A conversation can be many things, but when you are selling auto insurance, you have to be patient. In a short span of time, you have to earn a client’s trust. To do this properly, we’ve compiled a list of questions that will help you build rapport and sell policies.
These questions may or may not be raised in the initial call you make to a lead. Your initial call may be rushed and end in an appointment to speak later. Now, you’ll want to set the appointment sooner rather than later because there’s a chance another agent will grab your lead by the ear before you have a chance to talk. According to statistics, the first person to make a call gets the sale, not the first person to set an appointment.
We’ve rounded up a list of questions that will help you not only determine what the lead needs and wants but who the lead is and what their priorities are. As an insurance agent, you will meet people who make decisions you don’t agree with. At the end of the day, it’s your job to educate, not make decisions, which is in keeping with the golden rule of listening more deeply as clients talk to you.
These questions should not feel like you’re drilling the customer. They should feel like gentle invitations to open up, to get to know one another better. Feel free to pepper these questions with personal information about yourself so that you’re both reciprocating in this new relationship that will hopefully last through many policies.
1. What do you do for a living?
Knowing what someone does for a living is important because it not only helps you begin building a relationship with the person, but it also helps you determine what types of risks that person takes. You’ll get a sense of how much money that person makes, which will help you determine how much protection they need. For instance, if your client works in a career that averages over $150,000 a year, you may safely assume that this person may have some very real assets to protect and would therefore need more insurance than the average person. You may also want to discuss an umbrella policy, which would further protect those assets were the customer to find him or herself in a car accident. However, if you know this person makes less than the national average, you may have to work within a tight budget. You don’t need to sell this person the Cadillac policy.
2. Are you married?
Again, this is the sort of question that will tell you more about the lead. The answer will not only be telling, but it’ll give you a chance to tell the lead that married people get a lower rate on average. Let the prospect divulge as much or as little information as possible about any future plans to get married or divorced, which may raise their rate. If the lead is unmarried, he/she may live with a partner. This person may affect the prospect’s insurance rate by virtue of living in the same home. Let the prospect know all you know about how their rate is being determined without being long-winded. Make sure to give examples, even of your own personal auto insurance and how it is or was affected by the people you live(d) with. You’re asking personal questions, so it may make the person on the other end feel more comfortable if you’re also sharing your situation as well.
3. Do you have children?
Many unmarried couples and even single people have children, so remember to ask, even if the prospect says they are unmarried. Whether or not an auto insurance lead has children matters. It determines what kinds of passengers this person will have in their car. If the driver is a parent, ask what their children’s names are and how old they are. People love to talk about their children so keep them talking. You’ll learn alot about this person from what they divulge about their kids. Jot down these kids’ names and ages so you can ask about them in a follow-up conversation. If you have a CMS (which we highly advise), take notes here so that you never lose any important information on the lead.
4. What Made You Want to Get a Quote?
This question is very important because it will give you a sense of what this person is looking for. If they are unhappy with their current provider, you’ll learn why. This will enable you to sell the client on options that may remedy the issue they’ve had in the past. If the lead is looking to pay less, you’ll know to streamline their options when considering coverages. It’s okay to ask what they are currently paying too. There’s no sense in wasting time if they are paying rock-bottom prices you simply can’t beat. However, it’s worth selling them on a superior product and explaining how it may save them money in the long run. In fact, you should do that regardless of their motives for buying new car insurance.
5. What do you like about your current policy?
Perhaps the lead has been with the same company for years and liked the convenience of bundling their home and auto so they didn’t consider unraveling the whole package. Or, maybe they were in an accident and they didn’t like the rate hike after the fact or the claim was not paid in full. You can manage expectations better when you know what these expectations are. For instance, the accident will show on their record and affect their rate with you too, so make the lead aware of this reality before offering a quote.
6. What don’t you like about your current policy?
This is easy. As the customer begins listing their grievances, you can counter each point by selling your carrier(s). Again, there may be no way of making the customer 100% happy with your quote but at least ask so you can have a clear conversation that sets expectations right.
7. What coverage do you want?
If a prospect says he wants the bare minimum, you know what you have to do: explain that bare minimum insurance will not cover his damages if he’s at fault in the accident -- just don’t tell him what to do after he’s made aware! Make sure he understands the consequences of buying liability only. Show him the average costs of car accident damage versus the monthly payments that will prevent him from having those exorbitant costs. The average cost of a nonfatal car crash with property damage and non-disabling injuries is $7,500. A disabling one is $61,600 and a fatal one $1,130,000. If he still insists on liability, move forward.
8. Have you or anyone you know ever been seriously hurt in a car accident?
If they have, they will know you’re not inflating the numbers given above. If they haven’t, you need to give some numbers regarding medical bills. The average cost of an emergency room visit is $3,300. The at-fault driver’s insurance has to pay for these bills. If you only have liability and you’re at fault, who’s going to pay for your emergency room visit and possible ambulance charge which will take that $3,300 emergency room bill closer to $4,000! And don’t forget that the cost of repairing or replacing the car will be on them! Basically, you’re going to give real-life scenarios with and without medical payments, collision and comprehensive.
