During my business career last 13 years I have been fortunate to work in different industries (higher education, insurance, finance, IT, telecom), and with different job functions such as: manager, trainer, consultant, recruiter, adviser, at European, Asian and American multinationals and SMEs. I have acquired a tremendous amount of knowledge and skills which I bring with me in my actual role of Human Resource Management Professional and People Developer.
Below article provides my tactics of becoming a top selling insurance adviser at one of north Europe's most respected insurance and asset management firm: Swedish Folksam (People's insurance firm). I had no previous experience selling insurance products but still managed to become one of the best sellers in the country in 2014. This topic is also vital because a lot of insurance advisers/sellers fail to meet client expectations, and sales targets leading to a damaged brand image, loss of revenues and high employee turnover.
One key issue for many insurance and financial sellers is that they don't listen to the prospects, and the seller/adviser often lack enough knowledge about the products and services in order to be able to run in-dept discussions about policies, claims, benefits, and long term risks. Remember that clients are seeking information online and often call the insurance firm if they need to sign additional insurances, or, discuss pension schemes, or, to get refunded in the case of an injury or accident. A client also contacts the insurance firm to ask specific questions about policies, coverage and clients frequently seek to understand the benefits provided versus competition. It is therefore not enough just to have strong sellers on the phone, you need advisers with a genuine interest to help people to a safer future - that is what insurance is all about - to be able to convince the client of a safe sleep knowing that if things goes wrong the insurance firm provides financial backup quickly and with as little hassle as possible.
14 golden strategies that help you to become a top selling insurance broker.
- Put the needs of the client first. Don't just sell "easy click and buy" accident insurances to meet your bonus targets, but instead offer insurances that are most needed by the client.
- Provide exceptional customer service at all times. Answer on emails and phone calls timely, and don't forget a client - and if you do, skip all the talks about how busy you have been.
- Maintain a high energy level at all times. I am a fan of running, swimming and constantly learning and improving my skills and knowledge. You would need these traits to be a top insurance seller/adviser. With this energy level comes a strict and healthy diet, and to avoid late nights, excess alcohol and avoid frequent argues with your spouse which make you psychologically tired and demotivated.
- Be persistent in handling objections. An objection is not about you as a person, it is about the product, or, client need, or the fact the client did not get the information as sought at the very beginning of your conversation. Wanna know how to handle objections? Try this: what makes you say that? Who do you compare with? If I gave you [...] as part of meeting your requirements, would you go ahead and buy today?
- Be honest - always tell the truth. Don't hide what the insurance does not cover just to sell, the client will come back in the event of an accident and yell at you like the biggest lion in the world.
- Acquire extensive product knowledge and market insights. I printed all material available and studied 24/7 for 1 week to quickly get up to speed with the most popular policies and offerings. You may also ask claim handlers and senior advisers whenever client questions arise.
- Get training by top sellers. Roger Short on LinkedIn wrote: "Someone Else's Experience is the Best Teacher". When one considers and learns from the experience of others it allows them to advance without the time or money wasted in making mistakes in the learning experience". I agree with his statement 100%! Do you ?
- Track your sales numbers daily to ensure your monthly bonuses. I knew exactly how many different products I had to sell per day, per week in order to reach my monthly targets. Use post-it notes and excel and track each call with a client.
- Devote 2h per day on marketing activities such as: social media 2-way interactions, send fliers, make cold-calls, and spread the message about trends and updates.
- Educate your clients in risks, rewards, costs and benefits. The client will be so happy you saved their time, wallet and family safety in case they need your financial coverage in the future.
- B2B - acquire new customers by constantly visiting leads such as car agencies, municipalities, specific enterprises in your region, and keep track of when their insurance policies are about to end. That is your time to enter! For B2C why not conducting free workshops or events about family safety or the growing in popularity pet insurances being a few examples and include client success stories with Q&A sessions.
- Keep yourself updated with statistics, accident numbers and changes in laws and regulations. Bring these with you in your discussions with new and exiting clients.
- Whenever a client call your firm, let's say, to get help with a letter they just received, talking about changes in their policies. Finish their request first of all, and lead the client into a needs analysis and offer packages based on what the client asks for. Look into the CRM system and ask the client why he/she has not signed up for insurance A, B or C etc. Don't talk about too many products, choose, one you feel the client may need most according to his/her talks. Don't try to sell everything to a client - you will lose it all in that way!
- Use psychology to persuade. Paint a painful picture for the client should an accident occur including the extremely high costs involved and ask them whether they would be willing to take the financial risk, instead of paying a monthly modest premium of let's say 20 USD.
Many recruiters fail to find top selling insurance sellers - they would certainly had blocked me due to insufficient experience, but I spoke directly with the hiring manager and we did an employment deal fairly quickly as he knew I had the potential to rock in his department with some initial supervision. A successful recruiter in the insurance business, would therefore be an unbiased and multicultural manager, with winning sales track records, that is to say, a manager who has succeeded to overachieve in similar position and therefore knows what to look for when hiring similar top candidates. The hiring manager at that firm was a young and successful sales talent, with an open attitude of hiring people with different education, backgrounds, and ethnicity, and he had succeeded being rated top sales agent at that firm for 5 consecutive years - and I learned from him about how to talk with clients.
Whenever I educate sellers in the insurance firm I usually start with a thorough needs analysis, and tailor my content aimed at a class of max 10-15 attendees. I also conduct interviews with top sellers and senior sellers/advisers to understand their experiences of client pain points and frequently mistakes done by their peers to cover these areas in the training. I also focus on B2B and B2C sales with negotiation tactics, presentation techniques, and plenty of consultative selling with tactics taken from my own experience and the popular IBM global sales school (I did the training and got A+). Contact me for more information and let's discuss how I can develop your staff, or help you with hiring and on-boarding some of the most promising figures in the industry.
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