The following blog post is from Agency Performance Partners, the company run by this year’s Young Agents Development Conference keynote speaker, Kelly Donahue-Piro. Don’t miss Kelly’s sessions at this year’s event – space is still available, so register today!
Every agency I have met wants to boost cross-selling, but not all front line staff have been given the tools to make that wish a reality. We all know a growing agency is more fun to work at, and a better trained team helps fuel growth. Here, at Agency Performance Partners, we are all about partnering with agencies in the US and Canada to help give them the tools to perform – including cross-selling!
Before we dive into the three best insurance cross-selling scripts we coach our clients on, let’s start by identifying why cross-selling is important, but also why cross-selling is a challenge.
Why Is Cross-Selling Important
Because people make mistakes and no one can control Mother Nature.
Growing the agency is always important, but protecting what our clients work hard for has to be the primary motivation. It’s not the client’s responsibility to know what insurance they need – it’s ours to educate them, so that they can make a decision. Here are the top reasons why we need to embrace cross-selling and reduce the thought that we are “too busy” to make recommendations to our clients:
- Revenue: While it’s not the only reason, it is important. Every person in the agency has the power to generate opportunity. If we can sell more to our current clients, we can best protect them and help the agency grow.
- Renewal: The policies that tend to take the biggest rate increases are monoline policies. We can help reduce those inbound calls where clients are upset about their renewals premium by educating them about their options to combine and save.
- Better Quality Customer: When you have a cross-sold account, they understand your value! Also, the more customers we can earn that believe in value over price for insurance, the more we want them!
- Ethics: Plain and simple – it’s the right thing to do. When we see something not covered or underinsured, we MUST let people know. They rely on us. If your doctor didn’t mention something to you, would you be upset? I bet you would!
- Because they need it: Most of the time, they are buying the other policy from someone. Why not us? If they can also combine and simplify their lives, isn’t that reason enough to offer?
- Self Esteem: Isn’t winning other lines fun? Getting to “yes” means we have more self esteem. We hear more congrats from agency leadership.
- Keep The Competition Away: Who wants to be in battle with another agent? Not me! When we have all their policies, we can best advise the client and keep that competition far away!
Why Is Cross-Selling Difficult
It’s always easiest to sell more to someone who has already said “yes” to you. However, that doesn’t mean that cross-selling doesn’t come with its own challenges to which we must rise and champion! Just because it’s not easy, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it. Sometimes we must get out of our comfort zone to best protect the client. We have assembled this list of challenges with cross-selling, as well as some ideas, to help you push through any discomfort!
- Don’t Want to Sound Pushy: You have a client with whom you have a perfectly lovely relationship. If you ask for another line, the happy relationship may change to a frightening sales process. Here is the solution: if you don’t want to sound pushy, don’t sound pushy. There are several ways to educate someone on other lines that don’t make you sound like a used car salesman. It’s your choice how you sound.
- Don’t Believe in the Product: It’s very hard to sell something you don’t believe in. However, you aren’t the client! For example, you may not have flood insurance, but this doesn’t mean the client shouldn’t know it’s an option for them. It’s critical we understand that we aren’t selling to ourselves. We are selling to an entirely different person with different fears, concerns, and budgets. Everyone should know what options they have to make the best decision for themselves.
- Scared of Rejection: For most account managers, they love the service side, because there is limited rejection. Hearing “no” is hard. I want you to think of “no” as “not right now”. You are planting an entire crop to pick from in the future. In addition, you’re protecting the agency’s E&O and giving your client the education they need to make decisions that are in their best interest.
- Money For Insurance: Sure, you may hear how people can’t afford their insurance, but there are two types of price people: 1) They truly can’t afford it: the challenge here is, if they can’t afford it, they also can’t afford a claim. We need to stop and still provide them the education they need to make a decision. 2) They don’t want to pay for it: this is FAR more likely. We all want to spend our money on something other than insurance, like a vacation, shoes, or fancy dinners. But, alas, we are adults and protecting our paycheck is also important.
- Not Enough Time: We are so busy that we can’t make recommendations? If this is the case, let’s all close up shop – the Independent channel is dying. Really? People come to us for the personal touch. Being busy is in our head. I have seen too many people spend 10 minutes chatting at the coffee maker, but not have time to cross-sell. Let’s be really honest: what you are saying is that it’s uncomfortable and I would prefer not to do it, so I’m making a big old excuse.
- Unclear on How to Explain the Policy: For the policies you don’t touch all the time, explaining the coverages can be difficult. But I bet somewhere in your office, there is someone who can help guide you. There is only one way to learn and that’s to try. Don’t back away from policies that aren’t routine. The client still needs the coverage!
- I Hate Sales: There are some of you reading this who are just plain shaking their heads at everything they have read to this point. If you are a sales hater, I’m going to challenge you with this: what do you do when someone wants to reduce coverage? I bet you go into all-out “mom guilt” mode to tell the person exactly why they cannot do this and you win 99% of the time. FYI: that’s a way harder sale than offering someone a 15% discount for combining policies…. Just sayin’!
3 Scripts To Make A Cross-Sell A “Yes!”
Now that it’s all out on the table, let’s get the job done!
Did you know the person answering the phone can play a critical role in teeing up cross-sells? Well, yes, they can. When they are looking up the policy in the management system and see only 1 line or multiple lines, even they can make a recommendation. Here’s a little script tip for you:
“Before I transfer you, I noticed you don’t have life insurance with us. I would hate for that to be an issue in the future. Make sure you ask your agent about what life insurance options we have – it’s often less than you think! Let me get AGENT NAME for you. (Receptionist then warm transfers the call and alerts the agent).”
It’s that easy for your front line team member to start the conversation!
This is a great script for endorsement calls, account reviews, or just generally, when you see something, say something!
“Hi, Mr. XYZ. I was just looking at your account and, because you have a swimming pool, I always want to recommend an umbrella policy. What this means for you is, if there were ever an accident, you would have another $1 million in protection after your home insurance policy runs out at $500k. With people suing more than ever today, for $20 per month, wouldn’t you agree we should add that on?” SILENCE
You have to make some of the cross-selling personal, and nail the silence at the end! If you speak, you will say something like, “I’ll send you a quote to think about it.” But, that’s not a strong sales closing line!
Rate Increase Call Where You Can Cross-Sell For a Discount
This one may be the most challenging. Someone is mad that their rate went up and you want to sell them more. By all means, bust out your insurance ninja suit – this is gonna go down. But we have here a great script on how to make it all work:
“So, we can take a look at your options. May I ask a few questions to make sure you aren’t missing any key discounts, as your life has probably changed a bit since we last looked at the policy? It seems like you are missing the largest discount, which is the multi-policy discount. Let me get a bit of quick info from you, so I can review your options, or did you want me to rule out the largest discount?”
You have to nail that last sentence, where they actually have to say, “yes, rule out the largest discount!” Who wants that?
Cross-selling can be intimidating, but it all comes with practice. You can look at our blog or online store for more resources. In addition, our AppX Retention program specializes in an annual account review, where making recommendations becomes easy. If you’re looking to make cross-selling a bigger part of your retention strategy, contact us! We want to partner with you!