How To Institutionalize Your Insurance Customers

If you are an independent agent working today, it can be challenging building up a long-term client list if you don’t know how to institutionalize your customers. By “institutionalize,” I don’t mean have them locked up, of course; no, I mean you have to create a customer that isn’t going to go shopping for something new in six months or a year — someone who will be your client for life, or at least the life of your career. So how do you do it?

We’ll start by assuming that you already have leads and that you’re already in discussion with the prospect. From there, use the following techniques.


One: Make his problems your own.

While offering discounts for multiple products is a huge selling point, a client can get that at virtually any large insurance provider. What you should be doing is asking how you can stand out from the pack. One of the best ways of doing this is to get down on a personal level with your client. Make his problems your own in the sense that you know what he’s going through and what products he will need today, tomorrow, and 10 years from now. Remember that while common characteristics are normal across different groups of people, your client is still an individual and not a demographic. Know in a general sense what is keeping him up at night, but be prepared to drill down into the nitty gritty and really get to know your client as a person. Also, make as many connections as you can to your own experiences or what your experiences were when you shared the same age.


Two: Know how to make the complex simple.

Read off the fine print of an insurance policy word-for-word to your prospect, and you’re liable to see his eyes glaze over. This isn’t good. You don’t want him to leave your office with more questions than answers. That’s why you must acquire the gift of making the complex simple. Relate to your prospects how each part of a policy works — the advantages and the restrictions — and how certain coverages can work together for greater peace of mind.


Three: Show the advantages of multiple policy discounts in real terms.

Don’t think of it as a percentage off. Think of it in real terms as in how it affects a family’s specific budget and what options those savings will open up to family planning and other financial needs. If you care about the growth, peace of mind, and stability of the client and the clients’ family, then that will forge a bond of trust to strengthen the overall relationship.


In Summary

I’ll close with my own personal example.

I am an institutionalized customer, and proud of it. How did I get that way?

In my case, I routinely get a call from my agent every six to 12 months hoping to touch base with me about where I’m at in my life cycle and what policies and coverage amounts are suitable to my age and situation. When I walk in his office, there is never a look of cluelessness on his face. He calls me by my first name, he knows things about my family life, he asks me how “that new baby” and my business is going. He retains personal data about me — not in a spreadsheet, but in his head. While he doesn’t know everything about me, nor does he pretend to, he knows enough to come across as genuine and caring. I get a sense he’s looking out for my best interests. Could I find cheaper insurance? Probably. You always can, especially with the power of technology. But I’m not even looking because I trust this guy. He’s worked hard to develop that trust, and ultimately it has paid off.

If you want to institutionalize your insurance customers, follow his lead.

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