What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Relax, I’m not selling Thin Mints… (my favorite)
I read a great article from Seth Godin this weekend about how a good question trumps an amazing sales pitch.
Even for Girl Scouts.
Most Girl Scouts are taught to memorize a fairly complicated spiel, one that involves introducing themselves, talking in detail about the good work that the Scouts do, and finishing with how the money raised goes for this and for that… This is difficult work even for a professional, but for a kid talking to an adult, it’s frightening and unlikely to lead to a positive experience. The alternative?
“What’s your favorite kind of Girl Scout cookie?”…
A question that avoids a ‘no’, a question that starts a conversation, a question that opens the door to emotion… those are the questions that build careers and create value.
I agree 100%.
So I figured it’d be helpful and fun to brainstorm a bunch of questions insurance producers can inject into car insurance quote conversations get prospects to stop, think, and share information that can lead to a sale.
I came up with 26 but I’d love to get more in the comments below. I also added a few notes on my “theory” behind each question.
(By the way, if I get good feedback on this list I’ll do more for other lines. Hit the like button to let me know.)
1. How does that car handle in a bad rainstorm?
Of course they’re probably going to tell you “great” because they think it’ll affect the quote, but just getting them to think about driving in bad weather reminds them of the dangers of driving and the real importance of insurance.
2. Does it have a hitch?
Do you have some other toys we can insure? Great conversations and cross-selling intel.
3. What made you buy that type/brand of car?
Get them thinking about and explaining to you how they don’t make purchasing decisions based on price alone.
4. How was your last claim experience?
Get them thinking about claims instead of price. Great conversation starter.
5. What’s the worst accident you’ve ever seen, been in, avoided, heard about, etc?
Get them thinking about the value of insurance without having to explain it yourself.
6. Besides price, what’s the next most important thing for you?
Force them to say aloud that there are other things to consider than price. If they say “only price”, then pause for a really long time and I bet they’ll eventually say something else.
7. How do you prefer to communicate with your insurance agent?
Learn more about their communication preferences so you can sell the most important benefits to them. It also gets them thinking into the future about how they’re going to have to work with whatever company they buy from, regardless of how much money they save.
8. What made you stay with Company X for so long/short?
Get a feel for their loyalty triggers. Good conversation starter.
9. What was the process like the last time you switched carriers/agents?
It’s a win-win question. If they say “easy” it’ll remind them it’s easy to switch. If they say “hard” then you just identified a hidden objection you probably didn’t know existed and you can sell them on how easy you’ll make it this time.
10. What has you shopping for insurance?
People could shop for car insurance every 6 months but most don’t. There MUST be a reason they decided to shop today and getting to that reason is the key to winning their business.
By the way, you’ll notice I didn’t ask “Why”. That’s because “why” is a confrontational word that gets people defensive. Replace all your “why’s” with “what makes you’s” and “What has you’s” and How you’s doin?”.
11. Where do you work? What do you do there? Etc.
Knowing what someone does for a living gives you a pretty good idea of who they are. It also helps you identify cross-sale opportunities for stuff like employee benefits, life insurance, retirement planning, commercial policies etc.
12. How much longer do you have to pay off the car?
I don’t know why I put this one… just seemed like an interesting conversation about property ownership and protection, finances, etc.
13. What are your kids names? How old? Etc.
Talking about kids is awesome for sales. If you write down the names in your CRM and use them later it’s a huge sign of respect.
Bonus tip: When you say the kids’ names during a later conversation, pause for a second and pretend like you’re trying to recall them from your memory. (as opposed to sounding like you read them off your CRM)
14. How do you currently pay for insurance?
Are they old-school or new-school? Do they pay the whole policy upfront? Or do they live paycheck-to-paycheck? Do they have good credit? Or are they going to show up at your agency with a jar of pennies every month?
15. Do you take Road X to get to work? Or Road Y?
It’s just a friendly way to remind them that you’re local and can relate to them. Could a call center rep ask a question like that?
16. Have you been in a car accident as a passenger?
Throw this one out there if they have a clean driving record and no driving-related accidents but you still want to talk about the real-life experience of a car accident because it’s emotional and steers people away from price.
17. Do you know anyone that’s been permanently disabled from a car accident?
Most people will probably say yes. And it’ll bring home the reality that car insurance is more than just a bill you pay.
18. Have you ever been rear-ended?
A cloaked reminder that even the best drivers need good insurance since they have to share the road with the worst drivers.
19. Do you have any medical issues that could affect your ability to drive?
They’re probably going to say “no” since they don’t want you to deny coverage or boost the price, but it could raise some interesting conversations that could lead to other lines… disability, long-term care, health, life, etc.
20. How much current life insurance do you have?
Okay, so that’s a pretty obvious cross-selling question… But it wouldn’t be out-of-line to ask while discussing medical payments coverage, PIP, or some other coverage with a death benefit.
21. A series of questions you know they’ll answer “Yes” to. Especially related to safe driving.
If you ask a bunch of safety-related questions you know they’ll say “yes” to it’ll make them think they’re saving more money with you (since the other carriers didn’t ask). It’ll also get them in the habit of saying yes.
For example, Do you usually drive on familiar roads? Do you usually drive with under 5 occupants in the car? etc.
22. How many carriers have you had in the past 5 years?
I guess there’s a few other similar questions above… just getting a gauge on loyalty. Could also spur on a conversation about how loyalty with one carrier pays off in the end (if it’s with you).
23. What coverage do you WANT?
As opposed to “what coverage do you HAVE?”. The idea is to ask assumptive questions about the new coverage rather than reinforcing what they currently have. A huge portion of shoppers never leave their current carrier – don’t reinforce that decision.
24. How long have you been married?
A good conversation starter with some potential for cross-sales depending on what they say. Whatever they say, ask for a marriage tip. It’ll get them thinking about loved ones, which opens the door to conversations about factors other than price.
25. You qualify for our X Discount. Are you currently getting a discount for that?
If the answer is “yes” it’s cool because they’re not losing anything. If the answer is “no” then you just showed your carrier wants their business more.
26+. Does your current policy cover you in a rental vehicle? If you borrow a friend’s car? If someone steals your car? If you run into a pothole? If your windshield cracks? Etc.
Ask questions about real-world scenarios they probably won’t know the answer to in order to show your value as an expert. They’ll just think you’re asking as part of the quote and it’ll justify further exploration into how insurance works. That is your advantage, right?
If you like this article, here’s 4 things you can do next:
- Write down the questions you like, put the list somewhere visible and use them as often as possible for the next month.
- Click “like” or use one of the other social sharing buttons so I know you’d like more articles like this for other lines.
- Share this list with a producer you know who wants to boost her close ratio.
- And if you have a great auto insurance question for shoppers, add it to the comments below!
Hope this helps,