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Simple Selling Skills

  • Posted by Sarah Dravec | 3 min read

Take a moment to think about your personal sales style. Is there something that makes you different? What about something that communicates to potential customers not just that you understand insurance, but that you understand their insurance needs? Most importantly, does your sales touch show that you care about each customer as a person?

For Progressive Senior Agency Sales Rep Sandra Biagini, that personal touch means everything. Biagini finds that sometimes, independent agents can overlook the importance of building relationships with customers, which can start just by asking a new customer why they’re shopping for insurance. It may sound simple, but there are huge advantages to really getting to know the person in front of you or on the phone.

Here are some of Biagini’s best, personal sales tips that can help give you an advantage:

1. Take your time.
Biagini points out that if your conversation goes well, this person could very well be your customer for decades. To build a relationship and really get the conversation going, ask every customer these two questions:

    • Why are you shopping for insurance today?
    • Other than rate, what are you hoping for in your insurance policy?

Asking the customer why they’re shopping can help you discover lots of information right away. Whether that customer is looking for a better rate for their new car, purchasing coverage for a new home, or preparing to get their teenager on the road, understanding their needs is key.

Similarly, asking your customer what matters in an insurance company may reveal that they’re a safe driver with multiple vehicles, searching for a financially stable company to protect their biggest investment, or in need of outstanding roadside service and mobile technology to meet their teenage driver’s needs. It sounds so simple to take your time and get to know someone, but successful independent agents know that the right policy protects more than just the vehicle.

2. Promote your value.
Customers turn to you because of your expertise, so it can be helpful to set expectations and explain your role. You might share how long your agency has been in business and how many carriers you represent. You may also let the customer know that because you’re independent, you’re here to do their shopping and find them not just the best rate, but the best carrier for their needs. This can also help the customer understand why you need to ask detailed questions upfront to present them with options later.

3. Ask for their business.
This one sounds obvious, but Biagini finds that a lot of agents shy away from coming right out and asking for a customer’s business. She recommends presenting your customer with three quote options and explaining why you’ve chosen them. Not only will they see the work you’re putting into considering their needs, but you may see better results when showcasing options to choose from, rather than asking the customer to say yes or no to a single quote. For more on how to share these options to close the sale, check out my post on behavioral economics.

Keep in mind that if the customer needs time to consider their options, you can once again show your value by printing hard copies or emailing them their options. It’s a thoughtful gesture, and it’ll keep your agency top of mind when the customer reviews their options later.

4. Keep relationships first.
Digital tools are just that: tools. Of course we rely on email, and your agency may have a website or a presence on social media. But the end game is that you want to have a personal relationship with your customers.

With that in mind, try to make each of your sales touches as unique as you can. In emails she sends to the independent agents on her team, Biagini includes a personal video showcasing a Progressive product or benefit. For phone calls, Biagini recommends allowing yourself to slow down and have a conversation with a customer the same way you might if they visited your office. These are small steps, but they add up to your customer knowing you better and developing a stronger relationship with you over time.

5. Rely on your sales rep.
Just like you get to know each customer, your sales rep is there to get to know you and the unique needs and goals of your agency. The insurance carriers you work with may have a variety or sales, servicing, and product resources to help you apply a variety of skills—and your sales rep will help you continue to develop your growth plan.

To learn more about these selling skills, revisit Progressive’s Agent Growth Series on sharpening your own sales style. If you’re not Progressive-appointed, you can get started below.

Sarah began her insurance career as a licensed agent for Progressive Direct. She now uses her English and creative writing background as a communications specialist on the Agency team. In her spare time, Sarah writes and hikes as much as possible.