In the business of insurance, customer service is the main pillar of strength. As a successful insurance agent, creating solid relationships with your customers will earn your commission and help you be in business for a long time.
Top agents succeed by creating sustainable, profitable relationships. Without question, the most valuable revenue resource for a growing insurance business is existing clients. Why?
- Existing clients are more likely to multiline, which means they will stay with you longer.
- Existing clients trust you over an agent that they never heard of.
- Existing clients have evolving needs that you can address.
- Existing clients provide recommendations and referrals.
- Relationships with existing clients are personally rewarding.
Become an Insurance Agent Who Creates Profitable Relationships
Here are five steps to getting connected and staying connected:
#1: Stay in Front of Your Clients Maintaining relationships depends on contact. Relationships that aren’t maintained go cold. Here are some statements that help gauge how warm your client relationships are:
- I contact each client regularly and meet them for a review every 12-18 months.
- My clients know that I care about their circumstances and their needs.
- My clients are certain that I am credible to manage their financial position.
- My clients don’t shop me on price; they see me as their trusted adviser.
- My clients would rate the experience of being my client very highly.
- My customers understand and appreciate my personal or agency brand.
- When my clients hear the word “insurance,” my name immediately comes to mind. The more you agree with these statements, the more prepared you are to grow your business out of your existing book. If you have room to improve, and most of us do, then periodic contact with clients is the best way to make it happen.
#2: Build Trust and Provide Value Buying a financial product or service is a highly emotional transaction. No, it doesn’t involve tears, and the dollars are easy to understand and to compare. But there is a critical emotion in play: trust. Trust is very hard to shop. It’s the emotion that tells a client, “Everything is going to be ok.” Trust the emotion that transforms a commodity sale based on price into an experience sale based on value. It’s the reason that we use referrals from trusted friends to find everything from landscapers to lawyers. A sustainable, profitable relationship starts with trust. Trust is the result of the three Cs: Contact, Care, and Credibility. Contact keeps your name fresh in your clients’ minds. Care tells them that they mean more to you than a quick sale. Credibility shows them that you know what you’re doing with their financial futures. The other half of the equation for a successful transaction is value. A rule in any consultative sale is that the client should never feel like they donated their time. Instead, you (the consultant) should ensure that they walk away informed and empowered, even if there is no sale. Doing so adds credibility, which again strengthens trust. This is how selling works today, especially to the younger generation. Savvy clients have unlimited pricing information at their fingertips, but they’re much less likely to leave a credible, trusted advisor for a few dollars. A story will illustrate the importance of building trust and providing value.
#3: Fulfill Needs Clients today don’t want to be sold to. They often know what they want. They are well-armed with information and will purchase products and services unassisted when they can. When they aren’t sure what to do, they take their needs to their trusted advisor. The only way to fulfill their needs is to understand them. This means seeing the situation from their point of view, and adopting their definition of success. Challenging their assumptions and giving them good advice is important, but ultimately they need to feel that their specific needs have been met.
#4: Deliver “Wow!” It’s one thing to give someone what they paid for. It’s another to make them feel great about it. Top agents add a personal touch to reinforce the connection.
#5: Ask for Recommendations and Referrals This is where you weld the connection. Once a client has recommended someone to you, they’ve confirmed to themselves that your relationship represents trust, credibility, and value to them. At this point, your relationship has become sustainable and profitable. Here are a few important points to keep in mind regarding recommendations:
- One good way to ask for a recommendation is to start with a survey while they are still in the “Wow!” state.
- Recommendations are worth more than referrals. You want your client to make the introduction. Handing over contact information for a friend or family member is nice, but it’s still a cold call. Ask the client to contact the person they’re referring, to mention you, and to encourage them to engage with you. In short, you want to call a warm lead, not a cold one.
- Never, under any circumstances, fail to follow through on a recommendation or referral.
- Follow up with your client to let them know how things went. Compliment the person they introduced, share some good news, and thank them for their friendship.
An insurance agent can spend a fortune every month on leads and digital marketing and get relatively little in return. In fact, the ROI is so hard to measure that many agents don’t even try. Top insurance agents invest their time and effort into turning their book into a growth machine by establishing sustainable, profitable relationships with every client possible. These agents successfully build those relationships on trust, credibility, value, and “Wow!”, and they leverage those relationships to get and keep clients.