If I asked your clients about your agency, would they describe you and your team as order takers, or advisors? Do they think of you as a source of cheap home and auto insurance, or do they appreciate your advice on the most effective way to protect their families, their net worth and their income?
As sales coach, my value comes from research. I am frequently hired to study an organization’s top-performing advisors and document their best practices. As I conduct my interviews, I am continually struck by two big differences between the top insurance producers and the rest of the pack:
- The top producers have made a shift from “quoting” insurance to “advising” clients. They have gone from commodity to valuable resource.
- Top producers are well practiced. Their team consistently asks thoughtful questions. They immediately position themselves as someone who can help manage everyday risk, and they share stories that illustrate how they advise clients and how their advice helped the client avoid financial difficulty.
Advising Clients Instead of Selling To Them
Imagine that you get a call from a prospect. Let’s call him Doug. When you answer the phone, Doug says, “I’d like an auto quote.” Doug may be asking for an auto quote, but what he is really saying is “I’ve seen all the ads and I want to save money on my auto insurance.” The typical agent (or more likely, the Agent’s team member) says, “Sure Doug, I’ll be happy to get you a quote. What kind of car do you have?” And that’s all they do. They ask just enough questions to offer a quote. They are not advisors; they are “Quoters.”
The top agents respond differently. Let’s suppose Doug calls a top agent and says, “I’d like an auto quote.” The top agents say, “Sure Doug, I’d be delighted to help you out with that. Let me ask you a few questions.” And the #1 question these agents ask—and this is so simple—goes like this:
- Top Agent Question #1: “So Doug, how did you hear about us?”
- Top Agent Question #2: “How many cars do you own?”
- Doug's Probable Answer: “Well, I’m married. And my wife and I both have a car.”
- Top Agent Question #3: “Great. Do you and your wife own your home?”
- Doug's Probable Answer: “Yeah, yeah… we own our home.”
- Top Agent Question #4: “Doug, do you and your wife make investments?”
- Doug's Probable Answer: “Hey, all I want to do is save a little money on auto insurance. Why are you asking all these questions?”
- The top producing agencies answer this question differently, but the gist of what every one of them says is this:
- Top Agent Response: “Doug, here’s the deal. If the only thing you want is cheap auto insurance, you can probably get it cheaper from somebody else. But I can tell that you and your wife have been successful and have accumulated some wealth. If you would like for me to take a look at everything you own and recommend the most effective way to protect it, then I’m your guy. And by the way, if I write multiple lines for you, including both of your cars and your home and a personal umbrella, I’m allowed to offer you a multi-line discount. So ultimately, I’ll save you money on your auto insurance. Just think of me as someone who can help you manage everyday risk. Is that of interest to you?”
The top agents immediately position themselves as someone who you manage your everyday risk. They use their ability to advise clients to add value and build trusted relationships.