Be More Effective Selling Insurance

Michael Miller | July 30, 2019

Ad Libbing is for Amateurs: The Art of the Professional Close

Independent insurance agent making a sale.In insurance, as in any sales business, there comes a time when the presentation is over and it’s time to close. Or, to put it another way, it’s time to get paid for your investment of time and hard work in looking for the best coverage options for your clients.

Not everyone enjoys a natural talent for sales. Some agents struggle to make $35,000 to $50,000 a year, while others make earning $1 million a year look easy.

When I asked the top agents in my region what made them such successful salespeople, they shared with me that preparing a  professional sales presentation is their top priority. “Ad libbing is for amateurs,” they say.

Focus on Your Presentation.

When you focus on making your presentation the most valuable and comprehensive it can possibly be for your clients, the close comes easily. Remember, you’re not just selling insurance. You’re consulting with your clients on the amount of risk they’re willing to accept.

Your job before and during the presentation is to determine your client’s current coverages and needs and present the right coverage for the risks they face day-to-day. For example, some clients may be happy with a $1 million umbrella policy, while others aren’t comfortable with less than $5 million in coverage. Some people need life, long-term care, disability, or business coverage. It is up to you to demonstrate why and share this information to your clients.

How you determine what your clients need sets you apart from the typical captive agent. I encourage agents to use a presentation template that prompts them to ask questions about what’s important to their clients. How much risk are they willing to accept with their auto and homeowners insurance coverages? Life? Health? Business?

If you design an effective presentation template, by the end of your meeting, you’ll have: 

  • Set high expectations for the level of customer service your agency offers.
  • Determined appropriate coverage for auto and homeowners or renters insurance.
  • Assessed your client’s interest in life, health, and retirement products.
  • Discovered if your client requires business insurance.

Close on Value, Not Cost.

Asking questions about acceptable risk and offering solutions tailored to your client’s answers eliminate the price objection almost every time because you’re selling on value, not cost. Their own answers to your questions make them aware that they need much more than basic liability.

Imagine you’ve got a prospect paying a captive agent $189 a month for auto and homeowners coverage. In your presentation, your client’s risk tolerance indicates that you need to increase liability limits from $300,000 to $500,000 and add a $1 million umbrella policy. You’ve also recommended rental reimbursement on their auto policy and replacement cost on their homeowners policy. It all adds up to $239 per month, $50 more than what they’re currently spending.

If your sales presentation had not uncovered their needs, all you’ve done is compete with their current agent on cost. An effective presentation identifies risk tolerance and offers solutions so you compete on value. It earns you the right to ask them to pay a little more each month for insurance because it explains where the extra cost is coming from: a more comprehensive insurance program.

Sample Closing Script

Mr./Mrs. <LAST NAME>,  I hope you will agree with me that this is a rock-solid insurance program, and likely the most comprehensive review you may have seen to date.

<CLIENT NAME>, I couldn’t help but see some concern as I shared with you the price difference in the two plans, but I cannot recommend a lesser program than the proper coverage we have discussed here tonight. I need to ask you one final question: What kind of an agent would I be if I didn’t ask you to consider contributing the additional money necessary to fund an insurance program that properly protects you from financial devastation if a catastrophic loss would occur?

Let me suggest this: Work with my agency for 6 months, kick the tires, if you will, and if, after 6 months, you’re not happy with my agency or this isn’t the best insurance program for you, I will personally help you return to <OLD AGENCY> myself. <PAUSE for RESPONSE> Great! Would you like to use a check or credit card to get started?

Educating Your Clients is Key

In your next sales presentation, I challenge you to close on value, not cost. Help your clients understand their risks and the amount of risk they’re willing to accept.

Not sure where to start? Use your Smart Choice® state director as a resource. We’re here to help!

Cover of the Smart Choice Magazine 2019 Issue 4, Sales and Marketing Best Practices and TipsThe Sales and Marketing Issue: Best Practices and Marketing Tips

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why would you choose your agency?" Knowing your customer base and audience is key to answering this question and crafting an effective marketing strategy. If you focus on your strengths, brand message and personality should come easy from there. Check out 2019 Issue 4 of Smart Choice Magazine for more strategic tips and advice on marketing your agency for growth.

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