Customers don’t make major buying decisions in one meeting.
Sure, it can happen. Sometimes the value is so obvious or the need is so great that a client says “Will you be my agent?” at the first meeting. But that’s not the normal case. And nor should it be in most situations.
As an insurance agency whose goal is to be an advisor for your clients and bring improved business solutions, it’s in your best interest to take the systematic approach to developing that relationship.
If you want your clients to call you while they are contemplating a decision rather than after they’ve already made a decision, then you need to establish yourself as an advisor. This means someone who listens, understands the client’s value proposition and organizational operations, and can think logically through a variety of options and offer an opinion, or advice as the name advisor implies.
If you try to push this relationship to a quick answer, you don’t have the time to clearly demonstrate the value of doing business with you and establishing a base level of trust. Without this, the client is forced to make a buying decision on things that do not lend themselves to a long, quality relationship.
Perhaps that fast, pushed decision gets made on price or a quick connection between the rep and the buyer. These reasons make for a weak bond between the new client company and the agency.
- If the client buys from you based on price, then when someone else offers to get them a lower price, they will compare your services to the new offer based on price.
- If the client buys from you based on a friendly relationship, then when someone else comes along with whom they establish a rapport, they’ll compare your relationship to that of the new one.
However, slowing down and taking the time to develop your relationship and clearly showing the client the value they will get when working with you, will yield very different results. Take the prospect through your systematic process of assessing their needs (which means a lot of listening) and making recommendations on how they can improve their current situation. Then the listening, advice, and results they receive from following that advice will be what they use as an evaluation against any competitors who come knocking.
Keep in mind that the only way you can develop these kinds of prospect-turned-client relationships is if you have the time and motivation to make it happen. By this, I mean you need to have a full pipeline of quality prospects you are taking through the same process.
It’s only with a full pipeline that you can have the confidence that the best method is allowing the relationship to develop.
When your pipeline is empty, there’s a desperation that sets in to write any business that comes along. This is when you feel the need to push the client to get the business as quickly as possible before the opportunity slips away.
Slowing down the process and demonstrating your value will take longer to write the business initially, but the relationship will be much stronger as a result. And retaining the business will take on a whole new look and feel – it’s a significant decision to fire a business partner. It’s an easy decision to replace a vendor.
Photo by Jeff Attaway.
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