Why Trust is Hard to Come By

Trust is the way to sell yourself. People won’t buy from you if they don’t trust that your services are good, or that your product will improve their lives. That being said, trust is relatively easy to build as long as you follow a solid formula.

For insurance agents, this formula is about the same as other sales-focused jobs, but it must come off naturally. It takes a little more work on your end to master this but once done, you’ll see a huge shift in your interactions with people. They’ll buy easier, spread positive reviews, and increase your sales in the long run.

man on phone building trust with customer
It’s all about how you talk to people. Be professional, knowledgeable, and courteous.

Do Reputable Work

The baseline of any trust building is to show that you provide consistent value with your work. This is why bigger sites rely so much on positive reviews of their customers; it demonstrates hard evidence that people like what they do.

If you don’t have a profile that allows for reviews, then just word-of-mouth will do. Building strong trust with your customers comes from honest hard work. Also, to support this concept, make sure you’re giving yourself deliverable goals, i.e. if you say you’ll have someone signed up with a new policy within a week, you must do everything you can to accomplish this. If it’s not reasonable, don’t promise it.

Be Personable

They say you’re underdressed without a smile. Being a friendly, courteous person will get you far with any customer interactions. Of course, don’t pile on the cheese or be overly complimentary. People are more aware now of those that seem overly friendly as it comes off as manipulative. Steer clear of anything that makes you seem fishy.

This means genuine compliments only. If you like someone’s car or their new scarf, then by all means, openly share your admiration. It can spark a conversation as well as the possibility of connecting with shared stories. Did you both buy your car at the same dealership?

These personal connections get you far in building trust. It also works on social media. If you have a welcoming profile with visible content, people can examine your page and make decisions based on them. This means being meticulous with the content you share or allow posted. 

The last note on personability is consistency. Like your work, your personal profile needs to be on par with who you are in real life. Red flags will be set off if someone expects a particular detail they found online, and then you’re completely different in real life. 

Emphasize Security

Every day, tons of people are subjected to scams. Whether they fall for them or not, it can leave people on edge in who they deal with.

people having a meeting about trust
People want to trust you because they need to purchase coverage. Go into each meeting with a positive mindset.

Simple actions like mentioning you keep information confidential or placing a security certificate in your profile (or a physical one on your desk) can put people’s minds at ease. This is especially needed in an information trading industry like insurance.

People release detailed personal info when they purchase insurance. They need to be reminded, subtly, at every turn that they can trust you with their address, phone number, and email addresses.

One last note before we leave you is availability. None of these trust-building tactics will work if you’re not available to implement them. This means taking the time to answer phone calls, emails, or even text messages if you see fit. 

A trusting customer is a loyal one. At the first sign of deception, a person will view everything you say or offer as negative like you’re trying to take advantage of them. And once lost, trust is the hardest to win back. Start off on the right foot with these tips, and you’ll build a solid, reliable reputation that places you on a higher tier.

 

Understanding a Customer’s Needs

The marketing world runs on its customers. After all, without the customers, there’d be no income. For insurance agents selling policies, you are not exempt from the overall push to satisfy your customer’s needs. Doing so in a smart way will net you more than just a sale, it’ll get you positive reviews which increases the chance of future sales.

Talking about it is easier than doing it. Any sales rep will tell you it’s hard to teach good salesmanship. However, we’ve found a few solid tips that, if practiced, will sharpen your skills. They all fall under acknowledging what a customer wants and needs.

customer wearing an earpiece to search for insurance
Anyone you work with deserves to know that you care. That’s the first step towards understanding.

Research What People Are Looking For

It helps to start on the right foot, and that comes from insight using research tools. There are search engines available online that comb through the questions people ask about your industry. Taking the time to see what people are looking for can give you a leg-up when it comes to the first conversation.

Answering those questions before a customer even asks can surprise and delight them. It puts you in a knowledgeable position and builds trust that they can rely on you for solid information. People want to know that they’re placing their time and money in the right hands.

This same concept can be applied to data collection in general. Once you start a database(Customer Relationships Management System or CRM), you can stock up on important info that your client base is searching for. This way, you can keep tabs on how questions evolve in your industry, plus you can see which patterns come out of it. Are people talking more about purchasing a policy during January? Does this correlate with anything else like perhaps sales in your area, or real estate pushes?

See From Their Perspective

The easiest way to gain perspective is to stand in someone else’s shoes. Think about what you would want if you were in their position.

This can be done by building a customer model. You can use the CRM we talked about earlier (which would be a great use of the tool) or simply grab a notepad and jot down ideas. These are some questions to get you started:

  • Why is this person contacting me?
  • What are they trying to protect? (What’s actually important to them?)
  • How would I want to be treated?
  • What would I expect in this situation?

After answering these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what you should do when interacting with a customer. The best rule is this: act with integrity and transparency. The majority of people will react positively to this type of interaction.

Ask for Reviews

Do you already have an established customer base? Are they satisfied? Great, then you have an amazing source to get information from to improve your communication. Ask these happy customers what you did that satisfied them, and what you could do to improve for the future.

customer talking on the phone
People need insurance to protect what they care about. It’s not about selling insurance; it’s about selling protection.

