Education has lifted the professional knowledge and education levels of all involved in client-facing situations. Yet, despite the compulsory nature of education, the global population still remains underinsured and reluctant to discuss insurance.
The fault of underinsurance in Australia, or even globally, lies with the people.
When I joined the industry in 1987, we were known as insurance agents who represented their particular product provider. The reality was we were salespeople and most people considered the role a step above selling used cars in integrity.
Representative associations wanted to have agents perceived as professionals on a level similar to lawyers and accountants, and so they introduced education standards which many took up. In the following years, minimum education standards became compulsory for everyone providing advice.
Today, this education has lifted the professional knowledge and education levels of all involved in client-facing situations. Yet, despite the compulsory nature of education, the global population still remains underinsured and reluctant to discuss insurance.
The people who see prospects and clients are now supposedly super qualified in terms of education, knowledge, experience and training.
At their disposal are all the tools and technology, books and brochures, statistics and historical data about why it is important to have insurance, and yet the world remains underinsured. Many young people who have completed degrees in finance join the industry with dreams and aspirations of earning big-time incomes and driving expensive cars and living the lifestyle. However, not everyone succeeds in the industry and for good reason.
It has become sugar-coated with terminology such as ‘adviser’, ‘planner’, ‘financial services’, which deflect from the truth of the matter at hand. It is ‘the provision of money in the event of an accident, illness or death of an individual who is insured’. It is sold to prospects who become clients. How many people have walked through your door and said, “I want you to write me up for insurance right now because I know how important it is.”
Knowledge and education alone will not convince people to buy. Knowing how to sell is what converts a prospect to a client and will gain their respect and trust. Education alone is not the answer. Uncovering the need and recommending a solution is the job of a needs analysis or function of a computer program, but that doesn’t sell insurance. It just offers a quote, and in today’s environment where fee-for-service is going to become the norm, quotes don’t generate income.
What is selling? It is the ability to convince a prospect to accept your reason for them to part with money to buy your product service or offer. Selling the intangible of insurance has always been one of the hardest things about the insurance industry. Confidence in the profession of being a salesperson should be first and foremost in the integrity of presenting something to sell to someone.
This is not about selling financial services. It is about selling insurance, pure and simple. Accept it. Get over it. Tell people about how good it is and why they need it. When they believe you, they will buy it because they understand why they need it. Tell stories. Ask questions. Elicit emotions. Dig deep. Offer reasons. Don’t use the quote from the computer to sell. It’s just a quote. Sell what insurance can do for them or their family. Paint the picture.
Every day, there is tragedy in the headlines. Ask if those people had insurance. Have your prospect put themselves in the shoes of the person suffering the tragedy. How would they cope? How would their family continue financially?
Don’t be afraid of what people think about those who sell insurance.
Be afraid of what you will think when someone suffers, without insurance.
Be proud to sell insurance. It’s your job.
Nobby Kleinman is chief executive of Money Rules
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