by Kitty Ambers, COO/AVYST
An article I read in Daniel Burrus’s TechoTrends newsletter titled, Continuously De-Commoditize, made me think about the concept of product/service de-commoditization as it may relate to the typical insurance agency. Burrus says, “Look at every product and service you have and ask, ‘Why is this item a commodity?’ Then ask, ‘What can we do to make it different?’ For example, look at the features and functions of your products, how things are housed, how convenient the product or service is, what the customer experience is like, how something is processed or made, etc.” After reading this, an age-old sales phrase comes to mind: “Sell the sizzle not the steak“ – and you can do this with your insurance agency!
This quote, from an unknown source, points to the understanding of human nature that successful salespeople develop. Steak is steak. But how you package that steak is what makes it sell. It’s the sizzle. The sizzle, where the steak metaphor is concerned, may include the atmosphere of the restaurant, the statements regarding aging of the beef, or any number of other experiences associated with the dining event.
What constitutes “sizzle” in a typical insurance agency experience? It could be a welcoming website that provides helpful information to an insurance consumer, a friendly and capable receptionist that answers the phone, or a once-and-done insurance application process that is both high-tech and high-touch.
Sometimes we get too busy to “sell the sizzle” with our agency clients. For example, our staff members efficiently provide price quotes, but do they make a conscious effort to take a few moments to state that “included in this premium quote are discounts in the amount of % for [fill in the blank]”? Consider one particular company’s ad which touts the auto-home discount like it’s something totally new to the industry. They’re selling the sizzle, which causes others viewing the ad to wonder “do I have that discount on my insurance policy?”
We need to learn to sell the sizzle, at some level, during every “conversation” our agency has with our clients. Take the few extra moments to remind them of “what’s included” when they do business with “us” – the independent agency; “us” – the [your agency name here] Insurance Agency. These conversations may take place on the phone, via email, as the result of the client visiting our website, or via social media.
Talk about this concept at your next agency / department staff meeting. What sort of services does your agency provide that clients should routinely be reminded of? What are the policy features that your agency has available that translate into benefits to your clients? How can your agency routinely “sell the sizzle” during client conversations?
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