9. What are your priorities in buying insurance?
Does the driver just want to satisfy the legal requirements or do they need to protect a thriving business or an expensive home from lawsuits? Basically, if you’ve got someone with a clunker, there’s no point in pushing the issue with collision insurance, unless they don’t have health insurance, at which point you would be wise to talk about any medical payments coverages you may be able to offer. However, if that person has few or no assets to protect, don’t protest too much if they insist on liability alone. Folks who have a home and savings are the ones who may have much more to lose if they have insufficient coverage or limits and they get sued. One of the most undersold policies is umbrella insurance, which you should have your higher earning clients buy to extend their liability limits. Remember to tell the lead that once there’s a lawsuit against you, the bills just keep accruing.
10. Are you the only decision maker for this policy?
The answer to this question will determine whether or not you can close the deal in that phone call. If there is a spouse or partner or parent that needs to be consulted, ask if you can speak to that person or to have a three-way conversation, either by phone or via zoom. When you can, be a part of the decision making process.
11. Do you plan to buy today or in the near future?
Again this falls in line with the previous question and it’ll give you an idea of how long you have to nurture this lead. If the person’s policy ends in a month, you have a month to keep yourself on top of mind with texts, emails and follow-up calls, which work best if you make an appointment. If that person needs to buy that day, you’ve got to do what you can to ease the lead’s mind about your product, speak to whomever else needs to okay the purchase and close that deal.
12. What other agents have you spoken with?
If you aren’t yet, become familiar with your competitors’ rates. Learn as much as you can about the other carriers. You never want to talk badly about the competition but there’s nothing wrong with saying that your product is better and showing examples of what you mean.
13. Am I explaining this in a way that makes sense?
To most people, auto insurance is confusing. It’s also an expense they hate paying for because people think they’ll never find themselves in an accident. Make sure the client understands the concepts by making it as easy to understand as possible. If they don’t understand, avoid getting frustrated and explain it again in another way. Better yet, make a diagram of an accident and have it handy (you can share a screen on Zoom!), to explain how a claims process begins after an accident if the accident is the prospect’s fault and a diagram showing how it all goes down if it’s the other driver’s fault. Always include the possibility of there being passengers in both cars. You want to always gauge how a worst-case scenario will impact the consumer.
14. Does what I’m offering sound like it meets your needs?
This is a great question to pose because it allows the customer to voice their hesitation, which makes it much easier for you to address their concerns rather than guessing why they aren’t committing to buying a policy.
15. Does this sound like it fits your budget?
While you shouldn’t sell on price, you have to be flexible about making the policy as affordable as it can be. Is it pricey because you’ve added bells and whistles? If so, start stripping it down if you’re out of budget. If they have a lower offer elsewhere for the same type of policy, you should make sure you’ve added on all the discounts you can. See if you can bundle their home and auto at a very low rate. Or simply sell on quality, which sometimes but not always does the trick. While some customers will bluff, hoping to get you to lower their rate, in most cases, they are telling the truth about a competing rate and will even tell you which carrier is offering it. If you can beat a competitor’s rate, by all means do so.
16. Are there any major life events that you foresee that may change the options we looked at today?
Is the driver getting married? If so, tell them that you can lower the rate when that happens. Is the driver buying a home? That too may bring down their rate. If that person is moving, find out where they are moving to, because rates change even from one neighborhood to the next. Are they getting a roommate or living alone? There are many life changes that affect one’s auto insurance rate. Be on top of these factors.
17. Do you have any questions or have anything else you wanted to discuss?
Do this in a manner so it doesn’t feel like a pleasantry before wrapping up a meeting. Let the customer know that you genuinely care about whether or not they understand what their options are. If you’re the type of salesperson who makes a customer’s head spin and expects them to open their wallet, think again. If you want a long-standing relationship, set the proper tone by making yourself more accessible. Show that you are patient and trustworthy by giving the client your time.
18. Are you ready to move forward with this purchase?
Hopefully you got your prospect to open up because you’d be amazed by how many people walk away from a meeting with an insurance client feeling more confused than before the call. After you feel the client has not only understood everything but knows what you recommend, ask them if they are ready to buy. You’ll know your answer. It’s either a yes or a no. But you’re not done!
19. What is your hesitation?
If your lead is ready to buy, move onto question #20. Otherwise, you are in the same boat as many agents who do end up making a sale so don’t get disheartened by the hesitation. Get to the bottom of it. You can’t convince someone otherwise if you don’t know what the hesitancy is.
20. Do you have homeowners or renters insurance?
Better yet, ask about business insurance while you’re at it. Be honest and tell the client you may be able to get them a major price break, because in most cases you can. Why end a call with just one policy when you can sell two or three. Get your money’s worth. You’d be surprised by what you can get by just asking.