How Do Insurance Agents Sell Value Over Price?

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What do computers, monkeys, and my 6 year old niece all have in common?

They can all sell insurance on price alone.

A professional insurance salesperson must be able to connect with prospects and help them understand and internalize the value of the insurance you’re selling.

If you only sell insurance on price, you will eventually be replaced because:

  1. There will always be another company with lower rates.
  2. When people buy from you just to save money, they’ll leave just as fast.
  3. A call center employee can quote more people faster and cheaper than you.
  4. A website can give millions of quotes per second even faster and cheaper.

I’m not an idiot. I know that price is the primary driver of insurance sales. But I also know that selling on price alone will be the downfall of you, your agency, and the entire agency sale model.

Here’s 14 tips you can implement today to sell insurance on value.  Not one of these tips takes more than a little conscious effort.

1) Talk About Claims

When shoppers come to you for a quote they’re only focused on one thing – the price.

It’s your job to make them recognize and internalize the fact that they’re making a decision about more than just how large of a check they’re going to write every month.

Explain the claims process and how your agency helps guide customers through it as smoothly as possible. Use a specific example of how your process helped a previous client have a better experience.

Find every way possible to talk about claims – it’s the best way to get people thinking outside the price box.

2) Ask Why They Bought That

When you find out what kind of car, home, motorcycle, etc. the prospect owns ask them: “What made you choose that one?”

It’s very rare that someone responds with, “It was the cheapest.” Instead, they’ll say, “It had the best crash test ratings” or “It’s is in a really great neighborhood with amazing schools” or “After all these years of working hard, I deserve a few nice things”.

An expensive insurance policy is certainly not as cool as a brand-new Harley but getting prospects to answer this question aloud will remind them that they don’t make every purchasing decision on price alone and you will activate the part of their brain that makes more value-oriented decisions.

3) Ask about the worst accident they’ve seen

What’s the worst car accident you’ve ever witnessed? Seriously… stop reading this article right now and think about it in your head…

Got it? Have you re-lived it in your mind’s eye?

Now tell me you don’t care about anything but saving 15% off your car insurance.

Of course this example is geared toward auto insurance, but you could adjust the concept for property, life, disability and just about any other type of insurance.

4) Ask About Communication Preferences

During your sales conversation, ask your prospect how they like to communicate with companies they do business with. Do they prefer to use the phone, send emails, meet face-to-face, online accounts, text messages?

Once you understand how they like to communicate, it’ll be a lot easier to frame the benefits of your agency around that. Make sure your prospect knows that you’ll be there to communicate with them in the way that fits their life.

Don’t brag about your iPhone app if the prospect doesn’t have a smartphone and don’t oversell the convenience of an agency website with online customer service if your client prefers to speak to a human on the phone. In either case they’ll perceive that they’re paying extra for benefits they don’t value.

5) Educate Your Prospects

No matter what your prospects tell you, most of them don’t understand how insurance works. If you can explain it to them in a way that makes sense without being condescending you’re already providing an incredible amount of value!

When clients see how well you understand insurance they’ll  feel more comfortable about the decisions you’re guiding them to make and they’ll feel more confident you’ll be a positive resource in the event of a claim.

Experts don’t just spit out a bunch of terminology. The mark of a real expert is the ability to explain a subject to anyone regardless of age, background, or education. Don’t lecture; ask questions and engage.

6) Explain The Discounts

When you identify discounts your prospect qualifies for, take time to explain how much money each discount saves, why they qualify, and why the carriers offer that discount.

People love discounts, and when they see how well you understand discounts they’ll trust that you’re getting them all the discounts they’re entitled to and will see the value in buying through an agent like you.

Explain to prospects that you regularly check their policy to make sure they’re getting every discount they deserve.

7) Talk About Your Experience

If you’ve been in insurance for a while, find ways to get this point across to every prospect. One way to do this is by identifying something that your prospect is very experienced in to make a comparison.

If you’re brand-new, that’s okay too. You can reference the combined experience of all your coworkers. “In our agency, we have over 30 years combined experience in insurance.”

If you’re inexperienced and so is everyone else, well… I guess you can just skip this one.

8) Explain That Having an Agent Doesn’t Raise The Price

Okay, so YOU know it’s not more expensive to have an agent but everyone else doesn’t.

In fact a lot of people assume buying through an agent is more expensive. (Of course, it doesn’t help that some rotten insurance companies have developed marketing plans around this lie)

Explain to prospects that agents are field underwriters who allow carriers to provide more accurate rates for every risk. There’s a lot more room for fraud when people get insurance through a website and that makes the honest people pay more.

A good agent who understands rating criteria and discounts can be a real asset when it comes to getting the cheapest price. Make sure your prospects know this.

9) Explain Your Licenses and Certifications

Most people have no idea how hard it is just to get licensed to sell insurance. They also have no idea how many hours of continuing education you’re required to keep up with and some of the advanced designations have taken you years to achieve!

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Just find a way to work it into the conversation naturally.

10) Ask About Their Last Claim Experience

It’s probably already part of your quoting process to find out about the last insurance claim. Ask a follow-up question like, “How did your claim experience go?”

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and stumble into someone who had a bad experience and your claims handling processes might offer clear advantages.  But even if they had a wonderful experience, forcing your prospect to mentally “re-live” the claim experience will pull them further from the “only price matters” mindset.

11) Ask About the Potential Cost of Not Buying

Compare how much money someone could save by not buying your insurance policy with the potential cost of not buying it.

“If you don’t buy this life insurance policy you’ll save $25 a month… But what’s the potential cost of being diagnosed with cancer after making that decision?

“If you don’t purchase higher coverage limits you’ll save $10 a month… But what’s the potential cost of becoming disabled in a major accident after making that decision?

When you pose questions like this, make sure you let the prospect think through and answer themselves before stepping in. It’s important for them to internalize the point of the question.

12) Ask Questions and Listen

It’s hard to sell the value of your products and agency when you don’t know what’s most important to the client.

We’re inclined to believe everyone else thinks just like we do. Most salespeople mistakenly believe the product features and benefits most appealing to them will also appeal to our clients and this can lead to selling the WRONG value.

To find out what product values to focus on ask more questions. Here’s an example: “What’s the second most important thing to you about insurance? I’ll assume price is number one…”

13) Help Clients Earn More Discounts

I’m not talking about identifying new discounts or educating clients about discounts (I mentioned those both earlier). I mean actually helping them get discounts that they don’t currently qualify for.

Will an online defensive driver class save your clients some money? Email them a link to a website where they can earn it online.

Client can’t afford life insurance at the smoker rate? Connect them with a local or online program that can help them quit.

Can a home security system drive down the price of their policy? Refer them to a local security company.

BONUS TIP: try to get your clients a discount with the other service to deepen your value even more.

14) Don’t Apologize For Your Price

I get it. I know everyone wants to save money on insurance – me too. I also know most of your sales happen because of saving people money. But guess what:

Sometimes nice things cost more.

Does the Mercedes salesperson apologize because you can’t get an S-Class for the same price as an Kia Forte? Of course not, he believes it’s a better car and it’s worth the extra price.

If you don’t believe your product is better than everyone else’s and worth the price either convince yourself otherwise or don’t expect long-term success.

I’m confident that local insurance agents will survive against threats like online direct writers and call centers but it will not happen unless you can sell value.

Start selling more VALUE today, or we’ll all face the consequences tomorrow!

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