Success as an insurance agent requires determining which sales approaches are best for you and your prospects.
If you’ve ever bought a car, you know there are quite a few sales approaches. There’s the friendly, informative salesperson who points out the safety features and the upgraded stereo system. You’ve probably met the pushy salesperson who tells you they have someone else coming to buy the vehicle later, and if you want it, you need to buy it now.
These are just two of the many sales approaches you may come across, and they aren’t limited to auto sales. Every industry, including insurance sales, will have people who think one approach is better than every other. In many cases, they’re right.
But how can they all be right? How can there be several “best” sales approaches? In large part, it’s because the best is always subjective. While some techniques and strategies are wildly outdated and counterproductive, we also know that different approaches work for different people.
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5 insurance sales approaches that work (and one that doesn’t)
First, what exactly is a sales approach? At their root, different sales approaches are the attitude you bring to a sale and how you match it with your own personality and customer needs. There are numerous ways to classify and categorize sales techniques and strategies, but here are five of the ones we see most often in the insurance industry.
1. Friendly advisor. This approach to sales goes by several names, such as the Buddy Approach. It has similarities with the Sandler Selling System, which prioritizes relationship and trust building, though often in a more B2B situation. Regardless of what you call it, this approach requires a warm, friendly attitude that highlights helping your customer or prospect choose the policy that best meets their needs.
2. The expert approach. This method, also known as the Guru approach, emphasizes product knowledge and mastery of the subject matter. However, there’s more to it than just knowledge. You also need to clearly and efficiently explain the product or service to your customer. Insurance can be complicated, and the more you can make policies understandable, the better you’ll be able to sell.
3. Targeted approach. This takes the idea of qualification to the next level. With a targeted approach to sales, there are no truly cold calls because the salesperson spends significant time and energy ensuring they contact the right person for the sale. This might include researching your prospect or business on sites like LinkedIn or other web-based resources. By the time you make the call, you have a good idea of their needs, how to approach them, and why your product works best for them.
4. The networking approach. You might also call this the word-of-mouth or referral approach. In this method, you get referrals from current clients or through your network. For example, you might work with a realtor to engage people who are buying a home.
5. Solution selling. Solution selling is exactly what it sounds like. Your prospect has a problem, and you have a solution. In this case, the problem is that your prospect either doesn’t have insurance or isn’t happy with their current policy. The solution, of course, is a policy you sell. As long as you take care to position your solution as the best possible choice, this can be an excellent approach to insurance sales.
And one that doesn’t works! The hard sell. The hard sell is a favorite of the old-school sales approaches, but times have changed. While plenty of older techniques work well and truly focus on the customer, the hard sell tends to be about hitting numbers and getting as many sales as possible. That’s not necessarily bad; you do need to make sales, after all. But when you focus more on your commission than customer needs, you aren’t thinking long-term.
So, which of these are the best sales approaches for insurance? While you might lean toward one or another, with the exception of the hard sell, most successful insurance salespeople draw different elements from all of these. Even the product expert needs to build a relationship. And even with the best networks and referrals, you still need a quality product that presents solutions.
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