Selling is always a two-part deal – you need to find new leads and convert them into customers, while at the same time satisfying current customers so they don’t take their business elsewhere.
While there’s some crossover on how you do your job, both approaches require different skills, attitudes, and methods. Here are eight of the best insurance sales strategies to master when you're looking to attract new leads and retain existing customers.
Insurance sales strategies that attract more interested leads
Research prospects thoroughly
The internet makes us all digital sleuths. Most everything you'll need to research your market and customers is at your fingertips. What can you find out about your leads by means of search engines and social media? Is there anything in these digital profiles that could help you be a better sales person or offer a more complete service?
Let's be clear though...this is not spying. Instead, this is being a thorough salesperson. With so much consumer information readily available online, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not leveraging what is so conveniently offered up for free. The better prepared you are, the more likely you’ll connect and even close the sale.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve perfected every insurance sale strategy ever devised, if you’re not a "likable" salesperson, you’re going to close a lot less sales than a personable, helpful agent would. Trying to be likable doesn't work and there's no "be likable" for dummies...okay maybe there is.
Remember that regardless of whether you’re having a good or bad day or you’re highly organized or scattered-brained, your new leads require the best possible service from you. Go the extra step. Show up for any sales meeting in a positive, motivated mood, and prospective customers will take notice.
Find the decision maker
Often, when you’re pitching a new sale, you work with more than one person. If you’re an independent agent selling life insurance, you often times speak to many married couples. Even if you’re constantly meeting with just one person, the other spouse could be the one who’s really making the decision. The decision maker, as you know, is your goal for each sale. Determine this early to avoid repeating your pitch and selling at arms length.
Same goes for pitching to a business. There are many people involved: CEOs, CFOs, directors, or managers. You might have been brought in by a connection with management, but the Human Resources Director is usually the one who’ll have the final say or at least strong influence on those who do make the final decision. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the other counterparts or look to skip over the chain of command. The trick is to ensure that everyone you speak with feels they are an important part of the process. When people feel empowered they are likely to suggest and direct their perception up the chain of command. Your offer becomes more valid as it picks up speed from the very beginning.
Prepare for objections
Always prepare for and expect common objections. Prepare for protests to pricing, delivery, contract, or any other major specifics of the deal.
Get to know your prospects by asking detailed questions until you’re fully aware of how you can help them. You can even do this ahead of time by researching your prospective customers via their social footprint as suggested above. By knowing a little more about your customer you can tailor your pitch to address specific objections or common, local interests. Then, you can present your pitch better, and prepare answers to any objections or questions your leads might bring up.
Sales strategies for retaining insurance customers
Your responsiveness is extremely important. Today's consumers are becoming increasingly expectant of immediate feedback.
How long does it take you to respond to customer calls or emails? If the answer is anything longer than 24 hours, you need to reevaluate and put more effort in to your response system. Sales is a quick-response business. If you aren’t replying to your customers in a short period of time, another salesperson will. With so many ways to connect to clients, you should ideally be in an "always on" mode. We're not saying you should be responding to emails at 3AM, that's up to you, but if a client has a fire or some other catastrophe, even a short "I'm working on it" note, will make all the difference come policy renewal time.
Map out their journey
Insurance customers are skeptical by nature. With a long history and years of conditioning, you're not going to change that perception, however, with the right insurance sales strategies, you can and break down that barrier quickly.
Encourage customers to let you guide them through a journey, not just a sale. If you’ve been selling auto insurance to a young professional since she first got her driver's license, ask her about her interest in an insurance roadmap, free of charge. Of course you'll pitch this to offer all the ways you can meet her needs, be it retirement planning, asset protection, and more. The thing here is that even though you may not offer some services, you probably know someone else who does. Create a conversation and a relationship, not just a sale.
If you can map out a journey you’ll take with your customers, they’re bound to follow your path.
Stay in touch
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople often make after closing a deal is to move on to the next right away. Don’t fall off the face of the planet after you close. First, send a thank you letter for every deal that you finish, even if it’s a small annual renewal. If your clients feel that you’re making an effort when they don’t actively need you, they’ll consider you immediately when any immediate need arises.
Alert customers in advance
Find a better rate for your insurance customers ahead of time. Don’t make them ask for discounts. Research ways they can save money. People are getting tired of the special-prices-for-new-customers-only type of sales strategies. How about special pricing for loyal customers?
- Can you find your customers discounts throughout the year?
- Are you aware of any recent rate changes that could impact their policies?
- What data do you have that they might not have access to that would help support your reasoning?