Sales Skills

Creating the Visual Risk Dashboard Approach for Multi-Product Cross Selling

By Brad O'Neill, Benefits Strategies

Have you ever wondered why it seems to be much more difficult to sell insurance rather than a piece of furniture, a house, or a car? It’s because one can look at, touch, and derive pleasure from owning a new sofa, house, or car. They are tangible.

Not so with insurance.  Insurance is not sold in a box and delivered to your doorstep. Instead, it’s invisible protection for your health, loved ones, and tangible assets when faced with illness, disasters, or worse. But it’s not tangible.  What you are really selling is you and your agency’s services, resources and solutions.

So, the question becomes: “How do I take all my knowledge and skills, combined with the depth of resources from all departments within my agency, and paint a picture of the many ways we can solve the client’s issues?”

Try the risk dashboard approach!

Start by visualizing your capabilities much like each gauge on the dashboard that measure business risk. Business risk is the risk associated with running, operating or expanding a business. Since business risk can be influenced by multi-faceted factors, let’s review the four types of risk for any business:

  1. Strategic Risk – if top management cannot determine the right strategy, the business can lose customers and/or the business may shut down. For example, if a CFO fails to file the annual 5500 for the benefits plan, it will trigger a financial penalty that reduces the overall profits and bonus pool for the entire business.
  2. Operational Risk – this risk is all about internal failures. For example, if the data in the benefits administration feed to payroll is breached, the business’ operations could be crippled.
  3. Financial Risk – this risk occurs when a business owner or CFO makes decisions that may jeopardize the business’ income. For example, growing a business requires adding new employees to the workforce. This increase creates additional multi-product risk by adding human capital and new data infrastructure.
  4. Reputational Risk – when a company loses its goodwill in the market, it can also lose its customer base. For example, a cyber data breach could expand into the media and negatively affect the reputation of the organization’s brand and shareholder and public image.

These are business risks that confront every business leader.  You will differentiate yourself from the competition by helping them visualize and prioritize these challenges. Show your clients that you understand their specific issues relative to these risks and connect the dots for them.  Then illustrate how your solutions will protect them from the potential risks by creating a risk dashboard. Move the conversation beyond the traditional approach of selling a commodity, and open the door for more diagnostic, consultative, multi-product disciplined approach.

Note that these four types of risk transcend across all areas of an organization’s insurance and risk management needs.  Whether you are a benefits-only professional or focus entirely on commercial lines, the answer to effective cross selling is in the way you help your client visualize their risk dashboard. 

Ask them to prioritize the important parts of their business as it relates to the risk level, then listen for “pivot points” in the conversation where you connect the dots of risk. A pivot point is when a benefits conversation demonstrates the possible impact on the client’s P&C or retirement plan. You may be discussing the rising cost of health care and the negative affect it is having on the retirement plan. Or you may be talking about benefits administration and suddenly uncover the cyber risk of using multiple vendors. Try making the conversation not just about insurance, but about them and the inter-connectivity of the business risk.

By painting a picture of a risk dashboard for your clients and listening for pivot points in the conversation, you can elevate the discussion to a more consultative approach, allowing you to recommend the full and complementary services of your agency.  That will allow you to add greater value to the organizations you serve and build stickier relationships with your clients while increasing sales and loyalty. And that will be a visible result!

Learn more about the author, Brad O'Neill.