By Simon Gitonga Gichane
We are almost two months to the end of the Year 2021 and it’s amazing how time flies. For those who keep a journal of their activities like me, we have a comparison on the in-tray and out tray position based on the New Year’s resolutions that we made just the other day. Insurance Sales executives are also endeavoring to take advantage of the available opportunities before the end of the last quarter of the year to meet their objectives. Sales is a strategic function in any organization, and it requires a lot of creativity, strategies and tactics to be at the top the game.
All insurance companies have come to the realization that our customers are the backbone of our business and it is important to look at the unique needs that they have across all segments. The sum total of benefits offered through our products and services determines our value proposition. Value influences decision making and action, hence customer value propositions should be targeted rather than having a “one product fits all” kind of approach.
The modern-day insurance sales executive is therefore expected to have a firm grasp on all financial matters as the role is evolving into a financial consultant who offers advice on savings, investments, mortgages and insurance. Insurance sales executives have to offer solutions to other emerging customer needs such as need to protect the value of their brands, reputations and intellectual property. This emerging customer needs may, however, pose a challenge to traditional insurers and their sales executives, but it is also an opportunity to redefine the insurance industry’s value proposition.
Insurance is a risk management tool that helps both individuals and corporates to transfer risk. It comes with a package of benefits which include peace of mind, loss prevention or minimization. In addition to this, insurance reduces the possibility of an individual or a business enterprise losing all the wealth they have created through an expected event. This was best captured by Jack Ma the Chinese internet entrepreneur and executive chairman of Alibaba Group when he said “Buying insurance cannot change your life but it prevents your lifestyle from being changed. An illness can wipe an entire family’s savings that they have saved for decades by the medical bills. You will not turn bankrupt because of buying insurance, but you will cause your loved ones to turn bankrupt if you don’t”.
This is the important message that insurance sales executives need to communicate to our customers. Insurance is a promise of value that is usually seen when a catastrophe or an unfortunate event occurs. Leading customer value propositions can be offered by linking banking, savings, investments, mortgages, and insurance products.
Insurance Sales executives can make use the following tips in offering a unique value proposition:
Think PSP – Think of the problem, the Solution and most suitable product. A relationship manager must understand that People don’t buy products, they buy solutions to their problems. While it is important to know what the policy covers, it is even more important to show customers the solutions that the insurance cover provides in solving the problems they are facing. For example, a business combined policy would easily cover the business owner in the event of a fire, burglary, consequential loss or liability loss.
Customer knowledge – As the adage goes knowledge is power, but its only power so long as you use it. It is important to have a 360 view of your customer and their circumstances in life. The customer who buys motor insurance for his vehicle and has a family also needs personal accident for the family since a comprehensive policy does not cover the owner and his family in the event of an accident. The family man also needs life insurance cover for his children’s education. The same customer may also be overburdened with the cost of medical treatment for his aging parents a health cover would go a long way in easing this financial burden. A comprehensive analysis of customer needs ensures that solutions are provided for all needs.
Think like your ideal customer – What do they really want? Find a compelling reason on how the prospect will benefit from buying the insurance products that you are selling. Find your area of superiority, use it to attract and retain customers.
Go beyond the product pitch – When it comes to offering insurance solutions. It is important to explain to your customers what is expected of them before the cover is effected, after the policy is effected and in the event or at the time of the loss. A farmer who may want to buy a livestock insurance cover needs to be informed that his animals need to be inspected by a veterinary doctor and the reasons why having the doctor is important.
Seize the opportunity – As an insurance sales person you have a unique opportunity to offer customers the best possible experience as they interact with you. The service you offer could go a long way in bringing in referrals. It is easy to replicate a product, but it’s not easy to standardize a service. The service is dependent on you, take advantage of the opportunity to provide the highest level of service to your customers.
Put yourself in the customers’ shoes – Identify the impact of the product on the quality of life and on their income. Speak to the customers’ future and financial wellbeing. Don’t just tell them that when they get sick the medical policy will pay, make them understand that costly doctors visit can bring about a great financial setback in their personal lives. Having a child’s education policy will help them tackle the ever rising cost of education.
Active Learning – Have a growth mindset, what got you here will not get you there. Become a student of your craft and your industry. Engage your peers, learn what works for them and the challenges they come across. You are the president of your own mind & the personal services corporation, you need to build skills that will result in higher achievement. Pursuing constant improvement will keep the referrals coming since you have many solutions to offer.
Money flows in the direction of value. If we use our knowledge in creating value, then profits will be inevitable. Insurance sales executives must continuously reimagine how to truly deliver value for customers as there are great opportunities to ride the growing wave of innovation that’s already starting to reshape the industry.
Simon Gitonga Gichane is the Banc Assurance Training Manager at KCB Bank and also Convenor – IIK Knowledge and Development Committee