What do your clients want? Let's face it. You're in Sales. It's what the insurance industry is about. As independent agents, you sell. You sell Medicare Supplement policies, Life Insurance policies, Long-term care solutions, Disability Income Insurance plans. They're all products. But what sets you apart from Joe down the road who is also selling similar products to an ever-expanding senior market?
I recently read an article published by Life Health Pro, regarding what seniors wish their advisors knew. Some of it may seem like common sense, yet some of it is clearly lost, and some of the key points in the article should be taken to heart. You would think that 'Trust' would have been #1. It sure would have been on my list, if I had been asked to participate in the poll. Trust is of utmost importance when it comes to a retiree looking for a solid solution for healthcare. At a time in their life when they're now on a fixed income, and they're relying on your expertise to guide them to the best solution (and albeit most of it is cost-driven, give the fact that they're no longer working) is of paramount importance. Trusting your advisor to research and explore numerous options, all this, after asking important, probing questions to find out what the client needs, is how one earns and gains trust. Right? Well, apparently not everyone does that. And I'm here to tell you, that it's important.
You may ask how I know that it's important, given the fact that I'm not an insurance agent. I'm in Marketing. What could I possibly know about Sales? In another life, I managed a team of sales agents for Apple, Inc. Different industry. Different type of sales, you say. Yes and no. Sales is first and foremost about selling yourself. You sell yourself to the client. First impressions are what count. And we all know, you only have one time to make a first impression, so it better be a good one. But after that, after you've sold yourself to your new, prospective client, you are now in the process of earning their trust. How do you do this? You listen. You become an active listener and you take an active interest in your client.
At Apple, you have to relay the benefits to a customer about the products you're introducing them to. Makes sense, right? Afterall, benefits are what actually sell a product. And you sell the benefits to the solution you've provided AFTER you've probed and asked important questions about your client's life and lifestyle, and you've listened. In the Apple world, this is called creating a complete solution. The Mac user that renders high-def video and who needs a tricked-out MacBook Pro is completely different from the high school student who needs a basic MacBook for fundamental needs. Apple creates successful sales people, they do not churn out order takers. There is a big difference. And it all comes back to listening and asking questions, which is part of the customer engagement model.
Back to the insurance industry. Some examples of questions you should be asking:
The list of questions can go on and on. It may seem obvious, but yet somehow, so many agents don't do this. They don't ask, and they don't listen. They don't show interest in their client. By taking an interest and showing that you care, and that you genuinely want to find the best solution for your client.....you have then earned their trust.
By Carolyn Portanova
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.