price. When you can show a prospect the value of what you’re offering, it will not only sell them today, it will help them remain loyal to your company in the future.
Value based selling only works when you understand what is valuable to this particular customer. for example, you can show the value of your updated communication systems, but you will only do this once you understand how they like to communicate.
john f. carroll from insurancesplash shares his thoughts:
also, remember that there is a priceless value: for example, the insurance policies you sell can give peace of mind or well-being to a family in need. those feelings are an invaluable asset you provide to your customers.
8. establish a cross-selling system
A surefire way to increase your insurance sales is to cross-sell and upsell to your current customers.
If you sell multiple types of insurance, this customer may need another policy.
The key is knowing when to cross-sell insurance to a customer. In insurance, it’s best to focus on immediate needs first, and then follow up to offer them another policy they may need.
To make sure you follow up at the right time, make sure you get the x dates of the policies they have with another company. save the follow-up date in your crm 4-6 weeks before your current policy date x, and it will arrive at the right time when they are thinking about that particular policy.
In detail, setting up specific follow-ups is easy. just log in to the lead, add a task, and set the follow-up date. then a reminder will pop up in your inbox right when you need it.
9. measure your results and adjust accordingly
We know you’re a scammer and you’re doing everything you can to get new insurance sales through different channels.
but which of those channels really works for you?
To better target your efforts, you need to measure results and see what generates the greatest return on investment.
To get a quick overview of the situation, start by analyzing your current customers based on how you found them. (Later on, you can filter your leads or customers by their source.)
Do you see a pattern in your top customers and how they found you? Are there certain methods you’re using right now without much success?
To dig deeper into what’s working and what’s not, you’ll need to set up sales analytics and a proper sales channel. while this will take more time, it will allow you to analyze your sales process and understand where you can improve.
You will be able to answer questions like:
If you have the right analytics tools in place (like your crm), you’ll have a clear view of what’s working. then you can refocus your efforts on the methods that bring you the most success.
10. maximize your referral sales
If you’ve ever received a referral from a client, you know how valuable those leads can be.
A referral is more likely to become a successful customer for two reasons:
So how can you maximize these valuable referrals?
Although most people are willing to give a reference, many insurance agents forget to ask. therefore, make asking for a referral part of your process. As soon as the deal closes, ask your new client if they know of anyone who might be interested in a better insurance policy.
once you have some referral sales, measure the results. If you see that those referrals are valuable enough to your business, you can even up your game by offering a reward to customers who bring referrals. something simple, like a gift card, a free meal at a local restaurant, or a small discount on your policy, could be enough to motivate your customers to refer more friends.
11. set aside time to work on customer retention
While it’s important to increase your insurance sales with new leads, remember that giving your current clients some love will also help you increase your income.
so spend some time building your relationship with current customers. be available when they need you. For example, how responsive are you when a customer calls with a complaint? are you as available to them as you were when you first signed them?
Another way to retain your customers is to offer regular reviews of your policy. By spending a little time reviewing their current situation throughout the year, you can make sure they have the best policy or get all the discounts they’re entitled to.
That will help your customers feel confident about the services you’re providing and keep them from rushing into a discount with another company.
12. know your competition
keep your friends close but your enemies closer: this is especially important in business.
So what is your competition doing to get more insurance customers?
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your competitors. find out who they are, how they are winning customers, and what specifically they offer.
There are several ways this benefits you:
Stay on top of what your online competitors are doing, how their website is set up, and what promotions they’re running to create new customers. You can also call your competitors as a prospect to get a better understanding of their process.
all of this will give you the information you need to create your own sales process and beat the competition.
adapt to the modern age of insurance sales
The insurance industry will continue to change. But by using this mix of old and new sales techniques, you’ll be able to keep closing deals and giving your customers what they really need.
Remember: Insurance is a relationship business. You need to build trust with your prospects before they even think about buying from you, which is why listening to them and guiding them with real advice is so essential to winning business.
more than that, you will need to develop your virtual sales skills to adapt to the digital age of insurance sales.
With these strategies, you will be able to meet the changing needs of your customers.
But to organize and analyze your results, you’ll need an agile system for tracking and reporting your insurance sales.
what’s your best insurance sales tip? do you have a favorite resource? a question we haven’t covered in this article? let me know on linkedin!
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