We need to talk about something…
If someone said ‘Ashley, describe the tone of a breakup song’ I would typically respond something sad, slow, maybe acoustic.
Just overall a darker feeling to it.
So you can imagine my surprise when while driving down the road one day my iPhone played Michael Buble’s ‘It’s a Beautiful Day” and for the first time, I listened to the lyrics:
1) Don’t judge me for having Michael Buble on my iPhone (I’m sure I can find something embarrassing on yours).
2) Turns out this happy, upbeat tune is essentially my boy Mike, talking about how his life is so much better now that his girl left him.
Didn’t see that one coming.
But the song is true.
Sometimes you don’t realize the amount of stress or pressure someone is putting on you until you cut them off – and then suddenly ‘your whole world shines’.
This can happen in any relationship. With a significant other. With family members. With friends.
And yep, you guessed it – with insurance clients.
So I’m here to tell you that yes, you can break up with your clients when necessary and no, you don’t need to feel bad about it.
In fact, you’ll end up feeling better in the long run.
How to Fire an Insurance Client
You may be wondering – what do you mean, ‘break up with a client’?
Let me give you an example.
I had a client that had been with our agency pretty much since before I was born. Had multiple accounts with us and had a pretty clean claims record.
However – the issue started occurring when everything needed to be rushed.
- I’m buying a rental property tomorrow.
- I’m buying an ATV today.
- I’ve had a boat for 3 months now that you didn’t know about but I need insurance on it in the next 43 minutes so I can take it out on the water.
And, as I think many agents tend to do, we bend over backward for that client, drop everything we are doing and get the job done.
This client came to me one day questioning their homeowner’s rates – which was not like them. They had shopped around and now wanted me to review their account.
I told them I would and would be back to them by 500pm the following day.
We had an entire month until their renewal.
They called the office multiple times THE SAME DAY asking where I was on reviewing the account. If I was done yet – because the new agent was pressuring them with their quotes. I told them, as promised, I would get back to them by 500pm the following day.
The next day, 900am, they were calling the office. Now – this is just a summary of the situation, but it was a lot of pressure. A lot of rushing. A lot of compliment sandwiches with insults in the middle.
This right here, folks, is when I decided that we needed to talk.
I simply said,
“Listen. You’ve been with our agency for 30 plus years. You know that we appreciate your business and that our agency bends over backward and has gone above and beyond what typical agencies would.
We have always steered you in the best possible direction and have always been transparent. But if you feel that another agent is going to provide you with better service and better policies, then by all means, please do what you have to do.
We will never pressure someone to stay with our agency or guilt them into it. Just know that we have appreciated your business over the years and we wish you the best.”
And everyone lived happily ever after.
That’s just one example.
When to Fire an Insurance Client
But I’m sure as you’re reading this, you can think of one, or maybe multiple accounts that you have that make your whole body tense up when you hear their name.
That’s not a good sign…
Two signs you need to break up with a client:
1) Everything is last minute.
It happens to the best clients. They made an impulse purchase and they need insurance ASAP. Fine. I do it, too.
But I can guarantee you that your client wasn’t sitting at the breakfast table eating their bowl of Wheaties and just then decided to purchase that 5-story rental unit building with college housing in it.
They probably made that decision a while ago and just didn’t notify you.
When you rush, you make mistakes.
Ask yourself if this client is worth constantly rushing and potentially having an E&O exposure in your agency.
2) They never offer to pay.
I mean – they constantly pay late…
Every agency has them. The people that are consistently late on a monthly basis. And not only consistently late, but the people that actually lapse in coverage and you have to go to bat for them with the company and give the ‘but they are good clients and I’d really like it if we can get the policy reinstated’ speech.
Sit back for a second and take note of how much time you spend monthly on following up with these clients and essentially hand holding them.
That adds up. Is it worth it?
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What it comes down to is this:
is this client or account worth the stress and pressure they put on you, your agency or your employees?
If a client makes your employee cry or they break into a sweat when the client’s number comes up on the phone, then you probably already know the answer.
They aren’t worth it and you could be spending your time and effort on accounts that make you feel good – not stress you out.
So I encourage you to not be afraid of breaking up with a client in the future.
Pro tip: the “It’s not you, it’s me” line isn’t going to work, though…
Ash Fitz also wrote: