People often have no choice but to buy insurance. Even the most financially responsible consumer is skeptical about this abstract product that doesn’t physically exist. Often, they buy on blind faith, hoping that nothing disastrous happens while hoping they’ll be covered if it does. This is true for everything from home and auto insurance to commercial and life. Even health insurance is a gamble on what we hope won’t happen. Your job as an insurance agent is to put the consumer’s mind at ease with confidence in the future. In essence, what you’re selling is yourself and trust in the idea that what you promise is what your customers will get. We’ll show you how to do this effectively.
1. Customer Service
You may not have realized it this when choosing your career but the sooner you understand the better: people expect the best customer service from their insurance agents. They want to be helped as fast and smoothly as possible, especially if they’ve filed a claim. The way you treat a client will also determine how willing the client is to refer you to a friend, family or associate. Likeability matters in this industry so learn how to become a people pleaser. Do your best for your clients and they will know it and they will refer you.
2. Look for Support
Whether it’s a senior agent or training programs your carrier offers, make use of any and all support systems when you’re still young and new to the insurance game. Be a sponge and take in as much as you can. The sooner you do this, the quicker you’ll flourish. All your hidden talents will kick in after you know all you can about the insurance products you’re selling, what tactics work in selling them and how to retain the clients you get. We all want that renewal commission every year, no?
3. Dress the Part
While some agents are increasingly doing business online, you’re most likely meeting face-to-face with clients and prospects, especially if your agency is a brick-and-mortar one. If this is the case, you may want to redefine business casual. While we’re not suggesting that you should wear suits everyday (although you may want to), you should at least avoid jeans and sneakers. Your pants and shoes matter and they leave an impression on people who come in for a consultation or car insurance quotes. Sometimes confidence starts on the outside, so give your self-esteem a boost. Begin dressing better and you’ll notice that people treat you differently.
4. Ask Questions
Find out as much as you can about your prospect while at the same time proving to him/her that you’re not very different. In fact, you may find you have a lot in common. For instance, you may both have kids or you are you alumni from the same college or fraternity/sorority. Often, it’s a homemaker that is doing the insurance shopping for home and auto insurance so be prepared for those scenarios too. Her son plays baseball? Well tell her that was your sport too! The key is to show that you’re familiar and have some things in common.
5. Earn Confidence
It’s hard when you’re starting out and your age works against you. This is where you can boost the number of years your agency or the agency owner has been writing policies. “He goes over every policy I write,” may be enough to ease some natural hesitancy. Maybe the owner has 40 years of experience or the agency does. Whatever solid numbers you can use to support your inexperience help. Make up for your inexperience in any way you can, like by being enthusiastic.
6. Look to Experience
Learn from other insurance agents who’ve been doing this for years. Listen to all stories, tips and warnings. You may have a higher degree than some veterans in the business but don’t underestimate their experience by ignoring what they are trying to impart to you. When it comes to insurance sales, experience trumps everything.
7. Target Younger Consumers
Young people need insurance too and they are more likely to buy from someone with whom they have more in common. New businesses pop up everyday with CEOS in their thirties, even twenties. These are typical ages when people marry and buy homes too. So, you’re not looking at car insurance with a younger demographic. In fact, this group tends to spend more and you may be just the person to help protect their assets.
8. Be Quiet
Not that you should be strangely silent during the entire meeting but the less you talk and the more actively you listen, the more you’ll learn about your client. They may require more lines of insurance than you originally thought. The more they buy the more you can discount them, so keep that in mind as your selling technique. It’s every insurance agent’s dream to convince someone to transfer over a homeowners for an auto-and-homeowners bundle (yes, there’s a discount!).
9. Over Prepare
When your age and inexperience are your disadvantages, you need to work harder to show your stuff, your worth. You’re only as good as what you know, which will in turn informs your role as an insurance agent. Getting a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation or Certified Personal Risk Manager (CPRM) may be helpful. There are other designations besides these two popular ones. Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designations are also sometimes helpful to have. Whatever it is you’re doing to learn the ins and out of the business helps.
10. Buy Leads
A lead you're working with over the phone will not know how young you are, a definite perk if you're just starting out and are a very young independent agent. Or, if the agency owner is buying you leads the same holds true. But you must be persistent and try to close the lead with all you’ve got either way. Don't assume a lead is a sure thing. This means being persistent and trying to be the first to call each and every lead. You must also use your follow-up skills. If you show your manager that you are worth the investment, he’ll continue making it. If you’re an independent agent in charge of his/her own marketing budget, buying insurance leads is a great way to grow your revenue. If you go with SmartFinancial, you’ll be happy with your ROI.
11. Market Yourself
You may be given leads at the agency you work for or by the carriers you represent but you’ll find that you won’t close every single one (no one does) and that you’re left with a skinnier commission than you were hoping for. Insurance is a game of numbers. The more people you provide with free car insurance quotes, the more deals you’ll close and the more policies you will write. It’s important to invest in yourself and buying leads from a trustworthy leads source is important. Generating insurance leads is not easy, but if you buy leads from SmartFinancial, you’ll have great organic leads with a very reasonable refund policy. You should also put some muscle behind your internet presence. It’s not enough to have a static website (having none at all is just mind-blowing). You’ll want to have blog articles that are relevant and client testimonials which will be much more credible than anything you have to say about your agency.
12. Don’t Be Confusing
If you thought you can confuse your clients into buying policies based on your recommendations, think again. People will trust you more if you take the time to explain all the details of a policy. Allow the customer to ask questions, even encourage it. The more transparent you are, the more honest you’ll seem. Plus, don’t you want your client to understand the terms so they are not surprised later? Avoid using jargon when breaking down the terms of the policy so your client walks away feeling clear, not confused and manipulated.
13. Rationalize Pricing
Let’s face it everyone is comparison shopping for the lowest car insurance rates. What can you do when you generate auto insurance quotes that don’t fall in the cheap car insurance category? You can stress the importance of having reliable protection that will come through if you do find yourself in a mishap. With that said, if your prices are not competitive, you will have a hard time selling policies no matter what you say, so hopefully, you’ll find the right balance.
14. Be Persistent
Especially when it comes to lead generation, the important thing is to be persistent. You can’t just call once, get voicemail, hang up and call it a dud. You have to keep trying until you hear a no. Until then, your job is to sell, by being kind and asking how the client’s search is going and selling him/her on why your option is the best one. Often, a prospect is being bombarded by many agents. Do whatever you can to stand out but don’t give up until that person is insured! It may take three or four conversations, but if you keep the faith, you can succeed.