How To Develop a Great Relationship With Your Clients

One of the most important things an agent can do is to develop a trusted partnership with their clients. A trusted relationship does not come quickly and means agents and their clients must look differently at the insurance buying process. There are many things an agent can do to build productive relationships with their clients.

Agents Must Take Action

Listen To Your Clients. The best way to know and understand your clients is to ask questions then listen to them.

Spend Time With Them. Agents need to make time for their clients besides just the renewal. We recommend you find ways to touch your clients monthly, with a newsletter, card, visit, industry gathering or a personal visit.

Get Your Team Connected To Their Team. It is often a great idea to have your agency team, and your client’s associates meet to get to know each other. This can be done at a social event or something like a lunch and learn.

Do Something Without Being Asked. Agents tend to get in a mindset of insurance, stop that way of thinking. If you just finished reading a good business or management book give a copy to your client. If you are heading off to a seminar, ask your client to go with you.

Be A Problem Solver. Get educated in your client’s industry, and then you are better able to help them solves all kinds of problems other than insurance.

Be Willing To Sell Less Insurance. This a tough one for agents to get over. But a trusted relationship starts with your client believing you are interested in what is best for them, not the agent selling more insurance. There are many other risks and none risk solution to your client s issues and concerns, get educated in these and be willing to educate and inform rather than sell.

If agents started to practice these six items, clients would become more interested in sharing all of their concerns, and you will become a valued business partner.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”– Dale Carnegie

Reichley insurance believes insurance is more than a transaction. Insurance involves a trusted relationship built on a promise to put people before policies. Our promise is to listen to you, identify your risks and provide solutions. Every employee has the heart of a teacher. Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

Perk Reichley and Bob Lilly

#insurance #riskmanagement #customerservice #busienssinsurance #selling #educating

 

What Is Your Value Proposition?

Most business owners can see an insurance agent coming a mile away. Agents, that is not a good thing. Insurance buyers have created a defense mechanism that makes it hard for agents get through. The primary reason for this is agents are far too often just interested in selling a product, not providing a solution.  Business owners don’t want to feel like they are a number or that the agent is only there to make a sale. Business owners want to be understood, they want to be educated, supported, and they want a trusted advisor.

Here is what has become the “industries” value proposition

  • Save 10 percent 15 minute or less
  • It is so easy, even a caveman can do it
  • You name your price
  • It is so simple a lizard can guide you
  • We have a special gun, and it knows how to save you money

A value proposition is what makes your agency unique and explains why someone would want to do business with you.

One way an agent can help is to develop a value proposition. Your value proposition should go beyond the product pitch and go deeper into the why and how you are an agent. When you build your unique value proposition, you need to start with answering a few questions

  1. Who are your clients?
  2. How do you help your clients?
  3. What problems do you solve?
  4. Why are you different than other agents?
  5. What services other than insurance do you offer?
  6. Why would anyone do business with you?

These are not value propositions

  • We have been in business for 50 years
  • We are a third generation agency
  • We have more markets
  • We are local

Here is our value proposition

  • We listen to your needs
  • We place people before policies
  • Insurance is a promise, not a product
  • We would rather educate you than sell you
  • There is no one size fits all insurance product

The benefits of redefining your value proposition are that clients will see it and it will enable you to build longer more valued relationships.

Reichley insurance believes insurance is more than a transaction. Insurance involves a trusted relationship built on a promise to put people before policies. Our promise is to listen to you, identify your risks and provide solutions. Every employee has the heart of a teacher. Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

Perk Reichley and Bob Lilly

#insurance #riskmanagement #customerservice #busienssinsurance #selling #educating

 

Insurance Is About Peace of Mind and Trust

We have been telling readers that we believe insurance is more about trust, relationships, and value than it is about a policy.  A recent article in PropertyCasualty360.com, by Brent Kelly confirms this concept.

For many people, buying something tends to be both emotional and financial.  With insurance, some people may buy a brand or base their buying decision on a TV commercial.  While other people may buy insurance with a focus on price, they want the lowest cost possible.  Mr. Kelly correctly points out that buying insurance has some of both the emotional and financial elements.

Insurance is a promise from the insurer to perform in the event of a loss, and insurance offers security to the buyer that when something bad happens, all is ok.

We believe that a promise and security are important enough to mandate a conversation with a professional agent who understands the importance of education.

So, why do most people view insurance as a transactional product?—because the insurance industry has trained consumers to view it as such with phrases like:

  • “Save 10%.”
  • “We will quote your insurance in 15 minutes.”
  • “Get a quick quote.”
  • “Apples to apples.”

Insurance companies and agents use these terms and others every day.  “They are catchy, easy for the consumer to understand and takes little effort,” according to Mr. Kelly.

