A century ago, insurance was sold through a handshake. It still is – but today, that handshake takes a different form.
As customers become more mobile and far-flung, you’re more likely to conduct insurance sales calls and other business via phone or online resources. And as with every form of communication, getting the best results depends on engaging your customers and building credibility.
Fortunately, phone and digital allow insurance agents to do both.
Engaging customers by phone
First, find out if your customers to be phoned. Caller ID and voicemail have largely eliminated the old cold-calling practices, and the last thing you want to do is interrupt a client’s busy day with a non-essential call.
You can mitigate the risk of a phone faux-pas by using customer information form that includes the preferred means of contact – voice, text, email or other. If voice is chosen, find out the best days and times to place that call; ditto for text messaging.
Once you’re on the line:
- Ask if they have “two minutes” to discuss their insurance needs. Most people consider two minutes something they can accommodate. And once you get a good, open-ended conversation started, your customer may just forget that the clock is running.
- Know your message. Keeping the overall conversation down to a manageable timeframe (even two minutes) means getting to the point quickly and clearly. This is no time to hem and haw over the details, or flip through your notes while the customer waits on the other end. Know every detail of your contract and your customer before placing the call.
- Put a “smile” in your voice. It’s a proven phenomenon that if you smile while you speak, your voice follows suit with an engaging and pleasant tone. Adjust the tone, of course, to fit the message – if there’s some issue with your client’s ability to meet his payments, or he’s unhappy with his self-storage insurance – opt for a more compassionate, professional tone, but keep your attitude one of positive outcomes.
- Ask for the sale. A “yes” is your insurance sales ideal, but you can turn a “no” into a learning opportunity. Ask questions like “What are you dissatisfied with?” or “Is there anything we didn’t cover?”
Engaging customers digitally
If you assume nearly everyone is connected to the Internet via email, texting and social media – you’re right.
Smartphones and tablets have changed the way many people both shop and communicate, and insurance agents can use digital technology to foster insurance sales and service.
- Keep the messaging brief. Digital users don’t read – they scan. Jump right to the benefit statement of your sales message. In email, use bullet points to make the scanning easier. If you’re posting on Facebook or Twitter, respect the limited number of words and characters and cut right to the point.
- Make it “customer-centric.” The digital environment is too fast-paced to waste time telling customers things they don’t care about – like your agency. Instead, use the media to home in on the interests, concerns and goals of the self-storage insurance client, and exactly how your services can help them.
- Include plenty of contact options. Include your phone number, email address and social media page links with every digital communication. You want your customer or prospect to contact you back the way they’re most comfortable.
A new way to engage
Insurance agents can forge new relationships using the technology that your customers already use. Phone and digital options can drive you toward meaningful contact that ultimately encourages insurance sales.