Make Yourself Familiar
Within the marketing world, there is a concept known as the “familiarity principle.” This is the idea that people are more likely to make a purchase when they feel like they already know a product. It’s why new brands can have such a difficult time making inroads—they haven’t yet engendered the feeling of safety and value that can come with familiarity.
The familiarity principle is the reason brands advertise the same product over and over and marketers try to make multiple impressions through different channels—television, online, through influencers, etc. It’s also the reason brand managers can be fanatical about making sure logos, taglines and key messaging pieces are always consistent and accurate.
As an insurance agent, it might seem that you’re limited to some extent by how familiar a customer is with the insurer(s) that you represent. But you’ve also got an opportunity to develop your own brand and style into one that feels trustworthy and safe. This can be accomplished several ways: through your aesthetic, business practices and communications.
What does your aesthetic say to potential customers? This means everything from what your logo looks like to how easy it is to navigate your website to how you dress for meetings with prospects. Does your style feel comfortable to your customers?
Insurance is a business built on trust. As you consider how to come across as trustworthy to your prospects, remember that it is what they will perceive as familiar that matters. If you want to sell insurance to a broad market, make safe aesthetic choices. If you want to specialize in providing insurance solutions to a particular segment of the population, go with a style that incorporates visual signals that your targeted audience will recognize and feel good about.
How you do business is another way to build familiarity. If you are a millennial or younger, you may hate talking on the phone. But to many of your older Boomer customers, that may the way they’re comfortable buying insurance.
Age aside, someone who works in an office setting may be extremely adept at handling all of their insurance paperwork electronically. Someone who labors in a more manual setting like an electrician or a plumber may be more used to shuffling papers.
If you can offer multiple options for clients to do business, you’ll increase your ability to reach each of your customers in a way that feels familiar to them.
Another way to build warmth quickly is to pay close attention to how a prospect communicates. Start with an open-ended question: “Tell me why you’re shopping for insurance right now.” Then listen.
As they talk, jot down key words or phrases they’re using so that you can incorporate their language into your dialogue. Mirror their energy. If they are peppy, bring your energy up. If they are low-key, dial yours down. These are two subtle and effective ways to build alignment.
Another is to take care that you’re not making any assumptions. Use words like “partner” instead of “husband” or “wife” until you know how they refer to their significant other. Don’t assume that a parent wants to name their adult child as a beneficiary on their life insurance—there could be a fracture in the family that is a sore point. If you’re not sure about something, ask.
Familiarity is not the only way to make an impression. There can be very strong reasons that a brand may purposely opt to be non-familiar. Apple is a great example of a company that first chose a very different aesthetic, communication style and way of doing business than its leading competitor, Microsoft. This helped to differentiate and draw attention to Apple when it was first launched.
Now, though, Apple is one of the most consistent brands on the planet, with a distinctive look (clean, white, sleek), way of doing business (Genius bars, stores with hands-on buying experiences) and style of communication (plain language, trendy videos). That means customers worldwide all have the same type of experience—Apple has made itself familiar.
In addition to providing pre-qualified home, auto, renters and life insurance leads to insurance agents, Hometown Quotes adds value by sharing information, tips and advice to help you be more successful. Call us at 800.820.2981 to learn more.