Insurance producers are motivated to generate new business not only from the aspect of securing an income but typically will have a sales goal for the agency they work for. The pressure to meet this goal can often cause producers to pursue a lot of leads without generating profitable results. This type of meaningless activity can create more work (and frustration) for everyone involved and cost agencies time, energy, and money.
The path to finding a working sales strategy is certainly not a straight one, but these tips will help producers refine their sales process.
1. Understand the Rules of Engagement
When working with a new client, it is essential to understand how they want to work. Neither party wants to get to the end of the process and find out that expectations on both sides didn’t match up. To avoid this type of frustration, producers need to ask questions which provide an opportunity for the insured to clearly explain what the agent needs to be able to provide to earn their business.
Whether it’s a premium threshold, the timeframe in which they expect quotes or service level requirements, agents will want to get these details upfront. This information allows the agent to decide if they can meet those expectations or identify if there is a mismatch before investing time and energy into the process.
2. Be upfront with underwriters
Upgrades in carrier technology have provided much better capabilities for agencies to handle quoting from the comfort of their own offices. However, there is still a significant amount of business that needs to be submitted to the underwriter to review and quote. To maintain a competitive advantage, agents often take the liberty of sending a submission to every carrier regardless of whether the specific carrier has an opportunity of securing the business. This practice can create a substantial amount of wasted time for an underwriter and eventually lead to a poor working relationship between the agent and the carrier.
To prevent these issues, agents need to be transparent and communicate their intentions. Whether a submission is sent only to block a market or the agent has information regarding specific coverage or premium the carrier must deliver to be a viable option, providing clarity and transparency from the beginning makes the process easier for all parties involved and will help maintain productive relationships between agency and carrier.
3. Maintain open communication with your Sales Manager
While an agent’s sales goal will probably not change throughout the year, understanding what it will take to get there can feel like a moving target. It can be hard to gauge when there’s too much prospecting and quoting and not enough closed sales. Taking time to clarify with your sales manager what they define as a healthy quote-to-bind ratio is a meaningful conversation. These discussions can also be an excellent opportunity to review achievements, evaluate how to capitalize on strategies that are working well and examine what parts of the process need to change to continue moving towards more success.
4. Accept that you can’t win them all – at least not right away
Even if an agent follows every step of the process to precision, there is never a guarantee that they will successfully close the sale every time. The prospect may have a relationship with the incumbent agent that is difficult to break, there is a more competitive option available, or it is merely going to take more time to build trust and confidence with that prospect.
Whatever the case may be, being able to assess the outcome objectively will allow an agent to learn from the experience and decide how to change their approach in the future.
There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all method when it comes to selling insurance. However, implementing these tips will help agents get on the right path to developing an effective sales process.
To get more thoughts on this topic, check out the full episode of The Independent Agent below!