I saw this in a recent webinar, and it didn’t surprise me at all: 60% of sales opportunities with executives result in no change – the buyer ends up sticking with the status quo.
For commercial producers this is probably quite familiar, considering how frequently businesses agree to meeting with an outside agent, just to keep their current agent “honest.” But there are many ways to change those odds for the better.
If you’re only competing to lower prospects’ costs, your chances of winning the account are limited to the arena of price. But if you expand that arena to include other things that matter to the buyer, you increase your leverage and clout.
Discovering those other things is often framed as finding the prospect’s pain. People don’t make changes unless there’s a reason to, and the seller’s job is to show the buyer how their pain will go away once they buy from them.
The art of uncovering pain begins and ends with carefully sequenced queries designed to make the prospect aware of the buzzing fly in their ointment. For that to work, you have to ease into it.
You can ask directly if they’ve had “any frustrations with their current agent,” but you’re likely to get blunt replies like, “No, not really.”
The trick is to start with more general, situational questions and gradually zoom in on specific areas where there may be disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Here for example, are a few strategic probes that can lead you and your prospect to that problematic fly in the ointment.
- Have you compared insurance costs/coverage in the last couple of years?
“How did that work out?” Did they change agents or not? Why? [Saved $, more coverage, etc.] Encourage the prospect to be specific.
- Besides providing your insurance policies, what else does your agent do for your company?
- What risk considerations are most worrisome to you?
- How satisfied are you with the support your agent provides when you’ve had claims?
- When it comes to understanding your operation and risk exposure how would you rate your current agent on a scale from 1-10? If they answer anything less than ten you can then ask: How come you didn’t give them a ten?
- How do they keep up with changes in your business so they can adjust the coverage accordingly?
- Are they readily available when you call and have a question or want to make a change to the policies?
There are plenty of questions you can formulate to help make prospects aware of what they might be missing or putting up with but don’t like – things that you can change as their new agent.
Getting to the pain is critical. If you want to win new accounts by solving problems and not simply quoting prices, you’ve got to expand the arena in which you’re competing. And the questions you ask are the perfect way to do that.