This can come in the form of surveys, polls, or simple conversation. Pay attention to the areas that people focus on, for that is where you’ll find the most insight. If the majority of your customers talk about your office and how nice it was, then that can be telling of a few things. 

Perhaps people in your area prefer a calm environment. It puts them at ease. So, using this knowledge, a welcoming office is an excellent asset to invest in.

When you start down this path, be prepared to make changes (even if they’re uncomfortable at first) to your conversation style or even your surroundings. When your customers see you taking the time to make them feel welcome, and you’re attentive to their needs, it sparks a realization for them. That you want to help them, and this is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. 

 

How Many Times Do You Thank Your Clients?

Gratitude is an important factor of customer service. Generally, there is a formula for expressing gratitude. According to the formula, agents need to offer gratitude at least three times – once in writing, once in person and once over the phone. It is pretty easy to do and demonstrates you appreciate your clients’ business.

Offering gratitude can be more than a simple thank you. When dealing with clients gratitude can be expressed though thoughtful feed back and problem resolution. For example, if a client has raised an issue relating to your agency, then how you inquire and respond to the problem is key. Doing so will demonstrate that you have your client’s well-being in mind and that they are not just another file number. This is another example of great service.

In the insurance business, the more your excellent service and knowledge stands out, the more sales you make. Your reputation is your best asset.

Insurance agents need personal development too

Personal development is something that all insurance agents need to pursue during their careers. You would not want to go to a doctor who stopped learning new things when they got out of college. So why would you want to deal with an insurance agent who is not up-to-date on the latest policies, riders, exclusions, exceptions and so forth.

It is one thing to have a great marketing strategy and great customer service. But, no matter how well you and your agency are doing, there can always be improvement. Personal development and self-improvement are the key components to a growing insurance agency.

When selling your product, you should be aware that you are the driving factor in the success of that sale. Therefore, it is worth your time to invest in self-improvement. Take advantage of other agents at your agency and ask them for advice on how to get even better. Search online for self-help and development books, attend seminars and talks and join groups, organizations and alliances.

If and when you take the steps to improve and develop your sales skills, your interpersonal skills and communication skills you will find that converting leads into loyal customers is easier. Remember that while the product you are selling is important, the customer service you provide is imperative to success.

Keep moving toward your goals, executing your plans, creating roadmaps to success. Take what you learn and apply it when working with leads and when following up with established customers.

Customer service is the key to success of any agency

Do not overlook the outstanding value of customer service that goes above and beyond the call of the job. There are agents who sell policies and then never stay in touch with clients to ensure they keep returning each year. Then there are agents who deal with claims like they are a personal affront to them. Also, there are agents and brokers who do not have much patience with an undecided potential buyer. Do not be one of those types of agents; otherwise you stand to lose business.

In the fast paced world we live in today, the human touch, the one-on-one conversations and the diligent customer service is missing. Agents risk relying too much on technology for obtaining and interacting with potential and current customers. Gone is the personal element. This is where you aim to shine. Personal, one-on-one service with attention to detail with a drive and desire to go above and beyond what is necessary matters for many potential leads.

Never underestimate the power of human thoughtfulness and kindness. That applies to selling insurance as well. Understand your buying pool, know what is important to your customers, learn how to reach them effectively, find out their concerns and needs when it comes to insurance. That is going above and beyond and develops a bond that can last many years. It is all about the people you help find the policy that suits their wants and needs.

Long follow-up time leads to customer dissatisfaction and sale decreases

Marketing today is as much about keeping existing customers as it is about attracting new ones. If customers have a good experience using your product or service, they are more likely to spread the word.

When those new leads call you, you need to be readily available. While it is true that some days are frantically busy, the truth is that leads can not wait. Timely contact with a person asking for insurance information is key in finalizing sales.

In fact, research has found that customers view the appropriate phone call wait time to be three minutes. When it comes to email, most customers expect a response within one business day. However, in the current technology boom, customers are expecting email response time to be even shorter.

You need to keep track of all the communication outlets and be ready to answer questions, offer solutions and address any problems. Keeping real time leads waiting is not a good idea, because if you wait long enough you may lose the advantage of calling when potential insurance buyers are actively asking for information.

Always work leads first to achieve long-term success in the form of happy and loyal customers.

Managing old and new leads is the way to a successful agency

Many insurance agents and brokers do not always realize that concentrating on getting more new leads means existing customers can stand to fall to the wayside. While generating new leads is necessary for business growth, it is important to remember that existing leads can not be undermined.

As much as insurance selling is about growing and expansion, it is also about maintaining the current client base. Proper customer service will ensure that current clients have room to grow. An existing customer base is one of the best assets an insurance agency has. Therefore, marketing dollars need to be spent on customer retention.

Organizing, managing and developing your leads is an investment of time, money and resources. Failing to manage new and old clients will make your company miss out on growth opportunities. Management of both old and new clients will allow you to run a financially successful insurance agency.

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