If selling insurance were like selling hamburgers, we just might sell a lot more insurance. Think about it. We wouldn't spend time trying to sell a policy to someone who wasn't interested. We would focus our marketing and prospecting efforts on finding people who are in the market for what we are selling and who are open to buying from us. The Wall Street Journal reports that 1 in 3 people never shop their insurance, so we would just work on locating the two that do.
We'd sell a relatively simple menu of policies and risk management services and make sure our prospects could access a brief explanation of each menu item. Everyone knows that insurance is complicated. But it becomes simpler for the consumer when we are niche specialists...when we know the industry, business model and primary concerns so well that the insurance placement is as satisfying as placing the final piece in a difficult puzzle.
Our service would be predictable...predictably excellent! People who are successful at selling a lot of hamburgers have a system. They develop their "perfect burger" recipe and then build a process to replicate it every time. So in our case, we'd need to define the insurance experience we are committed to bringing, build work flows to replicate it, and then use technology to automate the work flows in order to scale book and agency growth.
We'd have a secret sauce that they could only receive if they bought their policies through us.
Renewals would never be a "yes or no" event but rather a "continuation" for a preferred customer. Most of us have a favorite food or beverage place. We love it when we walk through the door and the counter person asks if we want our "usual." It saves time. We know we'll be happy with the order. And it may be the one stop in the day that makes us feel "special and important" (how many people can say that about their insurance agency?) The people at our favorite place know that when we trust them and feel part of their "in-crowd," it's less likely we'll be checking out the competition any time soon. In insurance, we would set expectations with our clients regarding the "continuation" of their policies (so renewals seem effortless and automatic) and to make sure they are "having it their way."
Of course, selling insurance is very different from selling hamburgers. We provide highly technical professional products and service. We educate, negotiate, problem-solve, interpret, expedite, explain, facilitate and advocate. We satisfy long term objectives, not just immediate needs. Or do we? Actually we satisfy long term objectives that tend to show up as immediate needs on any given day, often without advance notice. So just like someone who walks in a door to buy a hamburger, we had better be prepared to give them a tremendously satisfying experience.
Do you have an insurance challenge? An obstacle that is limiting your production and/or profit potential. It's likely you are not alone, and the solution may be closer than you think.
Lynne Wallace is the CEO and president of VANTREO Insurance Brokerage and co-founder of NDOI, the National Directory of Insurance.