Perhaps the most significant ongoing challenge for producers is keeping their pipeline filled with the right number of the right opportunities. A close second is to keep moving those rare opportunities they do have through the pipeline to close.
For many reasons, buyers are now finding it more and more challenging to pull the trigger on making big decisions. As an insurance producer/agency, this should be particularly concerning for you. After all, the decisions you ask them to make, from the structure of the benefits program they provide their employees to choosing you as an advisor, are as big as they get.
The combination of challenges with the pipeline + buyers' reluctance to make a change is potentially deadly for producers who need to continue selling new business. It’s time to take an approach that removes as many of the obstacles as possible: the challenges that exist from prospecting all the way through to delivering the client experience. It’s time to embrace the idea of land and expand.
What does THAT mean?
I first heard the phrase “land and expand” a couple of years ago, and it immediately caught my attention. I recognized right away it was a powerful way to give an identity to one of our core Q4i beliefs, which is to make it easy for your buyers to make better buying decisions.
The concept is as simple as it gets. Recognize that the big decisions you ask your clients to make are made up of several smaller ones. Instead of putting your buyer in the position of having to make one big, overwhelming decision, give them a series that are less threatening and easier to make but still lead to the same result. It helps turn an anxiety-filled process into one that is much more accessible and less stressful for the buyer.
Not only is it easier for the buyer, but it also creates a more relaxed atmosphere for the seller. By taking one small step at a time, you, as the seller, can be more focused and confident in making a case to continue expanding the conversation. It removes the pressure and allows for a more logical and targeted approach.
Start by landing in a place that feels safe for the buyer and then focus on the next area to expand the conversation or relationship. Once there, look for the next. You see where this goes.
Not only is it a simple approach, but it also removes the greedy stereotype of “go-for-broke” salespeople. Instead, this allows salespeople the time and pace to earn the trust and confidence of the buyer because of the respect they show to the difficulty of the job with which buyers are tasked.
A prospect in motion stays in motion
Because buyers are so overwhelmed by big decisions, the opportunities producers do have in the pipeline tend to stagnate. Having smaller, albeit more, decisions serves as a force to keep the prospect moving forward.
Here’s an example.
- Let’s assume you get a prospect’s attention based on a known problem they have; maybe it’s compliance. You land on this issue as a starting point for a conversation. Instead of going for broke by offering a compliance solution and expecting the prospect to give you a broker-of-record letter, expand the conversation to the next logical landing point.
- During the compliance conversation, let them know this is only one of many ways in which you help clients. Before you have given away the compliance solution, ask for an opportunity to share the other problems you can solve.
- As you educate them on the importance of addressing these additional areas, expand the conversation to the obvious next phase of determining whether or not they are unknowingly suffering from any other problems. Make the next landing point a conversation where you analyze their situation in detail, providing clarity as to which areas are working well for them and which aren’t.
- With a new awareness of their broader challenges, expand the conversation once again by offering to build a Plan of Improvement, detailing how you would propose addressing their problems and building them a path to improved results.
- As you share your ability to fix their problems, now is the time to expand the conversation to one of a working relationship. At this point, you have finally earned the opportunity to ask for their business. “We have identified several areas where you need better results than you are getting today. If you agree we provide a clear path to better results, is it reasonable to assume we will start working together to put our plan in place?”
See how this keeps the opportunity in motion?
- When a prospect realizes you can help them understand their business more thoroughly, how long do you think they will want to wait to have that conversation?
- When they become aware of challenges holding them back, how long do you think they will want to wait to learn of possible solutions?
- When they can see how your plan of solutions will lead to improved results in their business, how long do you think they will want to wait to get started?
- And, maybe the best part of all, when you deliver a buying process that is this comfortable, how willing do you think they will be to introduce you to other business owners?
It takes a process
I’m sure you’re realizing that land and expand is nothing more than following a well thought out, buyer-focused sales process. You can’t land and expand if you’re simply out there winging it.
As we always say, as important as it is for salespeople to have a sales process to follow, it is way more important to have a buying process for the buyers to follow.