Every employee in an agency is responsible for sales, whether that word is included as a part of their job title or not. By being efficient, thorough, knowledgeable, friendly and accurate, each and every employee bolsters the image of the agency, the trust between agency and target client, and helps to create sales. But employees who handle phone quotes, those individuals who act as a liaison between a prospect's curiosity about policies and price and a completed application, don't just help make sales-they actually have the unique opportunity to increase sales. If you aren't sure how to take advantage of this interesting position, try the following ideas.
- Make the experience personal: No client wants to be seen as just a number. All consumers want to stand out, want to be appreciated, and want to be treated like an individual. When you are giving a phone quote, don't be robotic about delivering numbers. Be engaging. Draw the person into a little small talk, and understand that the numbers you give them don't simply represent a string of data-they are the key to helping the caller retain his or her assets, live longer and create a legacy.
- Get to the source: While getting new clients is vital to an agency's success, persistency is also important. When a potential customer calls for a quote, ask them how they heard about your agency. If one of your existing clients recommended you, they should be thanked for making the recommendation. If it wasn't an existing client, take note of what compelled the customer to call. Whatever it was, it's a tool that is working and those are results that should be tracked.
- Find out why the person made the call: Every phone quote request you receive is a story. Behind that phone call is a plot with many different characters, struggles and dramas. Your goal is to understand the relevant parts of the story so that you can create the conclusion. While one customer might be dealing with the realities of aging and the desire to leave a legacy for her children, another could have had a falling out with a former agent and is now looking for a new agency. Understanding the background and impetus for the call will not only help you make suggestions and handle the client in a way that makes them happy, it will also help you find out what they do and don't like in terms of customer service and policy maintenance. This is information you can note in their file and that will help your agency win the customer and keep them.
- Get competitive: It's important to understand what you are up against when it comes time to market to a consumer. When you give out phone quotes, ask if the caller has gotten any quotes from other agencies and try to get details on the differences. Stick to a non-invasive method of inquiring and listen for any verbal cues that alert you to a customer's discomfort with the questions.
- Sell your agency: When you've got a caller on the phone, it may be your agency's last chance to sell itself. Give the caller your website and blog address; let them know if you have a newsletter they can sign up for or any instructional videos online. Make sure you understand your agency's value proposition-those aspects that set you apart from your competitors-and that you exhibit these traits in all your phone conversations.
- Follow-up: Follow your agency's instructions on prospect follow-up, including adding the client to a drip email marketing list or getting his or her name and information to a sales agent. Also, let the caller know what the next steps are if they should decide to get a policy through your agency. Don't leave the caller wondering what they should do next.
About the Author
AnMarie Bozick, CIC, manages ITC’s rating products, including TurboRater and TurboRater for Websites. She has more than 20 years of property and casualty insurance experience, including owning her own agency and serving as president of the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Texas. She joined ITC in 2008.More Content by AnMarie Bozick, CIC