Quoting Over The Phone. It’s Possible!

I’m not sure that my nano talk at Insurance Nerds Day at the Gamma Iota Sigma International Conference hit the right audience.  There were a lot of students in the audience with really bright futures in our industry that will never need to quote an insurance policy.  But what about you!?! Do you find yourself compounding your to do list by getting off the phone without providing a quote? Have you ever asked yourself if there is an easier way?

Well, there is!  Quoting over the phone is very possible.  Here is a quick summary of the discussion points on my talk (and some added thoughts!).

Most people are taught to take inbound calls on personal lines and small commercial by filling out some type of quoting or fact sheet.  I think there are four main reasons why people take this approach.

  1. It’s easier.  Instead of having to build out the quote using the system and engage with the client, you can just fill out the form.  Also, it allows you time when you get off the call to consider options and prepare yourself for the sale.
  2. “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have the time”.
  3. We believe that our clients don’t want to take the extra time on the phone with us to go  through a full quote.
  4. We want to separate ourselves from the “15 minutes will save you 15%” crowd.  By having to call them back we can show the process is more complicated than what they have been led to believe.

Let’s take a look at the counter-arguments to each of these that quoting over the phone provides.

  1. This is more of an effort and skill issue than an actual argument.  It does take more effort, focus, and training to be able to quote on the phone.   There is also the issue of getting out of our comfort zone. In addition to being able to juggle building rapport and showing expertise to the client along with the system entry, we have to face actually presenting a quote and asking for the business to someone with whom we are having our first conversation.
  2. I will never understand the “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have the time” excuse when it comes to quoting on the phone.  Handling things in a “once and done” manner has been proven time and again to be the most efficient approach to a workload.  Every time you hang up the phone without a resolution you are actually adding to your pile of work. If you were to finish the quote on the phone, when you are done, you’re done!  Also, I find there are many fewer interruptions (phone, walk-ins, co-workers, etc.) when you are on the phone. So the more you are on the phone, the less interruptions you get which increases efficiency as well.  
  3. The worst kept secret in our industry is that no one actually wants to deal with their insurance.  So, we make an assumption that the less time they have to spend on the phone with us will increase our odds of success.  Additionally, many times our prospects will tell us that they’d rather call us back. The problem is they bring their own bias to the table when they tell you this.  Of course they tell you they want you to call them back. They don’t want to deal with their insurance. However, this fails to take into consideration that “once and done” provides the best customer experience.  Instead of having to spend time on two 15-20 minute phone calls with some seemingly arbitrary amount of time in between, spending 35-40 minutes can check something off their To Do List. They may tell you they want to get off the phone, but what actually increases your odds of closing the deal?
  4. “Saving 15% in 15 minutes” is one of the most frustrating messages that has been blasted into the general public.  We all know trying to squeeze one’s financial protection into 15 minutes is a ridiculous notion. In no way am I suggesting that if you go faster  then you can to get the right coverage, limits and protection for you clients. I’m simply saying that you can provide both convenience and protection if you do it in one shot!

 

I hope you will give this a shot!  You can do this around 80% of the time in personal lines and small commercial.  It will be a little bit of a struggle to start, but after a little practice and after you allow the benefits of the reduced effort to hit, you will find that you are being more effective and making your life easier!  If you want a little help, contact me about our 6 month AppX Sales training program where we help you through this transition and many other aspects of your sales process.

 

About David Siekman

Dave's career in the insurance field began in 1999 as a customer service representative for Plymouth Rock Assurance in Boston. Siekman has held his Massachusetts Property & Casualty Producers license since 2005. In 2013, he was a finalist for the NetVu Automation Excellence award. He's now a Performance Specialist at Agency Performance Partners.

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