There is more to being a successful Insurance Agent or Financial Representative than making the lion's share of sales. As many top producers will tell you, residuals from investments and being able to cross-sell additional products to loyal clients year after year, is the way that many make it to conference and enjoy long fruitful careers. Having strong customer service skills is one of the most important attributes to achieving this success; especially with today's fast-paced, impersonal auto-respond mentality. Though there are countless ways to be good at customer service, there are only a few ways to destroy the relationship you are trying to build:
1. The need to win - Especially in the Insurance arena, clients have many options and choices. And competing companies can make very enticing propositions to take your valued clients. Nothing will push a client away quicker than arguing with them. Sometimes, a potential client has it in their head what they want and how much they think they need. You can show them all the tools you want proving to them they are wrong and that they need more or less. Sometimes, all you can do is advice and then ultimately provide the services they ask for.
2. Lack of product knowledge - It is OK to not know everything. Some of the most successful people don't know a little bit about everything, but instead know everything about a few things. The difference between this hurting you and making you successful is by not trying to BS your way through a demonstration on a product you don't know anything or enough about. If a client has questions about something you are not fully knowledgeable about, it is OK to tell them so, and that you will find out the answer for them, or even involve a co-worker who is a specialist with that particular service. This will only strengthen your agent/client relationship as they will see you as actually have their best interest at heart.
3. Not listening - Communication involves a two-way conversation. Listen to what your client has to say in its entirety. When they are finished, say, “Let me make sure I understand what you are saying……” and repeat what they have just said in your own words so that they know you understand. If you have confusion in an area, then ask them to elaborate. How many times have you asked a question and have given an answer that had nothing to do with your concern? Did you ever do business with that person again? Probably not.
4. Being impersonal - We are all guilty of it. When someone sends in a complaint or leaves a dissatisfied message, it is much easier to send them an email rather than calling them and addressing it personally. Sometimes it works, but other times it simply makes your client feel as though they are not important enough to warrant a phone call and the opportunity to speak with you directly. Treat the client how you would want to be treated, give them the courtesy of a phone call. After all, if you don't, then they could decide not to call you when they decide to transfer their business to another agency.
5. Don't over-promise - Today's Insurance products and services can satisfy many needs with just one policy. They are flexible, they provide various types of cash and death benefits, and there are many different funding options to choose from. However, be sure that you don't get so excited with the features and benefits that you lose track of the product's primary focus. If you show people an unrealistic cash return and then show them ways a life insurance policy can send their kids to college and still provide $1 trillion in cash benefit, you aren't providing them with realistic expectations, and this will only set you up, not only to fail, but for a potential lawsuit later on. Be realistic, and show your products and services for what they are and what they can legitimately be used for.
It is easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives and forget some of the basics our parents taught us with regards to treating others how we would like to be treated. To be truly successful in this industry, you need to do more than just sell, you need to be an excellent communicator and have effective customer service skills. Not only will you see your residual income and cross-selling opportunities increase, but you will also see more referral business as people will feel safe and secure sending their friends and family members to you.