Decision Time

Decision Time

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Will they stay or will they go?

As a producer, you go into a meeting with a goal of getting the incumbent broker fired. You want the prospect to leave their current agent and go with your firm. You want their business. Now.

The problem is, when your sales leader asks, “How did the meeting go?” you say things like, “I found out how much premium they pay now,” or, “I know what carrier they are with and what coverages they have on their policy.” Sure, this is all helpful information—but it’s not what you need to know if you want to win the business. You could spend lots of time assembling a quote that will never be taken seriously.

Why? Because you don’t understand their decision-making process.

The #1 question any producer should get answered before leaving a prospect meeting is this: How do you decide whether you will stay with your current broker or consider a new one?

You can get answers by guiding them through these five setup questions.

#1 What broker are you with now?

First thing’s first. Here, you simply want to learn what broker they are currently doing business with so you can understand the competition.

#2 How long have you been with your current broker?

Longevity can indicate loyalty to a broker, and possibly an unwillingness to switch. If the prospect has been with their broker for a long time, ask why. Find out what made them interested in meeting with you?

On the other hand, a prospect who frequently switches brokers might be more interested in price, or shopping vendors is part of their annual process. If they switch often, ask the reason for this.

#3 Do you remember why you switched initially?

This question can uncover what would prompt the prospect to switch brokers now. The prospect might answer, “Every three years we shop the business.” Now, you’ve gathered a clue: There is a process they follow. Or, the person could respond, “We want to make sure we are staying up to speed on everything in the market.” This could indicate the prospect likes to put brokers to the test. Gradually, you’re learning more about the decision-making process.

#4 What were you trying to accomplish by changing brokers?

Was the change because of a lower price or better service? The prospect might say, “We needed a polic y that fit into our new budget,” or, “The firm said it would help us lower our loss ratios.” Here, you learn more about a prospect’s impetus for switching brokers.

#5 How has that gone so far?

So, did the broker do what was promised? Why or why not?

The Final Questions

Now, you’ve set up the conversation so you can naturally ease into the final questioning stage that determines the decision-making process: If you were going to switch brokers again, what would you have to be convinced of? If my firm could do that for you, would you consider switching to us?

With this information, you can decide whether the prospect’s goals align with what you can reasonably provide. For example, if the price they want to pay is completely unrealistic, you can stop wasting time calling on that prospect. If they are looking for products or services you do not offer, you’ll know to move on. But, if the issue was lack of service, you can share how your firm delivers.

When prospects are serious, they will tell you exactly what you must do to earn their business. You’ll increase your chance of success with the prospects you meet and more quickly weed out those who are not a match for your firm.

So, will they stay or will they go? You can find out. Just ask.


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