Getting clients and building your base through referrals is essential in the insurance field. Yet, it is harder than ever to be able to do just that. Clients guard their time and seem more reluctant than ever to release their friend’s names even if you have done a fabulous job for them. As technology has taken over, many clients have turned to the Internet to scan companies and prices putting the major control of the situation in their hands, not yours.
So can you turn this around? In the day when people hang up on you, cold calls don’t work and time is precious, how do you as an agent make your time count?
Follow these simple steps to make this one of your best years ever.
Casual dress is slowly but surely going bye-bye. Eight years ago I predicted we would head back to Dress Relax—a step between business dress and casual dress. Why? Because casual dress sprung solely from the technology arena and at the time technology demand far outstripped supply. Corporations quivered like Jell-O as they waited for their IT departments to bring them up to speed. IT departments grew from minuscule in size to the largest department in the company.
Today, technology is taking some hard hits. People are being downsized, dot coms are becoming mere dots on the horizon and control is moving back to where it belongs…the people. Companies are starting to see that the value comes from what their people have to offer and technology is just an enhancement of that.
Now the good news is that some of you may never have switched from business dress. I found that financial planners, insurance agents and lawyers were the last to switch over. So for many of you the switch back to dressing up won’t be too hard.
Here is why you should dress up:
It makes your client feel special
Shows your professionalism
Raises trust and accountability
This doesn’t mean you have to go back to ties, but do wear suits or suited looks.
CONTROL YOUR CLIENT BY LETTING YOUR CLIENT HAVE THE CONTROL
In all my years of working with insurance agents, I have NOT found one that has ever asked THE all-important question. The one question that is going to make the client feel that you truly care about them and have them welcome your intrusion on their life for follow up calls and the change to cross sell.
Here is the all important question: “Because I want to respect your time and make sure your insurance keeps pace with your life, how would you like me to best contact you? Email, letter, or phone?” Follow it up with, “is there a time that is best to reach you at?”
For me, I cannot stand getting phone calls at night when I am trying to take care of my family. I would gladly welcome my insurance agent anytime during the day at work. Preferably, I would love if he would email me occasionally just asking if things have changed for us and if so how have they changed? Even though I have mentioned this to my agent, to this date he has still never contacted me via email.
Why is this so important? Because once a client feels that you WILL be sensitive to their needs, they are more comfortable giving you referrals. Once you have established how they would like you to keep in contact with them, they now expect you to keep in contact with them. This means that your contact is seen as receptive rather than intrusive. When you get in to a comfortable habit of responding in the way they would like, then they have a higher tendency to send you more referrals. You make it easy for them.
BE A RESOURCE FOR YOUR CLIENTS
The power of the relationship really comes once your clients start to call you rather than you having to call them. The easiest way to make this happen is to become a resource for your clients.
Look at all of the lines of insurance that you offer and then make a list of all the possible needs clients have in relationship to those lines. For example, you may notice that you do a lot of business with new homeowners. Needs new homeowners have may include plumber, landscaper, decorator, electrician, and cabinetmaker to name a few. Imagine how your value grows when clients know they can contact you for issues outside of insurance and you will be able to assist them. This makes your clients call you more and more.
It also does one other thing—it gets you leads from other professionals. Imagine if you are one of the resources on your list that has gotten business from you, wouldn’t you naturally want to send business back to that person?
TURN OBJECTIONS IN TO BENEFITS OF DOING BUSINESS WITH YOU
You had better be able to hit the ground running with why a person would want to have their insurance with you. This means you should be able to rattle off the top 5-10 benefits that you have to offer AND why they are relevant to the listener.
Your benefit sheet should be a clean one page faxable sheet. It should contain the key reasons for doing business with you and your company. It should be written in a language that the client could use when telling others why they are doing business with you.
In my book, Outcome Thinking; Getting Results Without the Boxing Gloves, I dedicate a whole section to how to write a benefit sheet and why it must shatter the three communication stoppers that all people put up as barriers. Even if you never share your benefit sheet with your clients you should be able to rattle off all of the items with ease at any time during a presentation.
Your benefit sheet might contain some of the following:
Quick claim response time The worst thing that can happen to you is when you run in to barriers trying to get a claim taken care of. We realize that and have gone out of our way to make it easy on you. Our agents are qualified to immediately respond to all claims under $2000. Our response time for claims over $2000 is 2 days. You will never have to sit around and wait with us.
Experience and knowledge As your situation changes, you need someone with the knowledge and experience to keep you abreast of what to do next. As an agent I have over 10 years experience in this business. I have worked hard to establish relationships with the claims departments and the home office so I can make sure I can meet all of your needs.
You can see how you give a short descriptor and then fill in with why that item matters to the client.
In order to differentiate in today’s market, just follow these steps:
Dress so you make your clients feel that their time is important to you
Follow up in the format that your clients want, not what is easiest for you
Be more than just their insurance agent, be a resource for their needs
Create a benefit sheet that clearly shows why they should work with you
Follow these easy steps and just watch your business grow.
As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to say the right thing at the right time every time. The revolutionary Outcome Focus® Approach shows how to build a candid corporate culture of communication that allows you to lead, present and negotiate transformationally rather than transactionally. When applying Outcome Thinking® our client’s results include sales cycles reducing by 75%, turnover reducing by 30%, silos evaporating, and a 25% savings of time by executives. Find out how you can maximize your corporate culture for greater productivity and results! Contact us at 888-imp-9421, visit www.impressionmanagement.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.