There is more to being a successful Insurance Agent or Financial Representative than making the lion’s share of sales. As many top producers will tell you, residuals from investments and being able to cross-sell additional products to loyal clients year after year, is the way many make it to conference and enjoy long fruitful careers.
Having strong customer service skills is one of the most important attributes to achieving this success; especially with today’s fast-paced, impersonal, auto-respond mentality. Though there are countless ways to lose a client, here are five major mistakes to avoid that can destroy a relationship:
The Need to Be Right!
Especially in the Insurance arena, clients have many options and choices. Nothing will drive a client away quicker than arguing with them. When a potential client has it in their mind of what they want and how much they think they need, it is at this time you must listen. You can use all the resources you want to prove your disagreement on any specific option or choice, but ultimately the client who knows what they want will make the final decision, and will go with the agent who will make it happen for them. The best alternative in this kind of situation is to be insightful with each client and recommend solutions.
It is OK to not know everything. Success has nothing to do knowing a little bit about everything. Instead know everything about a few things. You won’t find success by fumbling your way through a demonstration on a product you don’t know anything or enough about. If a client has questions about a particular product you are not knowledgeable about, let them know that you will find the answer, or perhaps involve a co-worker who is a specialist with that particular product. This will only strengthen your agent/client relationship as they will see you as actually have their best interest at heart.
In One Ear & Out the Other!
Communication involves a two-way conversation. Listen to what your client has to say in its entirety. When they are finished, say, “Let me make sure I understand what you are saying……” and repeat what they have just said in your own words so that they know you understand. If you have confusion in a certain area, then ask them to elaborate. How many times have you asked a question and have been given an answer that had nothing to do with your concern? Did you ever do business with that person again? Probably not.
We may all be guilty of being impersonal from time to time. When someone sends in a complaint or leaves a dissatisfied message, it is much easier to send them an email or delete their message altogether rather than to call them and address their concern personally. Sometimes it works, but other times it simply makes your client feel as though they are not important enough to warrant a phone call and the opportunity to speak with you directly. Treat the client how you would want to be treated, give them the courtesy of a phone call. After all, if you don’t, then they could decide not to call you when they decide to transfer their business to another agency.
Today’s Insurance products and services can satisfy many needs with just one policy. They are flexible, they provide various types of cash values and death benefits, and there are many different funding options to choose from. However, be sure that you don’t overestimate the features and benefits to the point that you lose the product’s primary purpose. Showing clients an unrealistic cash return on a life insurance policy will only set you up to fail, and possibly a potential lawsuit later on. Be realistic, and show your products and services for what they are and what they can legitimately be used for.
It is easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives and forget some of the basics our parents taught us with regards to treating others how we would like to be treated. To be truly successful in this industry, you need to do more than just sell, you need to be an excellent communicator and have effective customer service skills. Not only will you see your residual income and cross-selling opportunities increase, but you will also see more referral business as people will feel comfortable sending their friends and family members to you.
By Michael Williams