Producer’s Role – Part I which is our first article of our series defining the characteristics of several types of producers and suggested that the characteristic of the producer should fit the culture of the agency. If not, the mismatch will cause strife until the producer leaves the agency.
In this issue, we will address the first steps in any producer’s role in selling insurance in an agency; The Pre-Visit Pre-Work.
For those producers young enough to have been ‘gamers’ in their youth, we suggest that every prospect be treated like a game challenge. Your goal is to know as much about the prospect as you possibly can to overcome the natural reluctance to forming a relationship with a prospect and to build a trust relationship as quickly as possible.
Whether the producer is a hunter, circling for a kill, a farmer, nurturing young seedlings, or a cowboy, herding prospects toward their eventual decision to purchase from you, rushing in with gun in hand will rarely get you the “win” you desire.
THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND
The tendency for companies to expound about their history, their products and their personalities in their website and through social media provides a fertile ground for the collection of intelligence regarding the prospect that you intend to mature into a client. Create a file long before you make contact with the prospect and play the game of knowing more about the client than he knows about himself. Make sure you look up “news” about the prospect such as the owners, the key players the history of the agency as well as general searches. This will provide you more general interest about hobbies, politics, social and cultural interests, etc.
Only when you have enough intelligence do you take the next steps to gain introduction to the prospect.
MAKE SURE THE PROSPECT KNOWS YOU!
A letter is NOT a marketing campaign. A marketing campaign is not implemented to sell anything.
A campaign is a series of communications, the goal of which is to make the prospect familiar with the agency and the producer which will make the prospect desirous to speak to you. We recommend a series of no less than five communications/year for a three year period during which you will also make physical contact with the prospect in a variety of ways to become first acquaintances, then friends and finally confidants with a trust relationship – and this happens before you sell anything!
The purpose of the marketing campaign is a) to make your name familiar to the prospect when you call on him, b) to reflect the differences between you and your competitors, c) to reflect the knowledge and expertise that you have (as an agency, not as an individual (unless you’re the only individual in the agency) that could solve their problems.
This is the point at which you say, “Wait a minute! I don’t write large accounts! Most of my business will only bring me a few hundred dollars of commission – not enough to justify the work that goes into all this pre-work. Anyway, everyone knows me and who we are as an agency.”
The answer is that Relationship Sales is NOT magic or an easy way to riches. Relationship Selling is HARD. But it is also the most certain way of achieving 80%+ closing rates and nearly 100% controllable customer retention. We all know that those who live by the PRICE also die by the PRICE. That’s why the most successful producers of every generation will quickly admit that they sell by relationship, not by price.
So if your goal is to be busy, keep quoting. You will always find prospects willing to check their current providers by using your time. But if your goal is to gain more customers every year, the Asset Protection Model of Relationship Selling is the certain way of both keeping busy and being the most productive insurance professional possible.