What is key to running a successful insurance agency in 2018? "Relationships, relationships, and relationships" helps drive your agencies success. Success in cross selling insurance products requires intentional relationship building with existing customers.
Identify Two Types of Existing Customers
As a sales professional, you serve two types of existing customers. According to John Carroll on InsuranceSplash.com, these two customers must be treated differently.
- Those that own the insurance product but purchased it from a competitor need to be sold on the benefits of your company.
- But the second type of existing customer -- those that do not yet own the product -- need to be sold on the product. Your cross selling system should identify the customer and their needs.
Molly has purchased car insurance with your company, but her home owners' insurance with another company. What benefit would Molly receive from bundling her insurance needs with your company?
On the other hand, Bill has home owners' insurance with your company but does not have a life insurance policy with any company. You need to help Bill understand his need for life insurance.
In either case, your relationship with either type of customer will be a key factor in cross selling insurance products. Know your customers and identify their needs.
Keep Your Existing Customers
Alex Lawrence in an article for Forbes.com reports 80% of your company's future business will come from only 20% of your existing customers, while attracting new customers costs 5 times more than retaining existing customers. Certainly your business is constantly in need of new customers, but cross selling insurance products must be linked to your customer retention program. Relationship building should be viewed as more than simply an opportunity to sell products. The old saying, "no one cares what you know until they know that you care," is true in life and marketing.
Insurance saleswoman Margie knows her customers and their families. Brian and Debbie and their children receive birthday cards from Margie every year. On their daughter's 16th birthday, Margie is sure to ask if she will be added to their auto insurance policy. If Brian and Debbie get their insurance from a competitor, Margie's relationship building over time will give her the opportunity to ask for their business.
John will soon be 26 years of age and no longer covered on his parent's health insurance policy. The relationship you have built with his family allows you to first, be aware of this need, and second, to offer John a health insurance policy.
Retaining these families as customers will be a key to your success in cross selling. Your relationship with these families is vital to help meet their changing and expanding insurance needs. Identify your customers, prioritize customer retention, and regularly evaluate your customer service.
Why Customer Service Needs to be Re-Evaluated
According to a survey of 362 businesses and their customers done by Bain and Company, 80% of management believed they were delivering outstanding customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed. In such an evaluation, the customer's side of the story should be the important factor. Perception is reality as far as the customer is concerned. At home we say, "If mom's not happy, no one is happy." In business we say, "If the customer's not happy, the business will fail."
Here's some question to ask in service to your customers.
- When can we sit down with you to do what we call a family insurance review?
- Can we bundle your insurance policies at a cost savings to your family?
- Now that your garage is completed, will you be adding a boat, a new car or an RV?
- Will you need flood insurance?
- Have you considered what would happen if you were out of work for a few months with a disability?
- Now that we have your employees covered, can we review your family's insurance needs?
Customer service certainly includes how responsive the company is when a covered event occurs, but it also includes helping your customers prepare.
Joel and Rhonda have life and auto insurance with your company and you are their insurance agent. You have built a relationship with the family. Unexpected weather resulted in damage to their home from flooding. How will they feel about you and your company if you have never offered flood insurance?
The three keys to a cross selling system's success are relationship, relationship, and relationship. Build that relationship by knowing your customers, prioritizing their retention, and regularly evaluating your customer service.