Cross-selling – when a customer buys more than one insurance product – is the low-hanging fruit of insurance sales. It can be done both when you first get a lead and later on after you’ve already made a customer your own. Hometown University asked Patrick Ruddy, chief sales officer at Hometown Quotes, for his take on the topic and consolidated his advice into 10 tips that we’re calling:

The Ultimate Guide to Cross-Selling

Tip #1: Cross-Selling is Easier than Upselling
Once someone is paying a particular amount for an insurance product, it’s natural that they’ll feel it when the price increases, even if the higher premium comes because they’re adding features or decreasing deductible amounts. This is why you may find it easier to capture additional dollars from the same consumer by instead selling them an additional product.

Tip #2: Look to Build a Relationship
When an apartment-renting auto insurance customer is going to buy a home, you’re more likely to get a call from them asking for a homeowners insurance quote if they already think of you as the person they go to when they need any insurance. Regular and consistent investments of your time will help do this – a quarterly or semiannual call or email touching base will help them see you as their insurance guy or gal over time.

Tip #3: Make Time to Cross-Sell Every Workday
If you’re solely focused on new customers, you’re overlooking sales that you could make to your established customers. Look at the size of your database and apportion some of your sales time every day to reaching out to older customers. The longer you’re in business, the more existing customers you’ll have, which means you should be committing more and more time to this type of outreach.

Tip #4: Set a Goal for Every Call
Think through what you want to achieve before you pick up the phone. Is this a customer who only has one policy? Your goal might be very clear: to find out if they need additional coverages. With others, your goal may be more general: to start building trust because they didn’t have much time to chat when you first sold them a policy. When you set a goal like this, it will give your call direction and substance.

Tip #5: Never Judge a Book by Its Cover
When you’re interacting with a new client for the first time, never make assumptions about who they are. The person shopping for auto insurance on their 2008 Chevy truck may also have a 2019 Chevy Corvette
parked in the garage at home. This leads directly to the next tip…

Tip #6: Ask
You can’t cross-sell if you don’t know what other products a client needs. Starting with an open-ended statement like “Tell me about your insurance needs” can be a good way to get information that you might not think to ask yourself. Then you can narrow in on the specifics by asking things like:
“Do you have any other vehicles you’d like me to quote while we’re at it?”
“We may be able save you money by bundling different types of insurance. Would you like me to get a quote for homeowners insurance, too?”
“Do you have any plans to move or buy any vehicles in the future? If you do, that could be a good time to requote all of your policies to see if we can save you any money. I’d be happy to call you back if you have an idea of when that might be.”

Tip #7: Take Notes
Keep a short file on each of your customers. Jot down things that they mention – the names and ages of their children, their interests or hobbies, their spouse’s name, what type of work they do, any vacation plans on the horizon, etc. This will make it easier for you to recall who you’re speaking with when you call them months down the road, and you can use the information as an icebreaker.

Tip #8: Check in After a Couple Weeks or Months
It’s very easy to stay in touch with your customers. Your first check-in should come 6-10 weeks after your initial sale. Start with making sure they have your contact information and asking if they have any questions about their insurance. Then offer a special deal on another product if you have one available or ask if they have any friends or family who might need help with their insurance.

Tip #9: Make It Conversational
Keeping a warm and friendly tone and asking a client about their life helps build rapport. The trick is to find the balance between demonstrating caring without coming across as prying or overly involved in their business. “Hi, Jackie. This is Joan, your insurance agent. I like to check in on all of my clients from time to time to make sure their insurance coverage is still at the right levels. But first…how are you? Was that trip to Paris as awesome as you were hoping it would be?” They could choose to answer with a simple yes or a 10-minute description of the Louvre. Either way, you’re showing interest in what they are interested in.

Tip #10: Be Patient
You’re not going to cross-sell to every customer, and some make take years to come to fruition. Building your book will take time, but it’ll pay off in spades years down the road.

Want some help with cross-selling language or figuring out the optimal timing for you to do some insurance cross-selling? Your Hometown Quotes Regional Director is always happy to share ideas and best practices. Call 800-820-2981.