Consultative, or needs-based, selling focuses on building positive customer relationships by providing a product that solves their problems. This sales approach relies on four simple principles based on psychology:
- Ask questions
- Listen to the answers
- Provide a solution
- Leave the decision up to the customer
Consultative selling means gaining information about pain points, listening when customers describe their insurance problems and needs, and providing a tailored solution but not pushing aggressively to sell a product.
With this sales method, the stereotypical, pushy salesperson no longer has a place in the insurance industry. Consultative selling puts the customer at the center of the sales process instead of the agency’s bottom line.
Past Woes Led To Welcome Change
Aggressive insurance selling in the past has left many people with a bad taste in their mouths. Some can still vividly recall meeting with a sales agent after a cold call, only to be bombarded with jargon and given something of an ultimatum to buy a policy.
The good news is that the insurance industry continues to evolve for the better. Many insurance agencies now apply the concepts of consultative selling to better understand and serve client needs.
Why Consultative Selling Works Well In Insurance
Consultative selling can technically work in any industry but fares particularly well in the insurance sector. This is mainly because insurance, a highly personalized product, can be tailored to fit even the most unique circumstances and requirements. These solutions typically come after sales agents take the time to listen to client needs, concerns, and priorities.
Consultative selling also establishes sales agents as trusted advisors. Modern insurance agents don’t push for sales but advocate for their customers. This means they have their customers’ best interests at heart, and they’re not just after a quick commission.
Furthermore, because of the complex nature of insurance policies, customers often feel overwhelmed by the technical terms and fine print. Consultative selling takes the focus away from the jargon and redirects it toward education. Agents take the time to explain coverage options, benefits, and potential pitfalls, allowing clients to make better decisions.
Consultative selling also highlight solutions over products. In the past, agents would focus on pushing specific policies. On the other hand, consultative selling centers on providing the best solution to customers’ problems. The consultation between agents and potential customers focuses on identifying risks and offering insurance packages that effectively eliminate them.
Lastly, modern insurance customers want personalized experiences and products. They research what insurance agencies should offer and modify their expectations accordingly. Consultative selling aligns perfectly with evolving customer demands and provides products based on specific requirements.
Consultative Selling Success
Many companies that have already approached their sales process in a consultative way have reported a significant increase in customer retention and satisfaction. Some experienced higher profits than their competitors, while others reported an increase in policy renewals over a determined period.
Challenges and How to Overcome Them
No sales strategy comes without challenges, and consultative selling is no exception. One of the biggest issues insurance agents face is the time it takes to build a strong relationship with a customer using consultative strategies. Agents have targets to reach, and using the consultative selling method might make this goal harder to achieve every month.
However, while it may take longer to close a deal, the payoff typically comes in long-term customer loyalty, which is well worth it.
Another hurdle is the need for continuous education and staying on top of changes in the insurance world. While ensuring an excellent customer experience, agents must also know about new policy regulations and trends to provide the best possible advice. With only so many hours in a day, agents may become overwhelmed with everything they have to do.
Overcoming these challenges relies on planning, dedication, persistence, and a commitment to providing the best service and products. Agencies can help their agents achieve their goals through training and access to reliable resources.
The Future of Consultative Selling in Insurance
Looking ahead, it’s clear that consultative selling will continue to drive much-needed transformation in the insurance industry. In a world where customer experiences come first, insurance agencies that prioritize solutions will continue to outsell the competition.
Moreover, technology will continue to make consultative selling easier. With ongoing AI advancements and data analytics, agents will gain deeper insights into changing customer needs and preferences, allowing them to personalize their products further.
The Bottom Line
If you’re still on the fence about consultative selling, there has never been a better time to implement it. Insurance products provide a lifeline in an uncertain world, and consultative selling methods can help you introduce your unique policies to potential customers.
While selling is what your agents do daily, they also provide peace of mind and help protect what matters most to their clients. That is the true power of consultative selling.