The most successful insurance agents have one thing in common: they regularly meet with their customers for policy review meetings.
It has been proven time and time again that a consistent customer insurance review program elevates an insurance agency by increasing retention, cross-sell opportunities, and referrals.
What about agents (possibly yourself) that have tried implementing a customer insurance review program and didn’t find success? Where did they go wrong?
Today, we’re diving into some common pitfalls that keep an agency’s review program from reaching its full potential.
Vague Goals (or none at all)
Regularly meeting with your customers will be beneficial for your agency.
However, aimlessly going about it most likely won’t result in the significant changes you’re hoping to see.
Set a few specific, measurable goals to get the most out of your customer insurance review program.
How many appointments will you conduct each week or month?
How many new sales opportunities do you want to come from these meetings?
Increased retention rate?
And just as importantly, write your goals down!
Psychologist, Gail Matthews, said that people who write down their goals are 33% more successful in reaching them than those who solely keep their goals in their heads. (Psychology Today)
If you’re not sure where to start, we can help you out with your own customized Customer Insurance Review Plan. We’ve tested out a formula, and all we need is some details about your agency (size of book of business, retention rate, etc.) to help you figure out how many appointments you should have each month.
Get yours here!
Your team isn’t all on board with the program.
Not only should your goals be specific, but your team needs to be on board with these goals for your agency to achieve them.
Writing them down and keeping track of progress will help keep your team on the same page and motivated to accomplish them.
Don’t be afraid to be transparent with your team. Help them to see the big picture and especially the WHY.
When they understand the big picture, their role in it, and the real benefits for them, they’re much more likely to be on board, and your agency is that much more equipped to reach your goals.
Your clients don’t understand the benefits of review meetings.
If your clients don’t see the value they receive from participating in annual review appointments, they won’t choose to review their policies with you.
Helping your clients understand why you invite them in each year for a review will make things go a lot smoother.
Educate them on the importance of the meeting and the benefits they’ll experience:
Keeps things up to date with life changes - helps to avoid gaps and overlaps in coverage
A better understanding of their coverage
Peace of mind
Help from their trusted advisor
If you show your clients value during their review, they’re much more likely to return in the future. The opposite is also true.
Preparing your clients for the meeting can also make a noticeable difference in appointment setting rates and the ultimate success of the review - learn more about how you can prepare them in this post:
Sporadic Appointment Scheduling Process
Setting appointments in-house is often just plain difficult.
Your office staff works at the same time as most of your customers, so getting them on the phone isn’t as easy as it might seem.
Maybe you’ve also lost staff members and are having trouble finding replacements amid the current labor shortage.
Consider this: If you stop your acquisition marketing efforts for a month, you’ll see a decline in leads soon after. It takes time for production to pick back up again once you’ve re-started marketing.
The same goes for appointments. The key is consistency.
If you’re unable to keep a consistent effort of appointment setting in your agency, consider outsourcing to an external service like Engagex.
Whether we work to supplement your staff for a short time or set all of your appointments, many agencies find it to be a great help and a weight lifted off their (and their staff’s) shoulders.
It’s cheaper and usually more effective than in-house scheduling because of click-to-call dialing, customer databases, call-back reminders, reminder calls, professional callers, a reschedule team, and a variety of other tools.
Whether you choose to outsource appointment scheduling or handle it in-house, the most important thing is consistency.
Focusing on Price Instead of Value
While it’s essential to identify areas where your customers can save money – ensuring they are well protected is even more so.
Helping them understand their risks and how your products will protect them is an integral part of building trust.
If the substance of your conversation focuses on price, you can be sure that your customer will not be with you long.
There is always someone that can be cheaper.
Focus on value and education so that your customer becomes a candidate for additional products and services.
Learn more here: How to Create Educational Content that Sells Policies
Preparation is critical when it comes to conducting a customer insurance review meeting.
To make the meeting valuable to you and your customer, don’t just wing it.
It will be evident if you do.
Failing to prepare results in a sloppy meeting that is not beneficial for the customer and ultimately begins to weaken the relationship of trust you have built with them.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Lack of (or ineffective) Follow-Up
It might come as a surprise to some, but cross-sales happen most naturally during the follow-up of an insurance review, not during the review meeting.
If a client is enthusiastic and ready to sign up for a new policy in the meeting, by all means, go right ahead.
More often than not, though, people need some time to weigh their options and possibly talk with a partner before adding a new policy.
The follow-up will be natural if you’ve done your job to investigate and educate during the review appointment.
Don’t be afraid to specify with your client when you’ll be following up - another way to prepare and warm them up for the sale.
Inconsistent Meeting Process
If you have multiple staff members conducting review appointments, they must be following the same process.
This doesn’t mean there’s no room for personality or tailoring the meeting to the client, but be sure that all staff members conducting the meetings are on the same page.
Using a Needs Assessment form can keep everyone on the right track as it naturally outlines the meeting and discussion.
A shared agenda or outline for the appointment will also help ensure that the meeting doesn’t go too long - if you take too much of your client’s time, they’re not likely to come back in for a review next year.
If you’re the only one holding these appointments, it’s still crucial for you to keep the meeting consistent. When your client knows what to expect when review time comes around, they’re more apt to agree to come to meet with you!
AgencyThrive is a FREE program consisting of educational videos, worksheet downloads, and other free resources to train you or your staff members to run customer insurance reviews. Check it out here!
Not Asking for Referrals
Increased production doesn’t only come from cross-selling but through obtaining referrals from your loyal customers.
Referrals are usually the least expensive lead type to acquire and typically spend up to 25% more on the initial purchase than non-referred customers. (Their value is also about 16% higher than a non-referred customer.) (Go Nectar)
They’re often an easier sale as well - according to a study at Nielsen, consumers are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
If you’re not asking for referrals during customer insurance reviews, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity for more profitable, lifetime customers.
Yes, for many, it feels incredibly awkward to ask for referrals.
If you want more insight and ideas of how you can get more referrals, check out our recent article: 7 Fresh Tips for Creating an Agency Culture of Receiving Referrals.
Reluctantly Holding Reviews
We’re finishing off the list with one of the most important things: Don’t hold these reviews begrudgingly.
Your sales leader has probably been telling you for a while that you need to meet with your current customers regularly, and you might not be particularly excited or hopeful about what reviews can do for your agency.
There are reasons that the largest P&C insurance carriers urge their agents to meet with their current clients regularly. These appointments lead to increased retention, more referrals, and cross-sell opportunities when done right.
Going into these meetings begrudgingly, not believing they will be effective WILL be a waste of time.
You’ve got to give regular customer insurance reviews a chance by fully committing to implementing a program and diving in headfirst for success.
It can be discouraging to have no-shows and meetings that don’t quite go your way.
Don’t give up.
Keep at it with a positive attitude, and you’ll see results.
Long time Engagex customer and Insurance Agent John McAfee summed it up pretty well when he said,
“Any agent who isn’t doing regular meetings [with their customers], they’re just losing money. They gotta do it. They gotta do it. They gotta be talking to their customers.
It shows the value of why [the customer] has an agent.
If you’re not holding the meetings, what you’re saying is, “You were important to me when I could sell you something, but you’re not important today.” and that’s going to open you up to a world of hurt, so I think it’s super important that they do it.”