Let’s talk about sex. And by sex, I mean Insurance.
I bet you’re wondering where I’m going with this. Think back to when you were a teenager. You started having crushes. You started focusing more on your hair and your outfits.
At some point, you probably sprayed on entirely too much Axe body spray or layered on midnight black eyeliner.
Less is so, so much more. I get it now.
And you probably had a lot of questions. Questions that you would never dare to ask your parents. Too embarrassing, you say. They’ll get mad, you say.
So what’s the next reasonable thing to do?
You ask your friends. You google things. And most likely, you get misinformed.
After seven years in the insurance industry, I’ve realized that for some people, ‘the insurance talk’ is just as awkward and uncomfortable.
We’ve all been there at some point. Sitting at our desk, going about our day, sipping coffee out of our ‘I Love Insurance’ mugs (this is a judgment free zone) and we hear the fax. Or the mailman.
“Must be another vehicle change request or mortgagee update.”
You get up, skip merrily over to the fax because you love your job (or drank too much coffee) and there it is: the last thing you expected; a cancellation request from a long time customer that you never saw coming.
No ‘hey, I’m checking my rates – can you review my policy for me?’
Just like that. It’s like they changed their Facebook status to ‘single’ without even giving you a chance in ‘it’s complicated’.
It’s like they changed their Facebook status to ‘single’ without even giving you a chance in ‘it’s complicated’.
How is it that a client of ten years can just mail you a generic cancellation request without as much as a phone call or explanation? Why didn’t they call you first if they had a problem or concern?
I’ll tell you why. The same reasons you didn’t want to have ‘the talk’ with your parents. They’re embarrassed. They’re afraid we’re going to get mad. They don’t want to have the awkward conversation.
So they ask around.
They call their friends. Ask who they’re with. What they’re paying. Because we all know, that’s the best way to inform yourself. Johnny next door tells them they’re paying a fortune – they don’t need all that coverage. And when Johnny sees their 16-year-old son listed on the policy – he bursts out laughing.
Because everyone knows that a licensed 16-year-old doesn’t have to be listed on the policy – as long as you give them permission to use the vehicle, they’re covered.
It’s easier for some people to go to a new agency, give them personal information, get new quotes, sign a new application and start all over. Easier than calling their current agent and asking why their rates went up or if there’s anything they can do to save money.
So what can you do? Address and encourage ‘the talk’ before it’s even brought up.
I try to address and encourage ‘the talk’ before it’s even brought up by the client. In any conversation, I have, not only with a new client, but a veteran client as well, I always emphasize open lines of communication.
I encourage clients never to hesitate to contact our office with any questions at all – even if they feel it’s silly. I’d rather answer 20 ‘silly’ questions than losing an account. Things are constantly changing in the insurance industry.
That’s inevitable. But, as the professionals, it’s our job to educate.
To explain why rates are changing. To explain the different types of coverage available to protect themselves. To explain why their 16-year-old son needs to be listed on the policy. Back off, Johnny.
What else can I do, Ashley?
You can call that client that sent you the generic cancellation request.
Will it be uncomfortable? Yes.
But I’m not one to sit back and accept the ‘it’s me, not you’ excuse.
Pick up the phone, call the client, and ask what could have been done differently.
What made them pick up the phone and reach out to another agent?
The fact that I have picked up the phone and made this phone call has saved numerous amounts of clients. It shows that they are valued as a client.
It shows you care.
It shows you care that they are at least getting the same coverage they had with you. The same features.
Even if you don’t save the client, you’ll learn from the experience. You’ll learn what to do better with your current clients. And phone call by phone call, ‘the talk’ will get easier each time.
It takes practice to get comfortable having ‘the talk’ but hey – practice makes perfect.