What to Know About Building Rapport
Building rapport with your prospect, as a rule, isn’t a bad thing. The more you can get them to like you, the more likely they will be to use you when it comes to getting their insurance needs met. However, there is a time and a place for getting to know your customers better, and when it comes to those initial meet-and-greets/sales presentations, you should tread lightly.
The key is to distinguish the type of rapport that you’re building. There is professional rapport and there is personal rapport. You want to do more of the first and less of the latter, at least at first. As an insurance agent, you are a professional, who can help individuals and families solve financial problems and prepare for the unexpected. That means you need to focus on your expertise and the prospect’s problem first and foremost.
Here are some other tips for building professional rapport.
1. Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes
Never forget why the prospect contacted you in the first place, or why they continued to field your calls/answer your emails after those first few attempts at connecting. The prospect has a problem. They’re looking for the most affordable auto insurance or homeowner’s policy. They want a whole life policy that will leave their family with enough to pay off debts and start over in the event of a tragedy. This may be their first time to shop around, or you may be their fifth or sixth attempt. What is it about the product they’re after that they are struggling to understand? These are great things to consider when it comes to understanding who your prospect is and why they need you.
2. Respect the prospect’s time
Many newbie sales agents will follow the traditional advice of looking for something personal in their prospect’s home or office or even attire to comment on in a phony attempt at establishing rapport. (This is personal rapport by the way.) Stop! There will be time for getting to know your client on a personal, one-on-one basis later. In fact, we would even encourage it. But at this stage of the game, it feels forced and disingenuous. Remember: your prospect isn’t likely to go on shopping for insurance until the cows come home. They realize the risk involved in waiting, but they don’t want to be taken advantage of either. Therefore, whenever and however you meet with them, don’t waste their time with boring small talk. Give them what they want to know, and what they may not be thinking about but should with insurance as it relates to their specific situation.
3. Under-promise, over-deliver
It’s one of the oldest rules of winning at sales, but it still warrants repeating. Under-promise on your products and over-deliver. You don’t want to win by casting your product as the shiniest object in the room because when that shiny object loses its luster, your insurance lead will start chasing after the next shiny thing instead of seeing the value you’ve created for him where he is. As sales coach and author Frank Rambauskas, Jr., says, “I was always afraid to under-promise for a long time. However, once I started doing so, prospects had an immensely higher level of trust in me and remained far more loyal.” Loyalty is the key to establishing clients, who are with you for the long haul. And if the insurance field has taught us anything in the digital age, it’s that clients feeling undervalued will be shopping for the next low price — regardless of value — in two or three short years. By sticking with what works, in this case, you are left with a more satisfied clientele, and those are the types of people who become your referral machines down the road.
Building rapport is a good thing! We hope you take that all-important message from this piece. But be mindful of the type of rapport that you’re building if you want the relationships with your clients to continue well past the five-year mark. Self-identifying with the insurance lead, respecting their time, and over-delivering on service and value, will help you get there.