Independent insurance agents know that customer buying behaviors have changed and they know why. Young professionals have less job certainty. It is more difficult to get mortgage approval than it was before the Great Recession. Insurance agents want to evolve their selling skills but often say things like, “We must outsell the competition.”
Buyer behavior is the place the independent agent must look when considering how to handle insurance competition. The younger buyer is likely to spend more time researching available insurance products and services. He or she is also more likely to bristle at overtly aggressive or “sales-y” discussion. Concerned about the competition? Don’t sell. Listen.
Educating the prospective customer, and continuing to educate the client, is one way to outpace the competition. Remain neutral, or give credit to the competition where it is due, to establish credibility.
The client at hand is an individual whose needs the agent hopes to meet. While writing the policy now is always the agent’s goal, taking a longer view can mean lots of referrals from a pleased, at-ease customer.
The outdated concept of outselling the competition presumes a model of scarcity. If there are only two competitive sales agents, one salesperson can convince the prospect to purchase. In this model, one person wins and the other loses the sale.
In the real world, insurance agent faces many competitors, but his or her prospective client universe is nearly limitless. Listening to the prospect sets the stage for needs-based selling. The thoughtful salesperson probes for the true needs of the prospect and then appropriately shares insight and expertise.
Don’t expect to become the top producer in the next thirty days. This get-rich-slowly method is essential to productivity and longevity as an independent insurance sales agent.
Likewise, encourage your clients to build assets over the long-term with insurance products. Help them protect what they have with property and casualty insurance. Over time, clients will acknowledge the wisdom of slow and steady asset growth.
Short-Term Behavior, Long-Term Goals
Today is a New Insurance World. It is not a rehash of the sales and services theories the sales agent has learned in the past. It is a collection of resources and tools to use in business and personal life.
As an independent insurance agent, you should want to develop a professional practice. Focus on knowing yourself, customers, and competition to effectively handle sales competitors and grow revenues.
Remember, clients want to buy from high integrity, accurate providers of risk management products. They want “the best.” Handling insurance sales competition starts by servicing the customer’s needs. You can continue to deliver by competing with maturity, growing a presence in the community, and giving more often than you take.
Learn More About ASI
ASI is one of the largest homeowners insurance carriers in the United States. Through a network of independent agents, the company offers home, condo, renters, dwelling, fire, and flood insurance in over half the country, with plans to cover the rest by 2017. Find out more at americanstrategic.com.