The time has come to use new insurance buying terms like:

  • “I educate my clients about risk”
  • “Insurance is not your only option”
  • “Exclusions matter”
  • “Can I explain your cost of risk?”
  • “I don’t take orders, I provide peace of mind”

Reichley insurance believes insurance is more than a transaction. Insurance involves a trusted relationship built on a promise to put people before policies. Our promise is to listen to you, identify your risks and provide solutions. Every employee has the heart of a teacher. Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

How You, The Customer, Benefits From Hiring A Trusted Advisor

Over the past year or so, we have been discussing the importance of looking at insurance as a service rather than a product.  One area we have not spent much time on is how this adds value and benefit to the customer.

It would seem to me that every family, business owner, or business manager would want to have the following benefits:

  • The complex becomes clear. When you have a relationship with the agent who is serving you, they will make the complex world of insurance understandable.  Only an agent who educates first will be able to help you understand your risk and how best to manage it.  The trusted advisor cuts through the clutter to find the right solution that will solve your problem.
  • Is Insurance the only option? Clients may not always understand that there may be other ways to handle a risk.  A trusted advisor is in the education business—not the selling insurance business.
  • Value-added benefits. With a trusted advisor, you the buyer will have all the resources and knowledge of the agent and his/her team.  You will have help in understanding the buying process, creating of solutions that are designed for you, and support in bringing recommendations to others in your organization.
  • You have access to other experts. Wouldn’t it be great if your agent brought to your team attorneys, accountants, claims experts, loss control professionals and more?  Well, a trusted advisor will do just that.

This is a different mindset for the buyer and agent, but when done correctly it can provide real benefits to your family, business, and life.

Reichley insurance believes insurance is more than a transaction. Insurance involves a trusted relationship built on a promise to put people before policies. Our promise is to listen to you, identify your risks and provide solutions. Every employee has the heart of a teacher. Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

What Do The Solar Eclipse And Insurance Have In Common?

The world recently experienced the Solar eclipse. We know what the specific time it would happen and where the best place was to view the eclipse was. Did you stop to think, who figured that out? It was a complex process, someone very smart, (NASA) figured out the exact time of the eclipse and where the best places are to view it. The mathematically calculations involved in developing the information is well behind the skills of most people. But aren’t you glad there is someone who understands this so we can enjoy their detailed work?

If the eclipse were insurance, the independent agent would be NASA, the sun and moon would be the insurance companies and the public are the policy holders. Insurance is complex and the professional agent manages the complex for the benefit of the insurance buyer.

Insurance is about a relationship involving three parties; the buyer, the independent agent and the insurance company. Here is how we see the needs of each party.

The Insurance Buyer.  Buyers of insurance want peace of mind and confidence that in the event of a loss everything will be ok.

The Insurance Company.  Insurance companies simply want to insure good risks and are transaction focused. Their decisions are financially focused not relationship focused.

The Independent Agent.  Agents transform the complex so their clients can make educated decisions. Helping the client to understand their risks and providing a number of reasonable solutions are the goals of the agent.

The person best suited to bring these parties together is the independent agent.  The agent knows what risks the insurer desires and can educate the buyer in complex coverage design, safety, and claims management, in order to attract the best insurer option.  It is about building a trusted relationship that allows transparency between all parties.

Reichley insurance believes insurance is more than a transaction. Insurance involves a trusted relationship built on a promise to put people before policies. Our promise is to listen to you, identify your risks and provide solutions. Every employee has the heart of a teacher. Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.

 

Agents…Learn to Be “Consultative” Rather Than “Transactional”

For those who have been following my posts over the past few years, thank you!  We have been talking a lot about how to better serve the needs of our customers.

If I had to put customer service into one thought, it would be this; be consultative rather than transactional.  It is hard to get your head around this because it seems like our business is nothing but transactional.  Binders, certificates, billing, claims processes, and renewals all seem to focus on the transaction process.

Transactional selling is about need, price, and closing, and the word “client” is nowhere to be found.  Conversely, consulting is client focused through discovery, education, and problem solving.

Here are a few ways you can break out of the transactional cycle:

  • Educate yourself on the client’s risks and potential needs.
  • Realize that you are creating value, not “low cost.”
  • Develop relationships with your clients.
  • It feels better to help someone—rather than sell someone.
  • There is real satisfaction in creating solutions.

Consultative customer service is the direction in which our industry is going.  Trusted advisors actually generate more business and sales, receive more referrals (via their customers), and have long lasting customer relationships.

As author David Meister tells us, “There is no greater source of distrust than advisors who appear to be more interested in themselves than in trying to be of service to the client…A common trait of a trusted advisor relationship is that the advisor places a higher value on maintaining and preserving the relationship itself than on the outcomes of the current transaction, financial or otherwise.”

How You, The Customer, Benefits From Hiring A Trusted Advisor

Max Integrity Meaning Upper Limit And Virtue

Over the past year or so, we have been discussing the importance of looking at insurance as a service rather than a product.  One area we have not spent much time on is how this adds value and benefit to the customer.

