In the heyday of the insurance business, your insurance salesman was a member of the local community. He would knock on doors, sit down with your family at the kitchen table and discuss your needs face-to-face. When the Internet upended the insurance industry, salespeople withdrew to their desks and shifted from actively pitching potential clients to waiting for customers to approach them.
Insurance sales strategies need to evolve again, this time to a modern model that reflects the proactive, customer-first principles of the door-to-door salesman days, aided by the efficiency of the Internet. The companies that thrive today and in the future will be those that anticipate their customers’ needs and establish solid personal relationships.
How the reactionary culture evolved, and why it’s problematic
When sales strategies shifted from the more personal, door-to-door approach to in-office, online marketing, great sales professionals were left without a clear plan for applying their proactive techniques to the new medium. Many insurance companies became more reactionary in their marketing and sales strategies, waiting to be approached by customers seeking particular coverage rather than reaching out to recommend plans.
Additionally, many agency owners are skilled salespeople but not strong business owners. They don’t train everyone on their team in upselling customers, missing an opportunity to empower their staff with a proactive sales mentality. Everyone who interacts with customers should be well-versed in how to round out accounts, retain policies, and convert new opportunities.
If you’re only giving customers what they’re asking for, you’re missing a chance to build loyal, long-term relationships. The more policies they have with the company, the more likely they are to stick around. If they don’t feel particularly invested in the company — or valued by it — customers will be more willing to take their business elsewhere.
Insurance agencies should take a page from the restaurant industry’s book, where servers and employees are taught to upsell and constantly anticipate customers’ needs. Go to any Subway branch, and the person preparing your sandwich will invite you to turn it into a combo meal. There’s a big disconnect when Subway employees recognize the value of rounding out your business on a $7 meal and your agency CSR can’t explain the benefits of bundling a $10,000 life insurance policy with a disability insurance policy.