What Are The 10 Sales Strategies Insurance Agents Screw Up?

You may have read countless blogs, books and articles on insurance sales, but this one is different. This one is based on our very own insurance secret shopper call program. I’m hoping that by reading this you will pick up a few tips for your agency’s sales process, or if your agency has not mapped out a sales process, you can take these tips to build one that works for your agency. My goal is to have you embrace that the only way your agency can grow is to install a sales process into your agency, and the most effective way to do this is with some guidance!

I learned the power of having a process when I was 19. I worked as a bank teller and the bank had incentives for cross selling. What they didn’t have was training, scripts or a plan. Many of my co-workers never took the opportunity to take advantage of the incentives because they were unsure how. This theme repeated itself as I went to a few other small businesses. Then I became passionate about creating plans to help people maximize their potential, and a sales process is a great step toward maximizing your agency’s potential!

Here are some details on the stats I’m about to share with you:

  • Results from 265 secret shopper calls
  • Average score was 34% out of 100%
  • Highest score was 86%
  • Agency approves the secret shopper scenarios


Insurance Leads Going to Voicemail

This may seem simple, but when someone calls into an agency they need to be connected with an agent. If an agent is not available, anyone can start taking information. 23% of secret shoppers were put into voicemail, and many didn’t receive a call back for days or had to call back again. In agencies a new lead must be prioritized as the most important task. When building or optimizing your sales process, make sure that you build in backups. If the sales agent is not available, who should start taking information and what should happen next? Remember, when there is a clear plan everyone is empowered and knows what to do.


Build Value in Selecting YOU as Their Agent

Insurance shoppers tend to get multiple quotes when looking to change their insurance. It is critical that agents take a moment to explain their value in the experience. If agents don’t take a moment to explain why they should be the prospect’s agent, the prospect will never know! Prospects don’t know what we don’t tell them, and even more important, they may have never experienced having an agent. 85% of agents built no value in doing business with them as an agent. We all buy people first and policies second. When we do not take time to build a relationship it becomes a transaction.


Explain What an Independent Insurance Agent Is

Our biggest benefit is that we are independent and offer choices — choices that the client can’t get on their own! 89.39% of the secret shoppers did not have explained to them what an independent insurance agent is or how it benefits the prospect. Agents need to slow down and share all the benefits included with working with the agency. If this is our biggest selling feature, we should make sure it’s clearly stated to the prospect.

Find the Connection

55.30% of callers stated that the agent treated the call more like a transaction than a relationship. We have to remember that we are the least convenient way to get a quote. When someone comes to an independent agent they are looking for a relationship. Without a connection, we are inviting the prospect to get multiple quotes which makes our job harder. This also decreases your closing ratio, makes the sales process longer and encourages the prospect to purchase on price. Also, retention lags on these clients. Agents need to be reminded to slow down to speed up in the long run.


Reduce the Workload on the Client

52.7% of the agents asked the caller all the underwriting questions. Agents need to lean on using technology to confirm information rather than ask it. In addition, we no longer need to ask for declaration pages as this may flag the other agent that their client is shopping. Why would you want to put extra steps into your sales process? Prospects don’t want to be interrogated when they can confirm information instead. This also helps you pick up valuable time so you can sell yourself!


4 & Score

Agents should be focused on cross selling at the point of sale. This is the best time because nothing has been screwed up yet! Waiting to cross sell is delaying revenue and opportunity. 55.5% of our callers got exactly what they asked for in a quote with no cross sell asks. We recommend that agents work for 4 & Score which is working to present 4 lines of coverage to each customer so they know you do it and you cover your E&O!


Never Email the Quote

Here are a few stats on quote delivery from our secret shoppers:

  • 59% quoted the policy over the phone
  • 83% were emailed a quote
  • 44% never received the quote

Quoting over the phone is the #1 driver of selling the opportunity! People can get the quote over and done with and say yes. Every time we let someone off the phone we reduce the likelihood of getting back with them. When we email a quote, most people will only look at the price and make a decision whether they would like to call you back. Insurance quotes are confusing when the client looks at them. They may get overwhelmed and not ask questions which means you may lose the opportunity!



A great sales strategy is to provide prospects options for coverages. Options allow the person to see how a small investment can lead to a better coverage. In addition, when a prospect sees options they stop shopping! By providing options to clients you can get a soft yes and become an educator to the client. Showing options allows for exploration and better understanding. We recommend that agents provide 2-3 options to prospects.


Ask for the Business

37.31% of agents said, “think about it and let me know” when it got to the end of the line. “Think about it” is not a closing statement. In fact, it brings more doubt into the conversation. 95% of the work has been done since if we presented options we should have a soft yes on one of the options. A better closing line is, “where can I send the application?”


Follow Up

When you can’t close it, you need to follow up! 45.38% of callers got 1 follow-up and 58.46% received no follow-ups. We know that after two weeks a personal line lead is dead. You only need to follow up for two weeks! Your new number one objection is actually getting ghosted, which means the prospect actually didn’t value you enough to let you know their final decision! This is the exact reason we need to invest time into building rapport and value. Agents should follow up every 2-3 days for two weeks.



I hope that we clearly stated the case for your agency having a sales process that you can install into your agency and train your team on. Building a sales process can take time and patience, however, it’s worth it in the end. Also, you don’t have to do it alone!

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