Canadian Underwriter

The benefit of ‘shooting the breeze’ with clients

October 18, 2018  

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While brokers communicate with clients for a variety of reasons, such as renewals and claims, “shooting the breeze” can be just as beneficial for the business, suggests a speaker scheduled to address the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario annual convention.

Female counselor talks with a client“Touch base just for the hell of it,” advises author and speaker Stuart Knight. “See how life is going, how business is going.”

Several years ago, Knight spoke with brokers who had to tell clients that auto policies were changing. At the time, the coverage in the mandatory policy was being reduced, so brokers had to contact clients to ask if they wanted to pay more to keep their original coverage.

“The mistake that a lot of insurance brokerages made was they just either emailed or direct-mailed all their customers and said, ‘Hey, here’s a heads up, here are all the changes that are being made, here is a check box, send it back to us if you want to get the extra product and pay the extra premium,’” Knight said. “You can imagine people getting these letters in the mail. Everyone is saying, ‘No thank you.’ No one is checking the box.”

Some large carriers reported only 1% of clients renewed with the original policy instead of the new policy with less coverage, Knight suggested.

But one brokerage he spoke with “called each [auto insurance client] individually and they told them about the changes,” Knight recounted. “At the same time, they just shot the breeze a little bit – ‘while I’ve got you on the phone, how’s life?’”

That brokerage reported about 21% of customers it contacted bought back the original auto policy, said Knight.

Knight is scheduled to give a seminar – 5 Decisions Winners Make – on Oct. 18 during the IBAO Annual Convention in Niagara Falls. Those who attend can get Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO) credits.

Brokers should connect with clients or prospects “in a way that goes above and beyond the typical business conversation,” said Knight.

“When it comes right down to it, the products you are selling aren’t really that much different than your competition. The one thing that is within your control – that you can differentiate – is your human relationship with that potential customer so they want to buy from you and not the competition.”

Knight says brokers should aim to connect with clients “on a human level” and ask themselves the following:

  • How do you make a person feel interesting?
  • How do you make a person feel like they are an exciting or intriguing person?
  • How do you make them feel like they matter or that they can trust you?

“You can tell them how great your product is. You can tell them how cheap it is,” said Knight. “You can tell them about all the bells and whistles, but the competition is doing the exact same thing.”

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.

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