Selling Insurance Based On Value, Not Price

When it comes to selling insurance, the number one concern of customers is often something you don’t have much control over: price. Insurance companies set their prices, and you can only do so much to find an affordable plan for a customer. However, a skilled agent can make a sale by refocusing the conversation on value instead of cost. Connecting with customers on a deeper level and helping them understand the value of insurance can lead to more sales.

man and woman sitting across from each other with the man in front of a laptop
Figure out what your customer needs by listening.

Know Your Customers

The first step in selling insurance is to know your buyers. Some care only about price, but many want to find the right coverage, which is more valuable to them. These customers do not necessarily want the lowest-priced policy, they want the policy with the biggest bang for their buck. They may be willing to pay a little more for a policy that meets their exact needs. Let them tell you what they are looking for, and then help them identify the difference in plans, the risks, and coverage gaps. This will help both of you to figure out how to give them the most value for money.

Explain The Claims Process

If a potential customer comes to you with concerns about price, remind them of the value of the plan and how it will benefit them. In order to help them understand what they are getting for their money, explain the claims process. If they see concrete examples of how much they will pay out-of-pocket versus how much the insurance company will pay, then they can make a more informed decision. They may see the value in choosing a more comprehensive plan when they see the hefty bills that they could be facing with a basic plan.

Educate Your Prospects

Some potential clients may also come to you with a limited understanding of how insurance actually works. It is your job to find ways to explain the ins and outs of different policies in ways that are easy for them to understand. After all, that’s why they’re coming to you, the professional: they are looking to you for communication and information. Take the time to make them feel comfortable about their policy, as well as to explain any terminology and answer any questions they might have.

two sets of hand, both with a pen in their hands pointing at paperwork.

One of the most important things you can educate your potential customers on is the risk and possible costs of not having insurance. Customers will have a better understanding of the value of insurance when they are met with the reality of what it can cost not to have it. Compare how much money they would save when having a policy versus how much they can potentially lose when they do not have one, or one that doesn’t offer them enough coverage. For example, explain to a customer that while they might save $30 a month by not purchasing a more comprehensive policy, they would stand to lose way more if they were in an accident or were facing a serious illness with either no insurance, or a plan that covers only the basics.

Compare Insurance Policies

As we have pointed out, some customers’ first instinct will be to choose an insurance plan that offers the bare minimum or basic essential benefits, simply because it’s the cheapest. But it is important to help them see that the cheapest plan is not always the best option for some people, especially those with families or health conditions. Offer to compare different policies and explain to them which plan is best for their needs, but also make sure it fits their budget. Again, know your customer. If the plans you come up with are too expensive for them, they will be turned off and avoid doing business with you. It’s all about offering the best value for their money.

What insurance agents need to know during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s going to be the buzz word of the century. COVID-19, The Coronavirus, The pandemic. Right now, it has the world’s economy in shambles and people are fearing for loved ones’ well-being. It will go down as the great interruption of the 21st century.

With schools shut down and businesses operating remotely, any sense of normalcy is all but forgotten. Along with personal lives, this same impact is being felt in industries across the country. The insurance industry is no exception to this, and what insurance agents need to know during the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be laid out.

As a lead company that runs marketing campaigns nationwide, we have experienced the digital impact of this virus first hand. We have generated leads digitally for over 10 years in numerous verticals including Medicare supplement, individual health, commercial, and group health. We are seeing wild disruptions in how consumers typically interact with insurance agents in every one of these verticals.

However, we are discovering trends that could help agents maximize sales during this turbulent time. Your adaptation to these discoveries and use of available tools will make the difference.

The impact in numbers

The signs are all around us. At the time of writing this, there has been a 36% drop in the US stock market in a span of 5 weeks. Video streaming rates are so high that some companies are decreasing quality by 25% to save bandwidth. And in some cities, maximum capacity of patients and exhausted resources have become a reality for healthcare workers.

