February insurance sales tips:
LOVE those prospects and clients

This month's insurance sales tips are focused on helping you remove any bumps in your relationship with your prospects, from becoming a trusted advisor and customizing your sales presentation to the prospect's personality type, to creating latent dissatisfaction in order to help a prospect move forward.

1. Be a trusted advisor, not a salesperson

Let's face it: as insurance producers, your job is often an uphill battle. Consumers - whether for their personal account or for their business - consider insurance a necessary evil. They know they need insurance protection, but they don't trust insurance companies or their agents. Media is quick to tell of big, bad insurance companies not paying out on losses like the client thought they should. (Of course, the fact that insurance fraud is rampant never gets the same press...but that's another story.)

So how do you overcome the inherent distrust of insurance, and the reputation that insurance producers try to scare people into buying what they may not need?

It starts by being an educator, said a PropertyCasualty360 article, because "Insurance clients don't want to hear your sales pitch."

Today's consumers "don't care about your company's history, features or sales pitch...but they do desperately need your advice," the article said. Chances are they've talked to friends about coverage and done their homework online, learning about insurance options. But when it comes to deciding how much coverage, what riders or extras to add and which are unnecessary, what deductibles to choose - that's a lot of variables, and that's where you come in.

Take a look at your website: are you pushing insurance products and your company, or are you starting with where your customers are coming from? It's crucial to create all your communications - from your website and social media to your emails - from your prospects' and clients' point of view. This is a crucial insurance sales tip, so we'll repeat it: Always communicate from THEIR point of view - not your own or your company's. You should always answer the WIIFM question, "What's in it for me, the customer? How does this help me? How will this create peace of mind? What is the short-term and long-term value of this?" 

Start by creating a list of those frequently asked-and-answered questions that you deal with on a weekly basis. You can probably find a lot of them from old emails that you've sent to clients. Then add those questions and answers to your product pages and blog about them. You can also create email templates with these FAQs that you can email as follow-up emails to prospects.

2.  How to tailor your pitch to your prospect's personality

You know how important it is to tailor your pitch to the prospect: If it's personal lines, the needs of a young couple are significantly different than a couple in peak earning years or a retiring person. If you sell commercial lines, you spend time learning about their business online before you meet with them. And if you can find their social media profiles for added insight - bonus!

Related: Insurance producer marketing tips to see and be seen  

But knowing their behavior style, and customizing your presentation to their style, would also be hugely beneficial, so it's the second of our insurance sales tips. According to sales expert Tony Alessandra, as quoted in Hubspot's "How to Customize Your Pitch to Your Client's Personality Type," you just need to know two things about them: Are they outgoing or reserved? And are they a quick decision maker or a slower, more thoughtful and weigh-all-the-facts decision maker? Relating personality types to the DISC profile, Alesandra suggested these tactics.

If the prospect is a hard-charging decision maker (DISC's "Dominant"), 

  • Keep your relationship all about business. They don't want to discuss their personal life.
  • Keep your conversation fast-paced. They won't give you a lot of time. Patience is not their virtue.
  • Be prepared: They will ask lots of questions. Give executive summary answers without a lot of detail unless they ask for it.
  • Provide options, each with a cost/benefit summary.
  • Typically this person is the CEO or department head.

If the prospect is a fast-paced socializer (DISC's "Influencer").

  • Let them set the pace of the meeting.
  • Show more enthusiasm - they are feelers.
  • Be quick to praise and slow to criticize.
  • Summarize your meetings with an email, as they're not good at details.
  • Typically this personality type is in sales.

If the prospect is a slower-paced feeler (DISC's "Supporter")

  • Build their trust before going after their business. Feeling they can trust you is crucial to this person.
  • Show how your insurance products will benefit them and the team. Harmony and team-building are also very important to this person.
  • Give personal assurances and guidance. They need hand-holding.

If the prospect is a slower-paced thinker *DISC's "Conscientious"),

  • Keep social talk to a minimum, just as you do with a hard-driving decision maker.
  • Provide options with documentation. They like to see the details.
  • Give them time to analyze. They don't make snap decisions.

 

Related: Top body language mistakes insurance agents make in meetings


3. How to create latent dissatisfaction to help your sale

Latent dissatisfaction: It's when your client knows they probably don't have the right insurance solutions, but they're dragging their feet before taking corrective action. Right now their situation may not great, but it could be worse, and they just don't have the time or the budget to make it right, they may say. In other words, it's just not a priority - yet. So here is the third of this month's insurance sales tips.

Your job is to help them see that there IS a better solution, and it won't take much time or as many resources as they're afraid may be the case. "[Latent dissatisfaction] is an effective choice for creating an opportunity, and it can set you apart. Especially when you have something compelling to offer in the way of improvement," says sales coach Anthony Iannarino. He suggests thinking through these four questions before setting another meeting with them:

  • If your prospect is dissatisfied but doesn't know what they need: Can you outline the negative issues of their current situation?
  • If your prospect is dissatisfied and thinks they know what they need: Have they hit all the pertinent details? What else can you add to the discussion to help the change?
  • How can you help them agree that a better solution is available?
  • Can you provide a similar case study of other dissatisfied clients that you've helped?

Getting a client off the fence and moving again may sometimes require a degree in the fine art of persuasion, but ensuring you have a clear picture of their situation - and what's holding them back - will help you make that sale.

That's it for this month's insurance sales tips. Where have you used similar tactics to help you close the deal?