That probably seems like an odd question doesn’t it?
I’ve had an eerily similar conversation recently with a couple of agency owners/producers. They both, very proudly, told me, “People seem to trust me; I regularly pick up new clients who say, ‘I’m not sure why I’m choosing you over everyone else, but, for some reason, it just feels right.’”
As I said, both were very proud of this and were genuinely taken aback when I asked them, “Doesn’t that worry you?” They were so focused on the fact that they were getting new clients that they sincerely didn’t know why I was asking the question.
Maybe you are wondering why I asked that question
Here’s what their scenarios tell me. And by scenario I mean the fact the new client is admitting that it isn’t really clear, even to themselves, why they are making the decision; it’s gut feeling alone.
When a buyer is left to make a decision about hiring an insurance broker to nothing more than a gut feeling, it means there were no discernable differences in the sales process they experienced or the solutions they were offered. In other words, there was no difference in the Value Proposition of anyone they considered, so they were left to make their decision on instinct alone.
This MAY win a few small clients, but do you really feel a Director of HR in a 500 employee company is going to go to his/her CEO and make a recommendation on one of of their largest budget items “because it just feels right”?! Hell no!!
How did you get here?
Without having explored it further with either of these owners/producers, I will tell you exactly what each of their respective new clients experienced from, and were offered by, the multiple brokers they considered.
- The prospect was likely worried about an upcoming renewal and figured they needed multiple brokers to get quotes.
- Each of those brokers bragged about how long they had been in business and the great relationships they have with the carriers.
- Each broker collected the same information, went out to the same carriers, and came back with the same spreadsheet.
- Said brokers then broke out their oh-so-impressive, “we have it too” capabilities binder.
- With building anxiety, the brokers then went on and on about the great service they would provide and how they and their team would become an extension of the prospect’s HR department.
When it comes to selling and retaining clients, I'm sure each broker thinks they are the obvious choice. But from the perspective of they buyer, they are ALL THE SAME!!!
Leaving your fate to the buyer’s gut instinct is inexcusable. It has to be extremely clear as to why anyone should hire you. And, don’t give me the same, tired reasons our industry has been giving for decades.
- Prospects really don’t care how long you have been in business.
- They assume you have access to the right carriers and the right product.
- They assume you will offer them those products at a fair price.
- They assume you would provide good service if they become a client.
It is the industry’s misguided belief that price, product, and service are differentiators that are leaving prospects to make decisions on gut instinct.
You have to FIX THIS!
Emotional Alignment versus Gut Instinct
Before I offer suggestions for the fix, let me address this “gut instinct” thing a little further. I have written in the past about the absolute need to emotionally connect (align your WHYs) with your clients, but this is different than a “can’t really describe why” gut instinct. In the former, there is a clear purpose/belief/cause that drives both you and the buyer. Sure, it’s emotional, but it’s also very clear and defined. In the latter, there’s no substance, only a feeling.
However, even a clearly-defined emotional alignment isn’t enough; you must validate and help rationalize that emotional connection by clearly explaining how you work and what you will deliver.
As Zig Ziglar has explained, “People buy on emotion (heart), then justify with logic (head).”
Emotion + Logic
Now, back to the suggested logic fix. Your sales process and value proposition must lead with that emotional connection, but then it MUST come to one clear and obvious conclusion that you understand the prospect’s current situation better than anyone else and that you will bring specific, meaningful, and necessary improvement to their situation.
Of course, this is a WAY bigger project than I can describe here, but let me get you started.
I already know you are able to help clients with their insurance needs so I’m going to get you focused on the “non-insurance” solutions (you probably call them value-added services) you have to offer.
- Go to your capabilities binder and choose the 2 or 3 non-insurance solutions you are already using most effectively with clients. And, by “most effectively” I mean the solutions you are implementing successfully and that are actually being used by your clients.
- Write down what needs are satisfied by each non-insurance solution, what questions you could ask to determine if a prospect has a particular need related to that solution, and why it is important to address those needs.
- For each of those non-insurance solutions, write out step-by-step instructions of how to successfully implement each solution to ensure their needs are addressed.
Now, the next time you are in front of a prospect, instead of following the same, tired process of bragging about your years in service and sharing your “me too” capabilities binder, you have a different experience to follow.
- Yes, you will still take the time to determine where they have insurance
- But, you will also ask the “needs questions” for each respective non-insurance solution you have to offer as well.
- As a result of exploring both insurance and non-insurance needs, you now have a more complete understanding of the prospect than do your competitors.
- Instead of just throwing up all of the stuff in your capabilities binder on the prospect, focus on explaining how your individual non-insurance solutions will successfully address each specific need you identified.
- Finish by providing an overall plan of implementation describing the why, how, when, and by whom details you will follow to ensure the solutions address the needs and bring improved results.
A much stronger recommendation
Now that 500 employee Director of HR can tell his/her CEO why they are recommending you and your team.
- (Emotion first) – This is a company whose ideals and philosophies align perfectly with ours.
- (Then logic) - They educated me on the real drivers of cost in our HR/benefits program.
- They took the time to really understand what is working and not working in our current program.
- They helped me understand how their solutions work and how each specifically addresses our broader needs.
- They gave me confidence that all of this will happen because it was laid out in a detailed plan of implementation.
I don’t know about you, but my gut tells me this is a much more powerful Value Proposition than one that leaves the decision to gut instinct. ; )
Photo by © Stuart Key.