Separating Yourself from the Crowd (Part One of Two)
Warren Buffet says that insurance is a commodity and price is the main factor in the market place. It seems that nowadays, lowest price wins, regardless of the other factors. More and more people are turning to direct writers because they believe that 15 minutes and a catchy commercial with a dancing lizard can save them some money. Forget the relationship, forget being able to actually see your insurance agent and forget you if you are $0.01 higher than the "other" guy.
So how do we as insurance agents take a stand and be able take back some of our customers? How do we improve our close ratio? How do we change our customers' attitudes about price to the point that leaving you for a few dollars will never cross their mind? I can answer that question with one word: rapport. Rapport is a funny thing, it makes you memorable, it makes you likable and most importantly it makes you human. So how do we build rapport with potential or existing clients? In this article we will discuss how to hit the ground running with rapport, how to build it from the word go. I will show you how to make more sales, improve your close ratio, learn more about your clients and have fun while doing it.
Next time you get the chance call around to some of the competition in your area and ask for a quote. Listen and learn to how they interact with you. Do you like the person you talk to? Would you buy from them? What made them good or bad at making a connection with you? Take notes about what you liked and what you didn't. Incorporate these ideas into your sales strategy and watch your sales increase.
Below I have three examples of how I have heard insurance agents talk to potential customers on their initial phone call. Keep in mind that I have not written any responses from the client since, in this example, only what the agents say is important. I will use the following scenario for an example:
Jill, a single mother of two, believes she is paying too much for her insurance and goes online to HometownQuotes. com and requests a free quote. She gets a call from three agents that are near her home.
Agent 1: Hi Jill. This is Tom from Big Insurance Company calling about your request for insurance. I wanted to follow up with you to verify some of this information with you and ask you a few additional questions. I will get this worked up and give you a call back.
Tom has done a nice job of being polite if he has the best price in town he might be the agent that Jill ends up using.
Agent 2: Hi, Jill, This is Nancy with Gigantic Insurance Company. I saw where you wanted a home insurance quote. Do you have a second? What is going on with you current insurance company? What are some things you like about your current company? What are some things that you don't like? Alright, thanks for your time, I will call you back shortly.
Nancy was also polite but she took the time to ask some important questions about her current insurance company that she will be able to use to her advantage when comparing companies. If Nancy has the exact same price as Tom she would most likely have the advantage.
Agent 3: Hi Jill. This is Joe from Huge Insurance Company. Is this a good time for you? How is life treating you? Jill, I see that you live on Vine St. Do you know Bo Neighbor? He is one of my clients. It says on the paperwork from HometownQuotes. com that you are a writer? What type of writer are you? You know my wife was trying to break into that business, what sort of tips could you give to help her out? Anyway, sorry about my rambling there, I just find it important to get to know each of my clients on a more personal level than what kind of car they drive. It is also important for me to know that you feel the same way. I know you could call 1-800-555-Quote and get a price but I want you to know me and my family the same way I want to know yours. So, what is going on over at your current company? Oh yea? Well tell me Jill, what are some of the things you really like about your current company? I think we will be able to offer you some solutions that will be comparable to your current company in some ways and exceed them in others. I will take some time to prepare a proposal for you, when is a good time for us to get together so I can present that to you? Great I will talk to you then.
What has Joe done? He was polite, learned about what was going on with her current company and most importantly in the short amount of time he had with her he became her friend. He knows personal stuff about Jill and Jill knows the same about Joe. Sure he may or may not have the best price in town but as long as he is in the ball park he has a chance at the business. This is a chance that he probably would not have had if he had been even $5 more than the first two agents.
I can promise you this: There is no better felling than closing the deal on a new client than when you cost them more money that what they were currently paying and they came to your company because of you. Take a chance on this one and try to be way different that your competition for one week. All you have to lose is some time. If you are selling on price alone now you will still have the same price, you will just deliver it in a different manner. After all, my Dad tells me all the time that "if you put it in one end of the pipe, it will fall out the other." In other words if you quote enough people you will eventually write business. I guess I just want more of my "it" to get to the other end of the pipe.