Stability is a quality most people want in the companies they do business with. As insurance professionals, we provide stability for our customers by protecting their financial future and possessions—home, autos, and so on. Most of us probably take that fact for granted. After all, that’s what agents do, right? We sell stability in an unstable marketplace.
Some new competitors want potential customers to believe today’s marketplace is all about price. I hear ads on the radio for cheap life insurance, including testimonials from customers who tell about how much money they saved. Do you ever hear any testimonials about how terrific the company was in dealing fairly and efficiently with a claim? No. Is the company stable? Will it be in business next week? I wonder about this and so should your customers.
But you don’t have to fall into the price-wars trap. When I started in the insurance business 20 years ago, price was an issue, and it appears on the surface to be an even bigger issue today. However, if price truly is the only issue, you wouldn’t even be in business. We need to focus on fundamental value and stability, not price.
If the client is not sold, there is no sense in discussing price. No logical person would buy something they are not sold on just because you offer a lower price.
Think about why people buy insurance.
If you’re talking to the right people, you will be focusing your sales time on families who value what they own and value your expert advice. These prospects and customers buy insurance for security, peace of mind and the ability to grow. And you can’t grow and move forward until you protect what you already have! It’s fundamental.
When selling, never show your customer anything with a price on it.
Talk about the product, explain how the product works and how it can be tailored to fit the customer’s needs. For example, let’s say you are presenting homeowner’s coverage. You will want to talk about the stability of the company, what the policy covers and what is not covered. You will want to talk about the level of service the customer can expect in the event of a claim. Of course you will want to talk about the stability of your agency, how many years you have been in business and so forth. Price and payment options are always discussed at the close, when the customer has already been sold on the value of the product.
The client is sold if the product meets his needs.
Customer needs are basic: security, peace of mind and the ability to grow. People want to be assured and reassured that everything is okay, that somehow things are going to turn out all right. If the client is not sold, there is no sense in discussing price. No logical person would buy something they are not sold on just because you offer a lower price. This proves and supports our belief that insurance and financial services are not sold as a commodity. If this were so, there wouldn’t be so many insurance companies and brokerage houses competing in today’s marketplace.
Over the last five years, many carriers have allowed their agents to apologize for the rates they charge. What the agents should have been doing is selling the stability of the companies they represent.
There’s that stability word again. In today’s volatile market, it’s more important than ever that your insureds are placed with a carrier that has the ability to be there now and in the years ahead. Responsible pricing insures long-term affordable rates and continuous coverage well into the future. Competition is good as long as it’s good competition. We have all witnessed the burst of the Internet bubble and this model can be applied to the insurance industry. Low-cost carriers will come and go because they sell primarily on price and neglect the stability part of the equation.
Of course your client is interested in getting the best bang for his buck. The insured you want to do business with wants a good deal, but not at the expense of security, peace of mind and the ability to grow. Focus on filling these basic customer needs and your agency will thrive. Think and sell stability.
Troy Korsgaden has trained nearly 40,000 insurance agents, brokers and staff across the country. He can be reached through his company, Troy Korsgaden Systems at 800-524-6390, or www.tksystems.org.