S.P.U.R Customers to Communicate, Engage and Take Action – Be Relatable
Being "relatable" rounds out the S.P.U.R. method as the last of four techniques to entice insurance consumers to engage with you. It's easy to remember this simple strategy by recalling the acronym S.P.U.R., which stands for Specific, Personal, Unique and Relatable.
All Conversation Techniques Are Not Created Equal
To be a successful and relatable insurance agent, you have to be flexible when it comes to your approach to speaking with different clients. The older generation may appreciate a phone call or a handwritten letter from you as opposed to an email. But if you call someone from a younger generation, a) they may not answer because b) they may find a phone call both invasive and pushy, and c) they may never listen to your voicemail because that’s what texting is for, isn’t it? You certainly can’t cast a wide stereotypical blanket over people of any particular age, but this is why it’s important to feel your clients out and ask what kind of communication works best for them.
Always Be Professional
It’s great when you build a close working relationship with your client, but it’s important to know where to draw the line when it comes to getting too comfortable. You are the professional, and you are selling them (or hoping to sell them) a service. How you present yourself – both in appearance and demeanor – play major roles in professionalism. When you have a meeting with a client, never show up looking sloppy, even if they are always wearing their favorite hole-ridden jeans and worn-out sneakers. You always want to look at least as professional, if not more professional, than your clients. But use your discretion when deciding whether to wear a full business suit or go with a business casual look. There are times when you can be overdressed and make your client feel uncomfortable. When it comes to communicating with clients, whether via email or phone call, maintain a positive demeanor and strike the right note between being professional and being conversational. You don’t want to use slang when you’re speaking with them, but you also don’t want to sound like a robot. Try hitting a middle-ground tone, like you’re explaining something to a family friend.
Things That Make You Less Relatable
Even when communicating with someone via email, you can still come across as relatable and personable if you follow these three, fail-proof tips:
- Avoid Spelling and Grammar Mistakes: Spell-check is your friend. If you’re not the world’s greatest speller, technology has come a long way to help you fake it. Before sending your client an email, be sure to run spell-check. Although spell-check is a great tool, it isn’t foolproof. (Have you ever meant to type “public” and forgotten the “l”? Yup. Changes the meaning entirely and spell-check won’t catch it because it’s not a misspelling.) Either proofread or have someone else proofread your email before you send it to your client. Unfortunately, spell-check doesn’t check if you use the correct form of there/their/they’re and your/you’re, nor does it do a good job of checking for other grammatical errors. Nobody is expecting you to write the next great American novel, but be sure to proofread your email to make sure what you’re saying is clear, concise, makes sense and doesn’t make you look like a fool.
- Don’t Write in All Capital Letters: WHEN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS IT MAKES THE READER FEEL LIKE YOU’RE SCREAMING AT THEM...doesn’t it? If you write in all caps, even if you’re trying to get the client’s attention, it will make you seem pushy, not very computer savvy, or as though you were so distracted you didn’t realize the caps lock was on. This is never appropriate. EVER. Ahem.
- Don’t Use Industry Jargon, Slang or Unexplained Acronyms: As we discussed in the first part of our four-part series about S.P.U.R (specific, personable, unique and relatable), it’s important to be specific when pitching to a potential client or when communicating with a current client. (The second article talks about being “Personable” and the third focuses on being “Unique.”) You’re the expert. The client is depending on you to explain things in a way that’s easy for him or her to understand. You can relate to clients by trying to put yourself in their position when writing an email or speaking with them. If you didn’t know anything about insurance, how would you explain your packages and rates? Never use unexplained acronyms because nothing is more frustrating to someone who is trying to read an email when they have to stop and Google what an acronym means. (It’s pretty sad that www.acronymfinder.com exists.) If you have to use an acronym, define it in the sentence. For example, “I would like to offer you our accident and health (A&H) insurance package. The A&H package features....”
Be Relatable by Relating
It may sound obvious, but the best way to be relatable is by, well, relating to other people. You can better connect with clients or potential clients by making conversation and asking about their lives. In this day and age, the art of conversation is taking a beating; it’s shocking how often someone doesn’t ask a single question about the person they’re speaking with during the course of a conversation. Part of being relatable is asking those questions and being genuinely interested in the responses. By asking about a client’s life and interests, you will not only connect with him or her on a deeper level, but also gain a deeper insight into that person’s needs and expectations. Such “small talk” (which is actually a big deal) also creates an avenue to discover common interests and life events, whether that’s restoring antique cars, tutoring kids or potty training your toddler. When you make those connections, your client will see you as a person, not just a salesman and that, interestingly enough, may help you sell a policy.
How Would You Want to Be Treated?
The most important piece of advice when it comes to being relatable to your clients is to treat them the way you would want to be treated in their situation. Nobody wants to spend time trying to decipher an email with a ton of jargon and acronyms or be virtually “screamed” at in their inbox. You wouldn’t want to show up to a meeting with your, say, mortgage lender who is wearing pajama pants and a hoodie. Your clients want to feel as though their thoughts and feelings matter – because they do. Tailor your working relationship with each client to fit his or her needs and to fit his or her personality. As an insurance agent, it is your job to ensure they understand the different insurance packages and how each package will benefit them and to explain that in a clear, concise and relatable way. Remember to always maintain a relationship that feels friendly and comfortable but never crosses the line of professionalism.