Ethics Center: Sales & Marketing

10+ Techniques to Grow Your Property-Casualty Insurance Sales . . . Ethically

The property-casualty insurance business is sales-driven. You know that, of course. But the challenge is to keep the sales machine humming, react effectively to unforeseen events, and work well with prospects and clients, who may not always be the nicest of people. To this end, PropertyCasualty360.com earlier this year published an article entitled, Better Selling: 10 Tips from Prospecting to Closing. Here are some of the key takeaways for your consideration, along with a bonus ethics pointer from EOforLess.com.

  1. Get used to dealing with less-than-enthusiastic or even downright hostile prospects. If someone criticizes your sales approach or even insults you, laugh it off and keep angling for the opportunity. Sometimes even nasty people will react positively if you provide an intriguing idea for enhancing coverage or reducing costs.

  2. As a property-casualty insurance agent, do your best to make your products tangible to prospects. Somehow, you need to figure out how to embody the essence of the product in a picture, symbol, or phrase. Making the benefit come alive will pay huge dividends, not just to your customers, but also to you.

  3. Know that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to cross-sell an existing customer. This has been a property-casualty insurance agent mantra since time immemorial. But it’s still as important today as it was decades ago. Don’t get so caught up in the thrill of chasing down new business that you forget to prospect among your existing accounts.

  4. Don’t prospect exclusively on the basis of price. Also explain the value of the coverage. There’s a big difference between those two concepts.

  5. Don’t be a product-centric marketer. In other words, don’t focus on selling individual products only. Instead, think through an account’s overall risk situation and then work to provide a comprehensive solution.

  6. Recognize that the average property-casualty agent loses some 10 percent to 15 percent of his or her book of business every year. So it’s important to not only bring in incremental new business, but also to replace the business that went off the books. To achieve this, agents need to excel at managing their time.

  7. Make your sales effort personal. In other words, tell prospects you’re not just trying to protect their business. You’re also striving to protect them personally—their careers, their families, their futures. People will always appreciate agents who place their risks in the proper perspective and provide comprehensive solutions.

  8. Stand up for what you know is right, even if the prospect disagrees with you. If you become known as a yes-man or yes-woman, you’ll lose respect in the eyes of your clients. If someone insists on purchasing insurance that is inappropriate for their business or family need, don’t hesitate to call the person on it. You may lose the sales battle that day, but win the sales war in the future.

  9. Don’t fight to retain a piece of business when it’s obvious the customer is intent on moving it elsewhere. Having said this, stand up for your prior work and don’t take any cheap shots. And do your best to make for a smooth transition. Acting as a class act now may result in the client returning to you at some future point.

  10. Don’t let insureds play games with you. If someone asks you to bid on on a risk without sufficient information or time, call him or her on it. Be clear on what you need to provide a legitimate quote. Then do your homework and deliver a great quote.

And to these 10 tips, EoforLess.com would like to add one bonus point:

Never underestimate the benefits to your reputation of doing business with integrity. If customers understand that you’re striving to do your best for them—and not rip them off—they will respond favorably. Business ethics truly pays in terms of enhanced customer satisfaction and fewer errors and-omissions insurance claims down the road.     

For information on affordable errors and omissions insurance for low-risk insurance, investment, and real estate professionals, visit E&OforLess.com. For information on ethical sales practices, please visit the National Ethics Association’s Ethics Center.