Sales Skills

The 5 Biggest Cross Selling Blunders Insurance Agents Make Today

By Matt O'Neill, CXO

For most agents and brokers, cross selling is one of the most underutilized sales strategies within an agency.  Account rounding, when done effectively, with a clear process, can have a major impact on the value of each customer.  Research has also shown that it’s also easier to sell to a current customer than it is to acquire a new one.

So, what is cross selling? Cross selling simply refers to selling an existing customer a product or service in addition to what they initially wanted.

And, if cross selling is an easier sell, and increases the lifetime value of the customer, why do so many agents struggle with this tactic?  Below are the 5 biggest cross selling blunders insurance agents make today and tips to overcome them.

1) Not showcasing success

Whether from a poor customer experience or the lack of trust, or understanding, buyers may not see value in the service or product you’re attempting to cross sell. Consider outlining how you’ve protected your clients in the past.  If the relationship is fresh, you may also consider highlighting how other clients have benefited from the same solution.  If you don’t have any recent ‘wins’ with the product or client, try finding a case study online from a larger organization in the same industry who was positively impacted by  taking advantage of a similar service to your offering.

2) Bad timing

If your customer feels as though your primary goal is to push price and product to account round, you may turn your customer off.  Consider the timing of your offering:

  • Have you gone above and beyond to serve the client?
  • Have you conducted a formalized stewardship review, or are you introducing this service during the traditional renewal window?
  • Have you introduced this solution after identifying a need within your client’s organization?

Considering all of these questions and answers can positively impact the timing of your offering, leading to trust and appreciation for your services and expertise.

3) Using the wrong language

One of the greatest opportunities you have when it comes to cross-selling insurance solutions is in your ability to tell a compelling story.  Because insurance is an intangible product, something that cannot be touched because it does not have a physical presence, it’s critical to tell a story from the customer’s point of view.  The old saying “What’s in it for me?” still rings true today.  Educate the customer on the exposures when not protected by a specific solution and use language they can understand.

4) Lack of understanding about your ideal client

It’s much easier to catch more fish in a smaller pond than it is in a larger one.  Trying to be a solution provider to all people inhibits your ability to become a specialist in any specific area.  Consider specializing by diving deep into an industry or product line.  Consumers are willing to pay a premium, and develop deeper trust, if they believe they are working with a specialist.

5) Delivering a mediocre customer experience

Think about the last great experience you had, whether it was a vacation, a service you received, or perhaps an event you went to.  When you have an exceptional experience, two things happen—it elicits an emotion, and you’re compelled to tell people about it.  While it may feel like a challenge to deliver an exceptional experience to customers, agents are doing it every day! Consider agencies like O’Neill Insurance, in Ohio, who lead by culture in every initiative they take on, whether it’s client acquisition, hiring, or even marketing and advertising.  The same rings true for our other BIGN Partner, Highpoint Insurance Group, located in Texas, currently clocking in at over 20% organic growth, primarily from exceeding customer’s expectations.  If you haven’t done so, consider conducting the Net Promoter Score survey.  Technologies like Rocket Referrals can be a strong resource to help you get started.  It will help you understand how your customers actually feel about you to identify areas where you can improve the customer experience.

Utilizing the strategies listed above, you can elevate your cross-selling game thoughtfully and effectively.  Account rounding will increase the lifetime value of your customers as well as make your organization stickier.

Learn more about the author, Matt O'Neill.