How To Know Your Customers Better
We live in an age of “big data,” where computers can crunch more information and supposedly paint a more vivid picture of prospects and clients than ever before. Unfortunately, some agents slough off these claims and instead rely on a few “tried and true” data points on which they base their whole outreach efforts. The truth is that learning as much about your customer as possible works, and that goes well beyond their age, sex, and home/renter status. To help out, we’ve put together some tips that should help you dig deeper and learn things about your customer that will lead to retention and loyalty. Let’s get started!
- Latch on to personal data.
Originally, I was going to call this subheading simply, “Collect data.” But then I realized that was something successful agents are already doing. No, this had to go further than a simple data collection report. It had to get to the heart of who that insurance lead/customer is as a person. And the only way to really know that is to have a conversation with them. Listen to the things that they reveal about themselves and their family, and latch on to nuggets of information that build a bond. If they just purchased a new car, ask them why they chose that particular car. If there is a family vacation coming up, ask them where they’re going and why. If it’s somewhere you’ve been before, make that connection but be careful not to allow the conversation to be all about you. You want them doing most of the talking and you doing most of the listening.
- Study clients before you sit down with them.
This tip is more for the agent, who has already turned the prospect into a customer and made those initial connections. Hopefully, you did the smart thing afterward and wrote down anything interesting about your customer in a spreadsheet or document that you can refer back to. Then, when you’ve scheduled a sit-down or an annual review, take some time to go over that information and come up with a question or two that personalizes the conversation. The customer will appreciate that you pay attention, and customers that appreciate you are much less likely to bail at renewal time.
- Spend some time delving into your client’s interests.
If you’ve been able to decipher something that your client likes to do, why not spend part of an afternoon with that hobby or interest? You don’t have to make it a regular thing, but it can give you more to talk about when you’re with the customer, and you may even find a new pastime in the process. (Fishing, hunting, golf, blogging, watching a few episodes of their favorite TV show — this can be quite fun.)
- Be real with them.
But wait! Didn’t I just tell you to pursue one of your client’s interests — as in something they like but you’ve never tried before? Now you’re telling me to be real with them — isn’t that a little phony? Actually it isn’t, and I’ll tell you why. When you watch those first couple of episodes of their favorite show or rent a boat to do a little deep sea fishing, you’re building a real experience that you can then use to deepen that relationship with your client. In other words, you are creating an authentic experience. That said, you should strive to be as real and sincere with your customers as possible. This might include empathizing with them about some aspect of the insurance game that you (and they) don’t like, or it could simply be a free-flowing conversation where you trade divorce stories with one another. Let them see you be human, so they don’t pigeonhole you as “some salesman.”
- Make time for talk.
I know sometimes the last thing you want to do is talk to people. It doesn’t feel productive, and you’ve been doing it all day, and all you can think about is how you’d like to shut the door to your office and take a nap. We all go through it. But know this: making time to talk to your clients — even when the conversation goes off in a non-business-y direction — is a lot more productive than you realize. Anything you can do to engage them will help create long-term clients and enough referrals to keep you comfortable for quite some time. So don’t try to rush your customers out the door when you’re lucky enough to have them there. Don’t keep them, particularly if they have to go somewhere, but do try to move the talk beyond their insurance policies.
Your customers don’t have to be close, personal friends for you to connect with them and build a closeness that makes them want to stay come renewal time. By following the tips presented here, I think you’ll like what it does for your business, and you’ll enjoy the people who are keeping you in business a lot more.