Insurance agent adapting working from home

These extreme statistics are a reality for the entire country. Granted, most are not as severe as those surrounding the medical industry. However, the impact is still considerable.

In the insurance industry, we know that variability in traffic is inevitable. Even when there isn’t a pandemic, our average variability is 3% from day-to-day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has settled in the United States, we at Benepath have seen as much as a 33% variability in impressions and traffic. An 11x difference. Through discussions with the competitors in the insurance space whom we have a relationship with, we discovered this variability has been universal.

What’s startling is we do this professionally, we specialize in it, can you imagine what the impact is for agents who try to do this on their own?

What does this mean for agents?

Here are the top 3 topics of conversations our sales team and customer service staff is having with clients:

  • Closed offices
  • Need for supplemental traffic
  • Market uncertainty

We’ve seen call centers close their doors temporarily and large agencies having to adapt their standard procedures. While a frightening reality for some workers, this is an opportunity for agents around the nation capable of working from home.

With call centers closed and large agencies’ productivity slowing, fulfillment opportunities now move in the direction of independent agents and smaller agencies to field the demand for insurance. In short; while your personal life may be experiencing disruptions, your sales trajectory doesn’t have to.

However, for agents who typically operate out of an office serving clients face-to-face or visiting their clients’ homes, adjustments have to be made. The question is how do you get “in front” of these potential clients. Social media and advertising are great ways to do this normally, but like previously stated, nontraditional consumer behavior creates a unique set of challenges in the current sales environment.

Board that read "Things To Do: 1) Own Today 2) *left empty* 3) *left empty*

 

So what can you do?

It’s time to think from a perspective of how your clients are spending their time. Because consumers are forced to minimize typical life distractions, consumerism is in a cycle unique cycle compared to standard trends.

To start, adopt new technologies. With the common availability of video chat systems like Zoom, BlueJeans, Skype, FaceTime and so many more, the option of getting “in front” of your client doesn’t have to stop because you can’t be there in person. You can even utilize social media messengers, texting, and personalized video presentations to get your message in your customers hands.

Now may also be the time to work with a digitally focused lead company like ourselves. Companies who have been adapting to this unique set of challenges from the beginning have a leg up compared to most smaller marketing teams or general marketing agencies. At Benepath, we understand where insurance consumers are going to get their insurance coverage needs fulfilled. Because of this, we have started to field a surge in consumers turning to online means to do so.

Another option is to express your availability to your network Insurance agent video chatting with client on computerof clients and offer incentives for referrals. Your clients are on the phone and engaging through social media with their family, friends, and business acquaintances more often during this period. If you can secure head space in those clients, the likelihood of a referral if the topic of insurance comes up increases.

Lastly, make yourself available. Consumers will have new questions, new concerns, and uncertainties about their coverage. The more effectively you defuse their anxieties, the more likely you are to develop a relationship with them that will outlast this pandemic. That directly lends itself to sales down the road.

Resources to help you

We pride ourselves in our motto; Together we succeed. We stand behind this now more than ever. As a community, an industry, country, and part of our interdependent world, we need to support one another. To play our part, we compiled these tools and articles to assist you in these trying times.

  • Benepath agent guide download sample imageAgent Lead Calculator – This tool allows an agent to quickly calculate how many new clients they need in order to achieve their goals (or needs in these circumstances).
  • Agent Guide – This guide lays out disposition data that agents we partner with have reported back to us. Based on best practices and compiled data, we present our findings to help you succeed with your insurance leads.
  • Best Places to Find Online Classes – We compiled a non-bias list of online sources to find classes in skills you want to learn or improve. This may be the perfect tool to help you adapt to the current conditions.
  • Harnessing the Power of Referrals – As discussed above, we believe that the power of referrals could benefit you greatly during this time. In this blog post, we discuss best practices for gaining referrals through your network.
  • Maximize Productivity – Have you heard of Covey’s 4 Quadrant Theory? It’s a simple process to maximize the productivity of your time. Successful professionals across all industries use it to organize their personal and professional lives. It’s time to apply it to yours.
  • Outbound Sales Cadence Insights – Every agent has developed cadences that work for them, but could they work better is the question you should be asking. We recently developed this guide to help audit your sales cadence and provide you with tips to implement better ones.

