Why Scripts Matter In Selling Insurance
Scripts can seem a little telemarketer-y, but they can also do a lot of good in the life of an insurance agency. We were recently reminded of this fact while reading Andrea Wells’ contribution to the Burand’s Agency E&O Blog over at Insurance Journal.
While discussing tie-in sales, Wells said, “Be extremely clear explaining the agency is only requiring the opportunity to quote both lines, but no requirement exists to purchase both policies from the agency. Advise, if applicable, that if the insured wants a particular homeowners quote the Company requires the customer also purchase an auto policy from the same company. Create a script and train your employees regarding how to address these situations ethically and appropriately.”
There’s the word: script. This is really good advice, not just for managing tie-ins, but also for encouraging teamwork, providing agents with peace of mind, reinforcing product knowledge, thinking like a customer, and helping agents to think on their feet. Let’s look at each one.
They encourage teamwork.
Individuals go it alone. Teams work as a cohesive unit. By creating scripts to guide agents through the sales process, you’re essentially setting expectations for everyone on staff. This ensures that each person is on the same page with regard to handling certain transactions where room for error might exist.
They provide agents with peace of mind.
If an agent has come to you from another agency, from the independent environment, or from out of state, having scripts in place will immediately give them an idea of what new expectations they will face (if any). It also says to the agent that you’re organized, yet flexible in your approach to dealing with customers. (More on flexibility in a moment.)
They reinforce product knowledge.
Well-done scripts cut to the heart of what you sell, who your customers are, and how each product affects the needs of your clientele. Especially when young agents are just starting out, these can be greatly beneficial in quickly getting up to speed on how the agency operates. Through repetition, procedures eventually become ingrained, and once they’re ingrained, it’s much easier to make adjustments as business (or laws) dictate, because there is a starting point of knowledge.
They guide an agent into the mind of a customer.
The best way to sell insurance policies to a customer is to think like a customer. Knowing what their responses will be can help guide an agent in straying from the script and being able to form-fit coverage to the customer’s needs. This is where being flexible really comes in handy. Because when you create scripts for your agency, you anticipate how customers will respond, and how you can answer those responses to win trust. By putting it down on paper (or word processor) and sharing with the rest of your team, you give them a powerful tool in being able to do the same thing. And this really leads to the last point:
Scripts help agents think on their feet.
No script is stagnant. It will need to change over time, or perhaps even be ditched altogether and replaced with something new if there are significant changes to state law. By training your agents to think of a selling script as a starting point — a guide, not a strict word for word plan — you set the example of how to think on one’s feet with the types of customers you represent.
If you run an agency, or if you’re an independent agent, scripts can help you sell better than you did before. That’s not to say you have to use them all the time. Far from it. In a best case scenario, knowledge will be accumulated over time so that the agent’s instincts and customer attentiveness become the two biggest sales tools he needs. But you can never go wrong setting expectations and building a framework for how to do business. That’s essentially what effective scripts do. So if you’re having a hard time with a product — or with guiding your agents on how to sell a product — start with a script and see where it takes you.