Are You a Problem Solver?

There is an article in this week’s IA Newsletter that makes the argument, to be  successful in today’s information overloaded world, an insurance agent must first be a teacher, not a salesperson.  Instead of asking yourself how can I sell this policy to customer X, an agent should be asking how can I show customer X why having the policy will benefit them, their family, or their business.  What problem in the customer’s life will having the policy solve or at least, make more manageable?   By helping your customers and those who you would like to have as customers understand how having a particular insurance product will make their lives easier, you can become a resource for them, not just a salesperson.

The article suggests asking yourself three questions as a way to begin the transformation from salesperson to resource.  First, what questions or concerns do my customers and target customers have about the insurance products I am trying to sell?  Second, how can I best answer those questions or address those concerns, and third, what is the best way to reach my customers and target customers with the answers to their questions?  The idea, which is not a new one, is for the agent to be seen by their customers and target customers as some one who can make their life easier by solving insurance related problems.  (Click here for the website of a Georgia insurance agency that has branded itself as the “problem solvers.”)

In becoming a resource for your customers and target customers, it is important not to include sales messages in your communications that are intended to explain how a particular insurance policy will solve a problem they have or otherwise make their lives easier.  Including such a message will only lead your customers and potential customers to conclude that you are just trying to sell them something, so why should they believe anything else you have to say.  Once they understand why they need such a policy, they will look to the person who helped them understand that need to satisfy it.

A recent article on Property Casualty 360 discussed 14 things that an agent should not do when trying to sell an insurance policy.  Many of those don’ts also apply to an agent’s efforts to become a resource for their customers and target customers.  Failing to listen to the customers’ questions or to follow-up on the questions asked, avoiding accountability for your answers to their questions, and choosing the wrong medium to communicate with them are all things that will undermine your attempts to be seen as a teacher/problem solver.

As noted above, the idea of becoming a teacher/problem solver as the best way to market an agent’s (or attorney’s) services is not a new one, but it is one that many agents (and attorneys) have not yet embraced.  The IA Newsletter article is a good reminder of why every agent should incorporate one or more elements of that approach in their marketing efforts.