Communication Channels Series 1: Meet on Customer’s Terms
It’s Not About You
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, or so the adage goes. Getting off on the right foot with a new client can create a bond that will last for decades in the insurance industry.
It’s similar to dating in some respects. You want to show interest, but not too much. Your odds of success will be better if you try to please the other person instead of thinking only about yourself. You should always smell good. And communication is key.
How does this translate to client relationships? It means you communicate in the way that works best for them, not for you, whether that’s a face-to-face meeting, email, or by phone. Ask. And once you’ve established their general preference, there’s still more to consider.
A lot of people are most comfortable in their own homes. But some are not, for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’re caring for an ill family member or they’ve got two weeks of dishes stacked in the sink. Or, if your client is a single female, older adult or trauma survivor, he or she may feel safer meeting in a public place.
Instead of “why don’t I stop by your house,” consider presenting options in a neutral way. “We can get together at your home, my office, or a coffee shop or some other business. Where would you be most comfortable meeting?” Let them decide.
Of course, your own safety should always come first. Only offer options where you’d be comfortable, too.
There are numerous reasons to cheer when a client tells you they prefer email:
- You can save a lot of time by reusing or repurposing text.
- You can send email at any time of the day or evening.
- You can attach a lot of information at one time.
We’ll cover specific tips for how and what to email in our next biweekly blog post. But there is one more thing to add—if you’re an “I’m-not-an-email-person,” it’s time to become one. Again, this is about meeting your customer on their terms. Beside, you’ll probably find you like it once you get past your own mental barrier.
Phones have three primary uses nowadays: checking email and the internet, texting and, of course, sending photos on Snapchat. What? Were you thinking talking would be the third use?
Yes, of course. Even though the youngest cohort of insurance customers may not do it much, there are still many clients who enjoy a good phone conversation. So the more flexible you can make your phone hours, the better. People often shop for insurance in the evening or on the weekend. If you are available when they are, your odds of making the sale increase.
And what about texting for business? It’s becoming more commonplace, too. So much so that we’re also going to devote an entire blog post to that topic in a few weeks.
However your customer prefers to communicate, find a way to make it work. Your willingness to listen to their preferences will itself communicate that you are flexible and have their best interests in mind. That alone is a powerful sales tool.
This is the first of three blog posts about communicating with your clients. Look for more on this topic in the coming weeks.