It works great during new business since it ties in well with your information gathering but you can tweak it to work on existing clients too.
For simplicity, let’s pretend you’re at new business…
Step 1 – Ask The Setup Question
In the early stages of information gathering for a homeowner’s quote ask the client this question:
Agent: Through the course of a typical year are you ever away from home for more than one week?
If clients say “yes” ask this follow-up:
“How many days a year are you typically gone from your house?”
Write down or remember whatever they tell you.
If the client says “no” then follow-up with,
“That’s good, are you ever away for more than 48 hours?”
If they say “yes” take note of it.
1 in 20 will still say “no” and either (a) they’re a liar or (b) they’re a loser. (just joking)
Forget about the the lying losers and move to Step 2 with the other 19.
Step 2 – Get the Neighbor’s Contact Info
It doesn’t have to be right after Step 1, but sometime later in the conversation you say:
Agent: You mentioned you’re away from home X number of days a year (dramatic pause) is there anyone in the neighborhood that watches over your home while you’re gone?”
Don’t miss the importance of what we just did here.
After answering your first question the client thinks, “Oh no! I never should have told him the house is vacant! Now the price is going up!” so they’re excited to answer this question:
Client: Oh yes. Of course!
Agent: I’m glad to hear that, who is it?
Client: My next-door neighbor Barbara! When I’m gone, she watches my house like a hawk! She takes in the mail, collects the newspapers, you name it…
Agent: Great, we’ll need her contact information in case there’s ever an emergency while you’re away and we need to reach someone near your residence. Do you have her number in your cell phone?… And her address?
I know you could have just asked for the neighbor’s contact information without all the setup, but this process protects you from looking shady and makes the client eager to give up their neighbor’s information.
When’s the last time someone was eager to hand you a referral’s contact information?
Step 3 – Call The Neighbor
After the policy has been written and issued take a moment to call the neighbor and say something like:
Agent: Hello Ms. Smith. My name is Johnny Agent and I’m calling about your neighbor, Mr. Client. (pause a moment to build suspense) I own the ABC Insurance Agency and we just wrote a homeowner’s insurance policy for Mr. Client.
Mr. Client listed you as a nearby contact and just in case there’s an emergency while they’re out of town, like a tree falls on the roof or something, in case you can’t get a hold of them we’d like for you to be able to reach out to us.
With your permission, I’d like to mail you a refrigerator magnet with our phone number just to be safe. You never know what can happen… Would that be alright?
Neighbor: Uh.. Okay… sure.
(By the way, if this step seems too intrusive you could always just send the magnet with a letter that replaces the conversation above.)
Step 4 – Mail the Refrigerator Magnet Immediately
When the neighbor receives the magnet in the mail just a day or two later she’ll not only be impressed with the prompt execution of your promise, she’ll also be impressed with the care and concern you display toward your clients and the thought will cross her mind that if you were able to help her neighbor there’s a pretty good chance you can help her also.
I’ll bet she’s more likely to keep your magnet on the fridge than her own agent’s!
It’s probably a good idea to include a generic letter that explains what you’re asking of them (call us if the client is gone and the house burns down, etc.) .
Just try hard not to come off as “salesy” in any way because it’ll blow your cover as the dedicated insurance guy.
If you’re going to use a form letter, slap a post-it on there with a personalized thank you.
They know you sell insurance so don’t burn the gesture of goodwill by making it salesy!
Throughout this process you need to be very careful not to push the neighbor for a quote because you will immediately be viewed as another sleazy sales guy trying to B.S. his way to another sale.
If your tone and actions appear genuine they’ll do business with you eventually (fake it if you must).
Could you see this process working in your agency? Willing to give it a try?
Click the “like” button to let me know you like this idea and if you know another agent who likes clever sales techniques please feel free to pass it along to them.
Hope this helps!
The #1 Insurance Marketing Website for Agents. Free insurance marketing ideas, tools, strategies, and training to help agents succeed.