We are here to help

This compilation is just a sample of the beneficial tools and documents we create for insurance agents.

We are confident that you can make it through this. If you are in need of a partner to help drive profitability or just want to talk about the benefits we can provide to your business, contact us at the number above or fill out the form on the side bar. Together we can help you achieve your goals.

Together we succeed.

PSA: Listen to the CDC and WHO, and for the safety of the nurses, doctors, elderly, and immunocompromised. Lets work together on eradicating this disease.

 

Commercial Insurance Rates are Rising. Here’s Why

No one wants to pay more for insurance, but it is our unfortunate reality. Commercial insurance rates are rising, meaning higher premiums across the board for many businesses. Coverage affected ranges from Business Owner’s Policy to Worker’s Compensation. It is projected that prices will continue to rise throughout the rest of 2019. From underwriting to pricing, these changes come from two major sources: cars and catastrophes.

Vehicles

Auto insurance aside, vehicles have become a major factor in the rise of our commercial insurance rates. You may think “why does this matter to me?” It matters because vehicles are our main source of transportation, influencing our economic structure deeply. Everything you have as a business owner is brought to you by some type of vehicle. With more production and vehicles on the road come more opportunities for accidents to occur. This involves more than just passenger cars.

With our economic boost, we see an increase in areas like construction. Motorized vehicles operate in these zones, causing more concern for insurance companies. More work means more workers are needed to operate these vehicles. It only leads to an upward climb in insurance rates.

There is no easy solution for the car aspect contributing to this climb. We can only wait for legislation to step in.

Catastrophes

We’ve recently experienced a lot of natural disasters. In November 2018, California was ravaged by wildfires. While it is accustomed to fires, these were the worst in years, affecting areas as far north as San Francisco, and areas as richly populated as Malibu. The Woolsey Fire destroyed over 1600 structures (including most of Paradise, CA) and caused the death of three individuals.

Besides fires, hurricanes are a force to be reckoned with annually. In 2017, Texas’ southeastern area, including Houston’s almost 6 million people, were decimated by Harvey. This storm solely caused $125 billion worth of damage. Not to mention the opioid epidemic, which is heavily affecting our medical industry with 60,000 people dying from it in 2016. All of these things only scratch the surface of the disasters our country is experiencing.

This is causing rates to climb between 1-5% for insurance deductibles depending on how close you are to at-risk areas. As people scramble to make sure they are covered more for potential disasters, insurance companies raise their rates. At the same time, claim payouts are in the billions of dollars, forcing the capital in insurance companies to deteriorate. It’s simple supply and demand affecting the market.

While it may not provide much comfort, the reality is that an increase in productivity added to the disaster influx is causing inflation for commercial insurance prices. While it’s mostly liability markets that are affected, the results can be felt by everyone.

How Did Your Marketing Piece Look?

Yes, looks matter when it comes to marketing items such as letters, flyers, mailers and so forth. Was your campaign a memorable one with classy presentation, solid facts, and the personal touch? Or did you send out a piece that looked that all the other items already out there? Or was the piece kind of sketchy because you really did not know what you wanted to do and figured it looked “good enough?”

Campaigns are not just about you, your product, what you are offering or even your pricing, but they are still a part and parcel of an overall successful insurance marketing campaign. A good, solid marketing campaign is made up of bits and pieces that all fit together and make one cohesive visual and pitch. And definitely, “you” are part of the campaign – the voice behind it.