It would seem to me that every family, business owner, or business manager would want to have the following benefits:

  • The complex becomes clear. When you have a relationship with the agent who is serving you, they will make the complex world of insurance understandable.  Only an agent who educates first will be able to help you understand your risk and how best to manage it.  The trusted advisor cuts through the clutter to find the right solution that will solve your problem.
  • Is Insurance the only option? Clients may not always understand that there may be other ways to handle a risk.  A trusted advisor is in the education business—not the selling insurance business.
  • Value-added benefits. With a trusted advisor, you the buyer will have all the resources and knowledge of the agent and his/her team.  You will have help in understanding the buying process, creating of solutions that are designed for you, and support in bringing recommendations to others in your organization.
  • You have access to other experts. Wouldn’t it be great if your agent brought to your team attorneys, accountants, claims experts, loss control professionals and more?  Well, a trusted advisor will do just that.

This is a different mindset for the buyer and agent, but when done correctly it can provide real benefits to your family, business, and life.

Is Insurance A Noble Profession?

We believe without question that insurance is a noble profession. Our reason for this is that the purpose of insurance is to protect society, businesses, and individuals from financial loss and to help them recover when loss or damage occurs.

Google defines “noble” as having, or showing, fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.

“The promotion of human rights was a noble aspiration.”  Synonyms for noble are righteous, virtuous, good, honorable, upright, decent, worthy, moral, ethical, and reputable.

How does this definition of Nobility translate into action? It can be seen in many ways by an agent with Noble attributes. They show up on time and in person to discuss your individual needs. A Noble agent will tell you not to purchase insurance if he believes you do not need it. Insurance Nobility involves education rather than selling.

Here Is How We Define Nobility

Nobility is taking the right course of action when there is an opportunity to take an easier course. In other words, our industry serves a Noble purpose that is to restore those affected back to the same state prior to the loss. Like all industries there are those who look to personally benefit rather than to serve. Since insurance is a transaction of trust and not price, then hiring a Noble agent who serves a Noble cause to serve their customers before themselves, creates a better value and outcome.    We should all strive to earn the respect and trust of our customers and insurance buyers should strive to hire agents that can live up to that trust and respect.

Nobility is something that can only be seen over time, through personal interaction between the agent and customer. The customer with a Noble agent will have an added confidence that their agent is looking out after their needs rather than just collecting a commission.

 

Let’s keep talking!

 

 

 

 

 

Insurance Myth Busters… All I Need Is Replacement Cost Coverage

Most people think, “If my policy has replacement cost coverage I am ok, right?”  Well, maybe not.  The term “replacement cost” means “the cost to replace the property on the same premises with other property of comparable material and quality used for the same purpose.”

A Common Myth

“My policy has replacement cost coverage, so I am covered in the event of a loss.”

Myth Busted

Replacement cost coverage has limitations. The most important limitation is that it will only repair or replace up to the policy limit.  So, if your building has a replacement value of $500,000, but your policy has a limit of $450,000, you are underinsured by $50,000.

There may also be a need for functional or extended replacement cost coverage in certain situations.  A guaranteed replacement cost policy pays whatever it costs to rebuild your building as it was before the fire or other disaster–even if it exceeds the policy limit.

The example above is an excellent example of why it is important to have an agent who knows and understands insurance, and one who can communicate complex issues in “English”. This allows our customers to make intelligent choices regarding their insurance.

Why Insurance Is Not A Product

No matter how hard television advertisements try to convince you that insurance is a product, it is a service. Some advertisers use animals, actors pretending to know insurance, or wild claim examples to convince you that all you need is a simple internet policy and your problems are solved. They claim that the lower the premium is, the better it is for you.

Low premiums do not equate to the right coverage for you. Do not be fooled by actors trying to convince you that insurance purchased online in ten minutes will respond to a serious accident or injury. These advertisements focus on cost rather than the value of the service purchased. What we should be focusing on is the value of a policy in relationship to a purpose.

The value of a policy in relationship to a purpose

  • Get away from the idea that consumers should primarily focus on the price they are willing to pay for coverage, rather than making sure they have the coverage they need.
  • You cannot cover your risk by arbitrarily choosing an amount you are willing to pay for a policy. You need to make sure that your risk is properly covered.
  • Beware of insurance companies who have brands that claim, “We are the cheapest so we must be the best!”, or “We cover that crazy football party claim (less than .00001% of all claims) so we must cover everything else.”
  • We want our clients to understand the purpose of insurance and the value of the many solutions available.

Insurance Is a Promise of Service

  • Agents should help their clients determine why they are buying insurance.
  • Insurance is designed to protect individuals and businesses from the unexpected. It is important to help clients understand possible implications of actions.
  • Agents need to educate clients on the difference between low cost and value. Office Depot aired an advertisement a few years ago that explains this concept.

Source for some of the information in this article; Timothy P. O’Brien