Insurance customers are changing. Technology has a lot to do with it, but there are other factors, too. Increased mobility (people move more), evolving societal norms (customers coming from all demographics), the availability of more insurance products (and resulting customization options)—all of these factors and more have changed the landscape for insurance sales in the last 50 years.
What hasn’t changed is the general consumer desire to find quality products that provide them value for their money. One way they do that is by looking for trusting relationships with subject-matter experts who can help guide them to make good decisions.
It’s in your best interest to be that person. In the insurance business, loyal customers translate into more renewals, more referrals, more upsales and more cross-sales. All of this means less work for you because you don’t have to spend time, money and energy searching for and marketing to new customers.
This is why focusing on building rapport matters, starting with your very first interaction, which can set the tone for the rest of your relationship, too. Here are six easy steps to start on the right foot:
Step 1: Ask how they want to be addressed
Getting someone’s name right might seem like a small thing, but it’s a quick way to demonstrate immediate respect. A smooth way to do this is to say something like: “Hi, this is Taylor Smith with XYZ Insurance—you can call me Tay. How would you like to be addressed?”
Step 2: Ask an open-ended question
“How can I help you?” is about as open as it gets. Or, if you already have an idea and don’t want to come off as clueless, try something like, “I see you’re looking for an auto insurance quote. Before we get started on that, what else can I help you with?” The idea is to get a complete picture of what the customer wants to accomplish and then set an agenda for the rest of your interaction.
Step 3: Check-in at regular intervals
If you’re explaining a product, process or procedure that takes more than a couple of sentences, pause and check in from time to time. Ask, “What questions do you have so far?” or “Is this the type of information you’re looking for?” The idea is that you want the customer to feel like they are directing the conversation and that they can ask questions at any point, as opposed to you overloading them with information that they might not want or need.
Step 4: Summarize your next steps
As you come to the end of your interaction on a specific topic, summarize your next steps and include timing if that’s applicable. For example, “You can expect to receive electronic paperwork to sign by the end of today. I’ll be checking your file, and if I don’t see it, I’ll follow up with the company first thing tomorrow morning and get back to you.”
Step 5: Make another open-ended offer
Before you wrap up entirely, ask “What else can I help you with?” Resist the urge to ask compound or leading questions here. This is a chance for your customers to take a moment and make sure they’re not forgetting anything. Keep repeating this open-ended offer until they have nothing more to discuss.
Step 6: End on a good note
Think about bookending your closing with sincere thanks on either side and a final opportunity to put them in charge. “I appreciate your time today and have two final questions: how would you prefer that I contact you, and how often would you like me to be in touch?” This is another way to help your clients feel like you respect them and their time. After you’ve got their answer, close with a final expression of thanks.
Building rapport like this is a great way to begin the conversation with the qualified leads that you get from Hometown Quotes. For more ideas about how to make the best use of them, call your Regional Director at 800.820.2981.