Put another way; market professionally, thoughtfully and consistently, as if you were trying to sell something to yourself. Be critical. Pay attention to your messages, your presentation, and your profile. With an eye to detail, producing a good, memorable marketing campaign is a whole lot easier than trying to cobble one together and hoping it works.

Benepath Agent Success Series Webinar – Calling Like a Professional

How do your phone communication skills size up according to your clients? Closing sales for insurance agents on the phone is hard enough, but if your phone call delivery is lacking in even one aspect, your efforts could be . We at Benepath want to help ensure your phone calls are as effective as possible, for this reason we are thrilled to announce our first Agent Success Series Webinar.

In this 30 minute webinar hosted by Benepath President, Clelland Green, and Revity Sales Consulting Partner, Morgan Smith, we will coach you in effectively calling your consumer leads to make the most of every second on the phone with them. Clelland and Morgan get right to the point, coaching you topics including:

  • The importance of tone throughout your call
  • Effective messaging to guide a consumer into a sale
  • Proper contact etiquette

We also give you the ability to ask your specific questions to the professionals that will be answered at the end of the webinar!

Sign up here.

The True Value of an Insurance Lead

As and agent, your bottom line is one of the most important performance indicators to your business, but are you considering all the factors?

In the lead business, we often hear a lot about agents return on investment (ROI) or their cost per acquisition (CPA). Though our communications, we discovered something that most agents don’t realize when it comes to calculating ROI; the need to measure renewals.

As part of ROI, initial commission is often not the only commission is you will receive from that lead. Granted, not every consumer will resign come the following year, but a considerable number will. The question is, how can you maximize the value of a lead on a more consistent basis?

Our recent survey has highlighted a potential answer to this question: Selling multiple products. 80.8% of agents sell multiple products as part of their business, and most of those agents are 8+ years in the business! By selling multiple products, you offer your clients the possibility to be a one stop shop for their insurance needs.

By doing this as part of your business, every lead’s value increases significantly as they go from initially needing health insurance to needing life insurance down the road, or needing medicare insurance but wants to add final expense a few years later.

Longevity and renewals are all in the name of the game when it comes to selling insurance, and the leads are not just worth their initial value, they hold value for years. Think about that next time you are calculating the value of a lead.

Is Google Ads’ ROI Worth the Cost per Acquisition?

In internet marketing there is a variety of sources that help contribute to a company’s goals in marketing efforts. One of the most popular internet marketing platforms that is well utilized is a little platform called Google Ads, ever heard of it?

Google Ads is a hot topic in internet marketing and has been for a decade now. However, there has been a recent discovery that is making marketers thing twice of the platform in their marketing strategy.

Marketers who have used Google Ads year over year, a trend of increasing average bid price per keyword has become a more prevalent issue every year. As seen here using data collected by Hochman Associates, the average Price per Click (PPC) across all verticals for keywords has increased by roughly 73% since 2010, and 463% since 2005.

In addition, the average Cost per Conversion has steadily increased in correlation with the increase in average PPC. While each advertiser may have a different definition of what constitutes a conversion, these statistics show on average how the advertisers conversion cost has increased year over year.

Like investments, marketing sources are best to be diversified in order to reduce reliance and the impact that a potential problem could have on a marketing program. However, being that Google Ads was, at one point, a cheap source that could provide incredible volume, marketers are now looking elsewhere to supplement their volume needs. This increases cost per acquisition across the board.

Summer Seasonality of Insurance Consumers

Seasonality affects every industry slightly different. Just like landscaping companies see more volume in warm months vs cold and tax consultants see more volume from December through April, the Insurance industry has a decline in interest from end of November through June.

As seen above, search queries in Google that refer to Health Insurance gradually decline through the end of May. However, in the year over year comparison we can see that searches begin to rise from June and continue to increase through the end of fall. The only inconsistency looks to be around the Labor Day weekend, but volume of searches increase steadily throughout the entire time period regardless.

