There’s nothing like a solution hitting your hands the moment you need it. It is like getting a discount on something you were going to buy anyways, or finding money in your car after leaving your wallet at home.
With advertisements and constant sales calls people have become numb and hardened to the attempts of sales calls. But what if you could present your solution at the moment someone begins looking for the solution?
With trigger events, you will be able to position your solution in real time as a need arises instead of making sales pitches with fingers crossed.
In this article we are going to discuss how to use trigger events in insurance sales to fill your pipeline with quality prospects and how to get in the door at just the right time.
What are Trigger Events and how can insurance agents use them?
Trigger events are changes or occurrences that create an opportunity for a new solution which can be executed on by marketing or sales. This could be a change in leadership at a company, a life change for a family, or a procedural change that creates a need.
A few examples would be:
- The Change in Healthcare that required everyone to have health insurance. As an agent you knew businesses and individuals would be looking for solutions.
- A newborn or adoption in the family can be a trigger event.
- A friend starting their own company or getting an executive position at a company could be a trigger event.
- Even a company attending a certain conference or event could be a trigger event.
The idea is that once a trigger event happens then there is a need for a solution. If you are able to respond immediately to the trigger event you have a far greater chance of closing the deal then a traditional sales meeting where you have to create the need for the prospect.
As an insurance agent, you probably already use a lot of these trigger events and have never called them that. However, now that we live in a digital age, there are additional trigger events we should be aware of and we can also find them easier.
Examples of Trigger Events that can be used for Insurance Agents
Selling insurance is not so much about pitching your product to everyone you see but instead keeping your pipeline full of qualified candidates and knowing the right time to close the deal. By identifying trigger events in your sales process you will be able to find qualified candidates and strike while the iron is hot.
Trigger events by Organizations
A change in Executives or Leadership
New leadership will most likely always want to make moves and find solutions in order to establish value right away. This could mean a great time to pitch your insurance solution if it means giving them a chance to shake things up or see a profit increase.
Two ways to approach this is from a monetary standpoint. If you can save them money via insurance or risk management then great.
Another way is to pay attention to where the leadership wants to move the company. If they are all about innovation and you are an innovative agency with an innovative carrier, then you will more likely be able to appeal to the new leadership than most others.
New Decision Makers in-house
Maybe you have been a great fit for a company and they know it, but the main decision maker hates your guts. If they were replaced or left the organization it would be a potential home run for you. Especially if you’ve already established rapport and value with others in the organization.
Restructuring of an organization
Is a company expanding? Are they adding on new services/products? Maybe they opened up a new office. Are they undergoing a merger or acquisition? What about if they are moving their main office to a new state? All of these shifts will mean they need to review their current providers to ensure everything, including their insurance policy, makes sense.
If you can reach out and start the conversation before their current agent even realizes the changes then bonus points for you!
Changes in Legislation
When the Affordable Care Act was put into play, companies scrambled to figure out health insurance. Companies and agencies who were able to strike were able to reap the benefits from it.
Any time you know a change is coming in the insurance industry, make sure to plan for it. In the case of the Affordable Care Act, an agency who had a system to help companies audit who is eligible for health insurance and how to convey the necessary info to employees would be able to provide great value for businesses.
Changes in an industry’s landscape
When businesses begun getting hit with cyber attacks and cyber policies were becoming standardized who benefited? The ones who were aware of it and able to get out there the quickest.
When business practices change, especially because of advancements in technology, it sometimes leaves holes in the traditional insurance policies. This opens up opportunities for those to swoop in with a new solution to a new threat.
But it is not just the threats. Think about when contractors started using drones to look at houses and damages. Or when entrepreneurs started selling and shipping products out of their home. When you can catch trends as they are developing then you will be able to start speaking with businesses before they even start making the transition. Being their liaison through the transition.
A Company attends a specific event
This is a tricky one because visitors are constantly bombarded by vendors and half of them don’t provide solutions that fit. I’m not suggesting you spam every individual or company that attends an event you are at but instead look for strategic opportunities.
For example, an organization who brings multiple higher ups to a conference on cyber defense for small businesses is probably worried about cyber attacks. They could be a viable candidate for sales. However, an individual IT guy at the same conference may not be interested in talking insurance especially if he does not own a business.
Trigger events by individuals
There are a lot of trigger events in our everyday life that should cause bells to go off in our heads as insurance sales people.
When it comes to engagements guess what that means? New home, wedding insurance, and possibly the combination of all the policies the two had separately. Make sure to congratulate the couple and do a little research as to what their needs actually are.
In insurance, when we see baby, we think life insurance. It could also mean new home and potentially college savings plan. Life changes and a growing family is a great time to reassess insurance needs.
New job/New business
Any time you start a new job or start a business there is a lot that needs done to establish yourself. If someone steps into a position where they are in a position to buy insurance, then you need to be aware. This could be a win win for the both of you.
For starters, a new job could mean a new place to live, a new (bigger) home, a new car, etc… and not having to go out and actively search for a new agent could be one less thing to stress about.
For those getting new jobs in the decision making process or starting a business, you now have an in to the company. You could help alleviate stress, or help them add value to the new organization right away if it is a good fit.
