In the first few weeks of the lockdown, many brokers across the country received a high volume of calls and queries from worried clients. They expressed concerns over their insurance cover, as they experienced the biggest business challenges they’d ever faced.
Now that the inbound calls may have slowed down a little, it’s the perfect moment to look inward at your client retention and new business processes. There are five key steps that you can take as a broker to start to turn the negatives into proactive positives. By following these stages, you are more likely to see a spike in your revenue when we do come out the other side of the pandemic.
Be a trusted advisor, not just a policy peddler
Unfortunately, the insurance industry has been criticised in the press for not communicating to its customer base. It has been said that we’ve been talking to our clients less than other sectors affected by COVID-19, such as gyms, pubs, restaurants and hotels. Yet, we are in an amazingly gifted position where we can actually help our clients. So, it’s time to have courage and pick up the phone.
Use this period to make service-led calls to your clients. Don’t go into the call with the intention of making a sell, simply phoning to ask how you can help them, their family or their business is the most important thing you can do right now.
Taking the time to use this approach shows that brokers are not just policy peddlers, by making these calls you become a trusted advisor. In turn, this imbues your relationship with your customers with loyalty and continuity going forward. We’ve seen how clients across the Bravo Group have been extremely grateful that someone is willing to listen to their experiences. In some circumstances, brokers have gone above and beyond, sourcing PPE equipment for their customers, which won’t be forgotten by those clients.
You may want to start with your most important clients or those that you know are struggling. We’d advise creating a COVID-19 list of existing clients that have phoned around furloughing or reducing cover; these will be the first people you want to call when we reach the other side of the pandemic. This tactic will not only ensure you’re protecting your clients as they may forget to change their cover from the adaptions they made during the crisis, it will also boost your future income.
Variety is the spice of business
You might be thinking who in your team should make these kind of phone calls, as you may have renewal outreaches coming up as well. We’d advise looking at moving your team around and putting your Account Handlers on renewals.
This then frees up your Account Executives’ time to be able to provide that service-led approach where they are consoling, advising and listening to your customers’ concerns, allowing them to build solid relationships with your client base.
Being flexible and making internal alterations quickly to respond to what is happening in the industry and the world means your business is more likely to prosper in today’s market. Don’t shy away from change, embrace it.
Out with the old in with the renew
That brings us on to renewals. There’s a tried and tested model; whereby when a client is coming up for renewal, you ring them weeks in advance and ask them how they think they should proceed. The chances are they will turn the question around and ask you what you think they should do. This is where you offer to make a renewal agenda for them. The likelihood is they’re going to say yes, as right now they are busy trying to navigate the COVID-19 landscape and keep their business afloat. Once they say yes, put a call in for the next day to go through the plan with them.
Having a renewal agenda forces one standard conversation with your customer, as currently several of your Account Executives may have different discussions with them, depending on what policies they have on cover. An agenda gives the process structure and increases your professionalism, which as a result enhances your reputation.
There is no better time than right now to embed a phone-based renewal procedure into a business. The seven topics we’d advise covering on the agenda are:
- What changes have happened?
- The renewal proposal.
- The renewal payment.
- Are there any insurances not held? This is an opportunity for you to cross-sell for example cyber and shareholder protection.
- Are there any insurances held elsewhere? This is another area where the renewal can generate additional revenue, as you can demonstrate how you can source fuller and perhaps even more competitive cover for the client.
- Do they need any personal protection, such as home insurance?
- How else can you help? This is the most important point, as it shows your client where you can add value. It also reinforces that trusted advisor status.
More bang for your buck
We’ve touched on cross-selling in point four of the renewal agenda, and this is another area to focus your attention on. The current upselling opportunity for cyber insurance is huge. A cyber hack can close a business down, and a staggering 80% of ransomware and hacking occurs when you have people working from home. It is going on right now, and it will be happening to your clients.
Shareholder protection is another big cause for concern. No-one wants to ever imagine the loss of a shareholder or co-business owner; however, the Coronavirus is threatening people’s lives. Unfortunately, if your client can’t find the money to buy those shares if their co-owner or a major shareholder were to sadly pass away, the business could be sold.
The process of cross-selling to a client can take some figuring out. The conundrum is usually that they can never picture a scenario happening to them. However, if you can tell them a story that they can relate to then there is a higher likelihood that you will be home and dry in selling that protection. Do your research on other cases and a find a business that has a similar set up to your customer that was subject to a cyber-attack for example. It shows you care about and understand your clients’ businesses and, again, are that trusted advisor.
If your customer is concerned about the cost of extra cover, look at where you can create savings on other policies, so you can add on cyber or shareholder protection at no extra cost to them.
Sow those new business seeds
Last but not least is finding those new business leads. Try replicating those service calls that you’ve started making to existing clients with your list of prospects who are doing well during the COVID-19 pandemic. You already have their contact details, so you’ve got nothing to lose. You may think about dropping a prospect an email, but you want to stand out. Don’t forget, winning new clients is about contacting prospects in a way that makes you memorable. You have a greater chance of sticking in their mind by making a call over sending an email that will probably get buried in their overflowing inbox.
A great way to start a conversation is telling a prospect that you’ve seen something about the way a business like theirs is expanding that made you think of them. By delivering empathy and advice and matching the opportunity to the client it differentiates you from other brokers.
Doing the groundwork now will help you to get through the door and put those future meetings in place, whether that is virtually or in person when we can meet face-to-face with clients again. It might be a mid-term new business lead, or they may remember you at renewal.
You can either see this time as a window of opportunity or as a threat. The best brokers are using this period of adversity to put a good structure in place, laying the foundations now by using the tips we’ve mentioned. As a result, they will reap the benefits on the upswing. Opportunities are there, so seize them.