As seen above in Medicare Insurance queries though Google, we see the same type of pattern as we saw with Health Insurance. Once May is over, search queries begin to rise as consumers start to think about their insurance needs for the following year.

This data shows that there is a significant difference in the volume of consumer leads available to agents from end of February through June, when the insurance industry as a whole sees a lull in activity. However, as an agent, you can profit off of this trend.

Think about it. Most agents take their vacations in the summer when the weather is nice. This leaves less competition for an increasing volume of consumers that you can capitalize on. Take your vacation in January-April, summer is the time to sell!

How To Make A Good First Impression In Phone Sales

Seven seconds is the average length it takes to make a first impression. If you make a good first impression, the customer is more likely to take you seriously. Your attitude and presentation will determine if a customer will want to buy your product or not. Your voice and approach is more important than ever because your client cannot see you. You only get one chance to make a good first impression!

In this article, you will find advice from some successful sales experts on how to succeed in sales based on your first impression with customers.

“When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. Clearly, it’s not what you say – it’s the way that you say it,” states Lydia Ramsey, who was featured in the New York Times for her work as a business etiquette expert.

Be Prepared

Colleen Francis, a sales expert and founder of engage selling solutions states “I think the reason so many sales people use such disastrous opening statements is that we often spend very little time planning and preparing what we’re going to say. Most sales experts say that we have between 4 to 30 seconds to create interest from the time the customer picks up the phone, yet many of my clients confess that they don’t even begin to think about their opening line until they’re actually dialing the phone.”

Record your calls, and ask a manager to critique you. Then listen to the record and focus on the conversation. Make sure it sounds natural and that you are listening to your client more than talking.

Where to Start

It is important to make sure the customer feels appreciated. Express a form of thank you, such as “Thank you for taking your time to listen.” During the conversation, use the client’s name within the first sentence. This not only shows that you value the customer, but that you are focused on them.

No one wants to talk to someone with low energy, or a downer talking about bad weather, traffic or negative things. Always remain positive and think of weekend plans or good weather.

Personality

James Blount is a well-known business speaker and best-selling author on business success. He states thatFirst impressions are about likability and likability is the gateway to building emotional connections with your prospect. Emotions drive sales. If your prospect likes you they will be open to answering your questions, engaging in a conversation about their needs and situation, and ultimately buying from you.”

There are many things in a business that you cannot control, including the people you interact with. But, what you can control is your personality and attitude, which defines the way you approach people. Having a positive attitude is the first key. People do not want to talk to others who are not personable or likeable, especially a sales person.

  • Smile- Smiling shows through, whether in person or on the phone. It radiates and is inviting. 
  • Be Polite- People do not want to speak to rude people. Always be polite, people take notice of manners. 
  • Enthusiasm- Show your passion for your business and product over the phone with enthusiasm. Blount said that “Enthusiasm is transferable and infectious. One note, though: there are few things more off-putting than insincere enthusiasm; so be careful not to get carried away.” 
  • Confidence- When you are confident, it attracts people to you. To exude your confidence onto others of your product knowledge, you must invest in yourself.

After you’ve created a good impression, and captured the attention of your client, then it is time to explore for an opportunity of business. You do this by getting to know your contact by asking open-ended questions. Create a couple of questions for answers that will help you determine if there is a possibility of business. Find out the prospect’s issues and use them to your advantage for a sale.

Making a good first impression is the most important part of a conversation in sales. You need to show that your focus is completely on the prospect and that you truly care about their needs. No one wants to feel like they are just another number in line; they want to feel important and cared about.

Continuous Income Selling Medicare Supplement

 

Medicare Supplement is a great way to earn continuous income without putting in the extra work. The most important thing to consider when selling Medicare Supplement is that you get paid the same commission for 7 years! With that said, the leads that you purchase and the sales that you make are extremely valuable long term.

The example below represents the residual income you could make over the years with the assumption you’re making $30,000 in new commissions each year:

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