Birthdays and graduations
Nothing says “I think it’s time to be an adult” like graduation! Birthdays are very similar.
For those graduating, many are likely looking at getting their own place to live and buying their own car insurance. It could also mean a new job and the start to retirement planning.
For those having birthdays it could mean many different things. Early 60’s should start thinking about and understanding medicare. Turning 30, 40, 50 causes a little bit of angst and can cause people to think about the future. People tend to think more about retirement or death at these moments.
The perfect time for an agent to be able to answer questions.
Marketing and Misc Triggers
It’s good to be aware of not just the obvious trigger events, but anything that could mean potential opportunity.
Your Competition is going out of business
If you know your competition is going out of business or has gone out of business then your sales team should hit their best clients as quickly as possible.
This is a delicate process but knowing what is going on can help pick up the clients who need an agent or those who left if your competition sold the agency.
An individual (or an organization’s decision maker) Posts a question or states frustrations publicly about insurance
What better time to talk to someone about insurance then when someone is interested in talking about insurance!? (you probably don’t get this chance too often!)
When a consumer openly discusses insurance it means there is some kind of evidence of interest and they are likely vetting their options. This is a great time to discover what they are looking for and how your agency could add value.
Reads your articles/marketing messages
Hopefully you have analytics systems in place, or are using what is available, where you can track if someone is paying attention to your messaging. This could be marketing email reads, blog reads, website pages viewed, etc.
If you see someone is spending time looking at a specific topic or reads every time you send them a specific topic then this is a trigger event. You could also have trigger events set for multiple actions such as reading 10+ pages on your website.
How to watch for trigger events
Knowing which trigger events to look for is only half the battle. You must know how to watch for them so you are able to react quickly. Thankfully with technology, public information and social media, our prospects do a lot of the leg work.
Here are a few ways to watch for trigger events:
Google Alerts – Track any mentions of prospective companies with these alerts. Anytime they are mentioned online you will be notified. This is great in being able to keep up with any big changes without having to spend the time.
Industry News – If you are focused on a niche make sure to subscribe to different industry news subscriptions. Pay attention to trends in the industries or potential mentions of a prospective company.
Press releases – Just like with Google alerts or industry news make sure to watch for any press releases put out by your prospective organizations. This will let you know of personal changes or structural changes with the organization.
Social Media – People are constantly posting new job changes, pregnancies, frustrations, events they are attending, new bosses, etc… By connecting with people on Facebook and LinkedIn, you can see almost in real time changes that occur.
Analytics programs – Here is where things can get fun. With analytics programs you are able to see if a prospect in your system is looking at your webpages, if they looked at your email (and how many times they looked at it), what blogs they’ve read and everything else they do in relation to your business online. But you can do more than track people in you system.
Like Google Alerts, some programs provide you with the ability to track phrases or hashtags on social media. You can put in your competitor’s name, a certain phrase (like anyone know of a good agent?”), a hashtag, etc.. If you want to be notified anytime someone uses a phrase associated with one of your trigger events online then this is the way to do it!
Responding to trigger events
When a trigger event occurs, you must respond tactfully. Trigger events identify an opportunity for you to sell insurance, BUT a prospective opportunity may not see it as an open invitation to be sold something. Remember this and put yourself in their shoes before reaching out.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind to help you reach out tactfully:
1) Be timely. If a newly identified prospect has had a trigger event the emotion of that event will only last so long. By waiting a week or even a few days, you risk the emotional aspect of taking action to decrease and you also risk the chance of someone beating you to the solution.
2) Be helpful. No one likes to be stalked or sold, so when you pop up out of the blue asking them to buy because ____ happened at their company or in their life it can really rub people the wrong way. The best way to reach out after a trigger event, especially if it’s a cold reach out, is to offer something of value to get in front of them. Build the relationship and help them first. Then the prospect will likely be more opened to hearing what you have to say.
3) Qualify the opportunity. Just because a trigger event occurs, does not mean an individual is ready for a sales call. Qualify the opportunity first. It might be something where you want to make a note in your CRM then watch for another trigger event to occur.
Trigger Events in your sales process
The last thing I want to mention is using trigger events in YOUR sales process. Everyone approaches sales a little bit differently and how you approach sales will best define your trigger events and how you respond.
Here are some tips to help:
- First it is important to identify which trigger events actually make sense for your insurance agency. Makes sense right?
- Next think about how that trigger event fits into your sales process and how should you respond. For some, a trigger event may lead to a Marketing Qualified Lead, which requires another trigger or piece of information before sales reaches out. For some a trigger event might mean go time for sales.
- Lastly you may want to think about standardizing the process. After defining what a trigger event is, create a process of how to follow up and what the standardized messaging should be. This keeps you or your sales people from having to reinvent the wheel or guess every time they encounter a trigger event.
Remember, trigger events are there to present an opportunity. As savvy sales people we understand what works for us and what doesn’t work for us. This is simply a strategy to help you better identify qualified opportunities and help you to be aware of all the opportunities presenting themselves around you.
I hope it helps!
Feel free to drop a comment below and we can discuss this further!
– Zach Emly