It's always good to reflect on what we are doing, what's working and what not. Below are some reasons why you might perceive business to be slower or selling tougher....
- Legislation and paperwork
We can get this one out of the way right away. This is a pain and created more and more administration for brokers and agents. On the positive side, there is much more control over quality of advice and customer protection. We have no choice here but to adopt legislation and see the positive side.
- Pressure to Produce
A producer’s gotta eat, and that’s why there’s constant pressure to make the highest sale you can, at the most lucrative price. But producers know that the most valuable client relationships are established through trust, and making insurance sales based around products and services, not pricing. “Selling based on price is setting the stage for failure,” one agent told us. When you do the right thing and put yourself in your customers shoes, you will reap the reward over the long-haul.
- Lack of Demand
While business development is a constant part of my coaching practice, www.blue-oceans-consulting.co.za , a lack of demand makes it a much less rewarding prospect. One producer wrote in that: “Increased costs of ‘affordable’ health insurance is making it hard for consumers to spend money on ‘luxury’ insurance like life and disability.” The insurance market is rapidly growing, which is generally positive for people in the industry. However, due to economic strains and a lack of client experience, potential clients may feel that investing in “non-essential” insurance services is beyond the capacity of their purse strings at the moment. It may also just be apart of our own self-limiting beliefs…. There are always those individuals doing big business and constant increased sales. The difference; The world has changed and we are dealing with extremely busy and quite well informed customers. We need to adapt our selling techniques or become irrelevant.
- Exclusion from the Sales Process
Since almost everyone has realized that the Internet is here to stay, companies large and small are experimenting with ways that they can create efficiencies in their systems through technology and the web. Internet-based sales processed by major carriers, directly to consumers, may end up excluding independent agents from personal lines sales. Further, consumers now have more information at their fingertips, and might conclude that they have adequate knowledge to make solo insurance purchasing decisions. In order to stay relevant, I always advise independent brokers and brokers houses to get onto Digital Platforms and start adding value to prospects over those platforms. No selling, just Insights!
- Overcoming Stereotypes
Agents and advisors noted that overcoming the stereotypes associated with the insurance industry could leave lingering frustration. One agent ommented, “If you don't have something that will truly set you apart from every other agent out there, you won't leave much of an impression. Fact is - we all know agents that are out to sell a product.” Like any sales professional, producers have to overcome the idea that they’re out to make a quick buck and profit off of an unsuspecting “victim.” Take steps to become an Insight Seller and Invaluable to your prospects and customers. This will ensure future business.
- Product Commodification
Even though many insurance developments are living, changing, adaptable products, the market has become more and more commoditized. One agent summed it up best by saying, “Once insurance becomes a commodity, all products have the same perceived value, and now it becomes, ‘If it's all the same, then why should I pay more for YOUR insurance?’” It’s also harder to differentiate with such a crowded market and so many players, if the benefits of product itself are taking a backseat. There are ways to differentiate yourself from competitors, once you become invaluable to customers; they perceive your advice to be credible.
- Keeping Up With Diverse Communication and Marketing Channels
It can be hard to get your message out there - in fact, what with large carriers, paid advertising and SEO tricks, and lots of competition - great marketing can actually like a hopeless impossibility. The most tech-enabled agents are combatting this challenge through using social media, newsletters, blogs and other creative forms of copy to strengthen their business development efforts. Its all about adding value to without selling over these platforms. This is your future pipleline and needs to be treated with respect.
For information on how we unleash your potential as sales professional, go to: www.blue-oceans-consulting.co.za