Any good salesperson is always looking for ways to organically increase sales. You care about your client relationships, and while you don’t want to come across as pushy or “salesy,” you want to naturally increase customer value. Upselling insurance products, cross-selling other services, and adding additional value for customers while making more money is a win-win. That is afterall, the reason you're in business.

If you’ve been in any sales role before you've no doubt read about or even tried several selling techniques in the past, one of which may have been upselling. Upselling insurance products can be a simple as one question or an entire presentation. It can increase the lifetime value of your customers and for insurance agents, that should be enough to make it a priority in your sales strategy.

Let's answer some common questions and show you ways to easily – and naturally – incorporate upselling into your regular sales routine.

Upselling vs. cross-selling

Before diving in let's make a quick distinction between upselling and cross-selling.

  • Upselling is actually quite simple to understand. It's when a salesperson suggests that the customer considers upgrades, add-ons, or a more premium product than he or she originally requested. To be clear, it's in no way a bait-and-switch technique. Your customers have every right and opportunity to purchase the option they were originally considering. Instead, you’re simply offering a higher quality product to what they’re looking for. So how does this differ from cross-selling?
  • By comparison, cross-selling invites customers to review and investigate complementary services or products in tandem to the original product or service.

These terms are often used interchangeably, however, both offer unique benefits for the customer, as well as the sales agent selling them.

Upselling exists in ANY industry

There are many industries where upselling is a natural part of the sales pitch. Car dealers may have customers that come in looking for a basic model, but when they test drive the vehicle with a sunroof, heated seats, and a remote starter, they’ll easily be swayed to increase their budget for the additional amenities.

Jewelers can easily convince a future groom to upgrade from a small solitare to higher-quality, multi-stone ring. They also may suggest buying a bridal set, where the matching wedding band is sold with the engagement ring. When he agrees, a successful upsale has taken place.

Guess what – upselling happens just as organically in the insurance industry. Your customers come to you because they have a need that must be met. They own a car, and in order to drive, it must be insured. They just purchased a home, and it needs coverage. You’re the person who can help them. You’re also the person who can upsell their purchase.

Applying to insurance sales

Remember the previous example of a jeweler up-selling a future groom on his engagement ring? Well, the nicer the ring, the more the couple is going to want to protect the investment. If your customers come to you to renew or purchase a home or renters insurance policy, and you know that they were recently engaged, suggest adding a rider to their policy that will protect the ring.

There’s no pressure with suggesting the additional protection available. In fact, the newly engaged couple may be grateful if they didn’t know the coverage existed.

Here’s another natural way up-selling insurance products is beneficial: remember the customer who purchased the better model car? Well, vehicle insurance is mandatory in almost every state. She’ll reach out to you for coverage, and there are a few ways you can upsell this policy. First, take a look at her previous limitations. Are they high enough to cover her brand new car? They may need to be raised. Next, show value by suggesting additional endorsements such as rental car coverage or roadside assistance.

Most customers would love to add those endorsements to their overall coverage. If you can show why the value of those options overrides the cost, you’ll have successfully upsold your car insurance client.

Upselling is really important to customer lifetime value

You may be reading this and thinking, will I really make that much more money from a few small upsells?

The answer is yes.

Up-selling your leads doesn’t simply benefit you on a one-time basis. Consider how the customer lifetime value changes after the addition of one enhancement, such as adding roadside assistance to your policy. If your customer keeps her business with you for the long run, the original upsell makes you money for as many years as you write her policy.

Have an angle you use for successful upselling? Share your opinion or comments below.