The idea of “no more quotes”
About a year and half ago I sold my agency and now work for a very successful agency. I have a great deal of experience and saw myself as a student of the science of sales. But I have to admit the experience I have had over the past 18 months with this new agency has been eye opening. How the people I am working with sell is mind boggling. But in the end their method of client acquisition really makes so much sense.
How selling insurance used to be
When I started on the retail side of things in the insurance business it was open the yellow pages, rip out the pages for the line of business you were targeting, get in the car and start driving. You would bang on doors, drop cards and brochures (that nobody wanted) and when you spoke to ten people it was Miller Time! It was not efficient, but it worked (sort of).
Another tactic was to call on folks who are successful in other industries and ask them to help you in front of potential clients. Again, not bad but still not efficient.
We also used other traditional methods that most agents are used to such as direct mail and cold calling.
All these methods were the way we peddled our wares. Today we refer to this as Intrusion Selling.
Think about it, how would you feel if you are sitting at home relaxing after a hard day at the salt mine and someone knocks on your front door to demonstrate their new super-duper vacuum cleaning robot. Or your phone rings at dinner with the offer of a lifetime to get that new scooter for your trips to Walmart. How do you respond?!
Over the years selling insurance changed
In the last almost decade the playing field has changed and the consumer is more savvy and in most cases by the time they are speaking to you in a sales capacity they have gathered a lot of information and really just need you to connect a few dots and validate their need meeting your solution.
Even when we stepped up our game and worked on being the Consultative Consultant it still seemed to be harder to really make any headway in the modern digital insurance sale. So what is the best approach?
How most agencies are doing business
As humans, we tend to standardize processes and follow best practices. Most agents focus and sell nearly the same way. Your agency most likely fits in this bucket.
Have you focused your practice on things like:
- Qualifying risk (sort of)
- Working on your Elevator Speech
- Trying to articulate your value proposition (Great Service and Great Companies and Great Policies)
- Closing out as many markets as you can as quickly as you can
- Maybe even take it a step further and look for company exclusive selection
- Try and be the last person in (With the lowest price)
- Keep your fingers crossed
If you are like most agencies who focus on the above then you have likely found (if you care to admit) that the way you are doing business no longer works or is much less efficient than it used to be.
How business is being done today
Things have changed and it has been very rapid. In past blogs we have talked about the new sales model. The inbound insurance sales model is much different than the old consultative sales model.
First, we have to position ourselves to be found as opposed to intruding into other people’s lives. Sure, I hear all the time things work just like they used to, but it is harder and less efficient.
Today the way things are purchased is different than in the past. If you have read the “Purple Cow” and it’s discussion of the death of traditional advertising and marketing you will understand the change in the marketplace.
So if we know that the consumer is more savvy and educated, how do you react and what is the best process to follow?
- Where is your target audience?
- Are you positioned where they are researching? Can they find you on Google from your blog or vlog?
- Can they find you on LinkedIn from your activity and connections? If they find you are you playing the six degrees of Kevin Bacon?
- Who is your target audience? Is your message designed to appeal to the owner but the buyer is in HR?
- What is your solution? Is your solution anywhere in my list from above, such as your solution was to block markets?
I want to share an idea with you that I never really saw when I was the owner of my own shop. I was the producer I outlined above. I told myself that our agency was top notch, and I believe it was. But at the end of the day I always kept coming back to the Hope I qualified them and had a good product (at a lower price) success model.
A different approach to selling insurance
When you are trying to land that account what in your heart of hearts do you want to sell?
Do you want to sell your agency or do you want to sell the policy from XYZ Mutual. We kid ourselves into thinking it is us, but it is either total dissatisfaction with the incumbent, or a really lucky uncover of need (which often times the incumbent can “me too” you right out the door) or finally a price that just cannot be overlooked?
Most of us would like to think the reason they bought was Us!
Think about this. How many of your clients and prospects at the end of the buying cycle look at you and say boy this was fun. I really enjoyed hosting 12 insurance inspectors. Photocopying our current coverage 6 times. Sitting through four two hour presentations with donuts. I mean has it ever happened?
So how about changing it up? How about moving from marketing a risk to flipping the table and suggesting the process be Broker Selection!
One thing that most people know is our solution is available on just about every street corner. They know if you cannot perform then dozens of others can jump right in. So why make it about the product? Instead, make it about the Producer!
Producer Selection process is based on the basic premise that we all have the solution but who can best find, implement and serve the solution. Ask your prospect to select two or three and come up with criteria that they expect to see. (It helps to be willing to work up the RFP) And have them narrow the field instead of reviewing a dozen proposals that look alike and drive them to the last page – Price!
So how do you implement Broker Selection?
You will have to position yourself to be seen as being different enough to have something other than “Great Service” to the marketplace. You need to:
- Be seen – Blog, LinkedIn, Community Activity
- Be heard – have thought provoking solutions that if they look they find you
- Be prepared – Know your audience, their issues and their need for you
- Offer to work on a project to demonstrate your capabilities (Say a Workers Comp audit or Cyber Analysis) with the understanding if you deliver you are in the mix if not the final solution
- Be truly different – what can you offer? Risk management tools, 24/7 capabilities, claims advocacy. Can you catch their attention with something they think only you can do
- And finally suggest the better way to do their insurance buying. Offer to get them out of the hellish cycle of shopping the traditional way every three years.
Jerry Garcia, God rest his soul, was a very influential musician. He was the lead guitar player for the Grateful Dead. Now most people cannot list four Dead songs but during his life and career the Grateful Dead was the most successful live Rock and Roll act on the planet. Better than the Stones, Better than U2 and Michael Jackson and The Boss. He had a great quote, “It is important to not only have them think you are the best guitar player, they need to think you are the only guitar player!”
So ask yourself. Do your clients think you are the best agent and the ONLY agent for them? Or are you just good enough to stay with until something more attractive comes there way?
You are great at what you do. Make sure your clients know it too. Let me know if you have any questions.
Wait, Before you go. Drop a comment below. Let me know what your thoughts are on broker/producer selection? Have you tried it before? What are ways you differentiate yourself beyond having a great product at a great price.