We all know that we must do more than just quote insurance to win new business as part of your insurance selling process. At least I hope you all do.
I’ve written at length about the ACE process and how it relates to your overall risk management sales process, but let’s dive a bit deeper on just the insurance component and look at your insurance selling process.
How do we take the concepts in ACE (assess, calculate, explain) and apply them directly to insurance sales? As important as it is to broaden your company’s approach rather than solely focusing on insurance, it is equally as important to have a dynamite sales process specific to insurance.
Remember that in any sales process, our goal is to identify and understand our client’s problems. So that begs the question: what problems might our clients have in their insurance program? While they can be wide ranging and are individualized to each client they generally fall into a few buckets. The most common include:
- Cost – it’s too expensive.
- Coverage – they aren’t sure if everything is covered right and are trusting their agent to make sure everything is correct.
- Time – they are just spending too much time dealing with insurance-related items.
- Unsure what else is out there – they don’t know what they don’t know.
This is even more important right now because we are in a hard market. There are no good alternatives from a carrier perspective. It’s your job to help your client see the value for what they are paying for as opposed to the price that they are forced to pay. That viewpoint shift is the key ingredient in your insurance selling process.
Educating Clients to Understand How to Buy Insurance
You need to help your client understand their insurance situation. Typically, you’ll find:
- The way they are doing things today is not going to get them where they want to go; OR
- They are leaving risk on the table that they haven’t thought about; OR
- The way they are doing things today is causing the pain they are experiencing – this includes the relationship with their current broker and what that broker is doing to improve in all these areas.
At this point you don’t have to present them with an answer. You just want to highlight that the way they are doing it today is causing them issues.
You do this by being curious and asking questions about how they are currently doing things in their insurance program. Here are some examples:
- Describe the renewal process that your broker goes through to present your insurance program to underwriters to get the best pricing and coverage terms?
- When a claim happens, describe for me what your agent does to make sure that you get the best outcome possible?
- What does your three-year strategic plan with your current broker look like?
- How do you make sure that your building limits are in line with current reconstruction costs?
Notice that all of these questions are open-ended and encourage the client to tell us what their current broker is doing for them in these situations without being confrontational. Ultimately, we want them answering with statements like “I don’t know what my agent does” or “my agent just takes care of that.” Those types of answers are gold because, as you know, the business owner, not the agent, is responsible for the risk of that business. They need to understand what the agent is doing on their behalf. If the agent is not being transparent in the insurance selling process, then there is a problem there.
That’s where you come in. After you have learned how the client is currently engaging with their agent, you can explain how the process should work.
Are they getting their renewal proposal two days ahead of the renewal date? That’s how the system is set up with their current broker. It doesn’t have to be that way. Explain to them what a best-in-class renewal process should look like.
Do they understand how they can get the best premium for their risk? What should they be doing to lower their insurance premiums? What goes into pricing their insurance program?
These are the types of questions that you want to help your client understand. Most clients feel like their insurance is a black box and they can’t crack the code. Clients appreciate when you shed some light on the insurance selling process and give them the information they need to make the most effective decision for their business.
Presenting your Plan
Once you understand where the client is at today, what their pain points are and what they need moving forward, you are ready to ask for the business. Make sure you fully understand what they client wants to accomplish. Where are they going as a company? What are their goals? If you don’t know where they are going and what they want to accomplish, how can you advise them on the strategies it will take to get there? If you do have a clear understanding of where they are going you can align your recommendations to those goals.
Now, many people make a BIG mistake here. They assume that the client can see the path to victory. They assume that the client knows what goes into implementing a Return to Work program or a claims review process etc. NEVER assume that the client knows the details of an insurance program. It is your job to teach them.
If you assume that they understand, you are leaving room for error and a lack of alignment. You want to lay out a clearly defined step-by-step plan so that the client knows exactly how they get from where they are today to where they want to get to. If the client can see a clear path to victory, they are much more likely to make the switch. It is always easier to do nothing and stick to what they know than it is to make a switch to an unknown path. Don’t leave room for ambiguity. Be clear and concise and pave the path to success.
You will notice that this insurance selling process very closely aligns with the ACE approach to risk management – and that is because it does. The foundation is the same, the content just gets altered to your particular areas of focus with this client. The key is that you don’t shortcut the steps and make sure you fully understand the client’s situation so that you can make the appropriate recommendations and win the business.