Shopping for insurance is a neutral activity at best—just something that has to be done. As an insurance agent, how you handle your interactions can determine how pleasant or unpleasant the process is for your prospects. You can make it a better experience by avoiding these six behaviors that prospects hate:

1)     Not Respecting Their Time

We all have busy lives. The perception of whether you value someone’s time or not can be a make-or-break in sales. Be on time for appointments. Be available to answer questions by returning emails and messages in a timely way. Be prepared to give accurate information.

2)     Winging It

We’ll say it again: be prepared to give accurate information. For any type of sales, you must know your product. In insurance sales, this is even more important. You deal with the parts of people’s lives that not only have the most monetary value (home, autos, jewelry) but that also may be what they hold most dear. The repercussions of being underinsured can be financial ruin and permanently fractured familial relationships. It is incumbent on you to know your stuff.

3)     Focusing on Yourself

We’ve all met them before—those folks who inevitably bring every conversation back to themselves. The “…so that’s a little bit about me. What do YOU think about me?” types. While it’s important that a prospect understand enough about you to trust your expertise, the focus should be on your potential customer, not you. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t build common ground when possible. It’s knowing how much is appropriate to share that’s important. “My son just started driving, too” is enough. You don’t need to give every detail about his first speeding ticket or fender-bender.

4)     Never Asking Questions

The best way to ensure that you aren’t guilty of focusing too much on yourself is to ask questions. Starting with a general, “How is your day going?” can be a good way to gauge mood and whether you need to speed up your interaction or not. If the answer is “Busy,” you know you should get to the point. Let your prospect’s demeanor be your guide about how much to ask and about which topics. If they’re business-like, keep your questions focused on their insurance needs. If they’re chatty, feel free to branch out with more in-depth questions that would be suitable for a first-time conversation with anyone.

5)     Putting the Sale Before the Relationship

Focusing solely on making an immediate sale is short-sighted. Every prospect interaction is an opportunity to build a real relationship, one that could be more fruitful in the long run. Instead of treating a customer interaction like a fast-food drive-through (“What’ll ya have?”), think of yourself as the maître d’ at a nice restaurant. Get to know your customer, find out what they want, remember their name. When you treat them like a valued part of your business, they’ll come back again and again.

6)     Overcomplicating the Decision-Making Process

While you need to be clear on the all of the intricacies of insurance, you shouldn’t complicate the process to purchase it. Some clients want every detail before they buy, but many don’t. For this latter group, when you’ve made yourself an expert on your products and established your credibility, you can guide them to decisions that are in their best interests. Then streamline your process to make it easy for your customer to sign on the dotted line.

Being successful in sales is about what you do, but it’s also about what you don’t do. By avoiding these behaviors, you can eliminate obstacles that could influence a prospect into not wanting to work with your agency.

Bridget Chamberlin

Bridget Chamberlin works in marketing at Hometown Quotes and is posting author and editor for Hometown University.

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