Insurance is an emotional topic. Safety, certainty, control, agitation, frustration, and fear are only a few of the many feelings people experience while figuring out if they need insurance.
Something to consider: emotions tend to be the driving force behind most of our decisions. Both positive and negative emotions have the power to greatly influence whether or not your client decides to purchase insurance.
As an insurance producer, turning leads into satisfied customers is the end-goal. However, it should not be the means by which you drive your sales pitch or marketing strategy. No matter how many figures you throw at leads or how sophisticated you sound, people know when they’re being used for a quick sale. And due to popular stigmas, your role as a salesperson could hinder your ability to help someone who needs insurance.
So how do you approach an insurance sale genuinely while understanding the exact needs of a client? When it comes to this emotional topic, simply selling the insurance isn’t enough. You have to get psyched!
I’m not saying you should hug potential clients or dump Gatorade over the heads of new customers. However, adopting a psychological approach with the end-goal to help your client, rather than sell to your client, creates a stronger bond of understanding, which can potentially lead to more successful sales.
1. Understand the Need, Not the Sale
Delete “sale” and all variations of the word from your vocabulary. In fact, forget you’re even “selling” insurance. Instead, what you’re actually doing is satisfying a need for people, and in many cases, a need for their loved ones as well.
Now consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which states that there are four basic elements a person needs in order to achieve their full potential:
a. Physiological needs: Food, water, sleep
b. Safety needs: Security, safety, stability, freedom from fear
c. Belongingness and love needs: Intimate relationships, friends
d. Esteem needs: Prestige and feeling of accomplishment
According to Maslow’s theory, only when these needs are met can a person move on to the fifth level of self-actualization (achieving one’s full potential).
When you think about it, insurance fits well with the second-level of Maslow’s Theory—safety needs. From the perspective of your clients, insurance is a necessity required to reach their full potential—self-actualization.
This is why it’s imperative to view your “sales” as “providing a need.” To your clients this is the means to silence any fears they have about their security. Take this into consideration before approaching your clients. Remember that you’re providing more than insurance. You’re providing security, stability, and freedom from fear of the unknown.
2. Listen Empathetically
After discovering the nature of your clients’ needs, it’s time to understand the details of their personal stories—their perspectives. Who are they? What do they do? How do they feel about their current situation?
It’s more than listening. It’s empathetic listening.
Empathetic listening is connecting with someone both emotionally and cognitively—being able to identify another’s emotional state while having a conversation. The difference between this and active listening is that empathetic listening is not about creating a dialogue. Rather, it’s all about the other person (your client) and what he or she is trying to communicate.
By focusing on your clients’ situations, you’re likely to establish a better understanding of what they need. Here are a few strategies to employ when practicing empathetic listening:
a. Pay attention to body language. Are they uncomfortable with their arms folded?
b. Refrain from quick solutions.
c. Use open-ended questions.
d. Ask for more information.
e. Paraphrase their words to show them you understand.
3. Know Your Authority, Persuade with Principles
Once you understand your clients’ needs and have connected with them on a cognitive and emotional level, it’s time to persuade them to purchase a policy.
Remember, it’s not about selling your product. It’s about providing a solution. With that being said, it’s beneficial to position yourself as an insurance advisor—not a salesperson. It’s all about flexing your expertise in a way that’s genuine. People look toward experts and figures of authority for direction to their issues.
In fact, following authority is more ingrained in our brains than we tend to acknowledge. Dr. Robert Cialdini, psychologist and author of The Psychology of Persuasion, discovered this and created the Six Principles of Persuasion: authority, reciprocity, social proof, commitment/ consistency, liking, and scarcity.
His idea for authority suggests that people tend to respect authorities, titles, and follow the leadership of experts.
Cialdini’s case draws upon many different psychological experiments. In this case, the Milgram Experiment, a study conducted in 1961, discovered that people are likely to follow those in authority or those who appear in authority. In other words, it’s a psychological predisposition we all share.
Understand your authority to position yourself as trustworthy insurance adviser. Having a sense of authority over your leads as well as your products will help you:
a. Gain respect for your expertise in insurance
b. Know what’s best for your client
Being in a position of authority gives you an advantage to earning your clients’ respect, so do not abuse this power. Remember, your goal is to help your clients, not to manipulate them into a sale. Persuading clients to purchase insurance that doesn’t fit well with their personal stories is exploiting them as consumers.
Not only is this an abuse of your authority, but a violation of integrity.
Once you understand your position as an insurance authority, consider applying the other principles into your strategy:
● Scarcity: Point out the financial risks of not having insurance.
● Commitment /Consistency: Begin with small requests, like asking clients to fill out a contact form, before building up to the sales pitch.
● Liking: Be polite and respectable. Empathetic listening goes a long way here.
● Reciprocity: Provide recognition of some sort to thank clients for their initial interest.
● Social Proof: Integrate statistics about which products are most popular and why.
Approaching insurance from a psychological angle can lead to better connections with leads and clients, thus resulting in successful sales. It’s important to understand the nature of your clients’ needs and listen to their personal stories before advising possible solutions. Remember, it’s not about making the sale. It’s about satisfying a need.
Now, go out and get psyched about insurance!