Commercial insurance can be a tough sell, even though it’s one of the best things a business can have.
Commercial insurance, known informally as business insurance, is usually designed to cover small, medium, and large businesses and corporations, ownership, and employees. A wide variety of options are available, as they need to cover different types of companies with unique needs and situations. Business property insurance and employers’ liability insurance are two examples of commercial insurance lines coverage.
What is Commercial Insurance?
At its most basic, commercial insurance is designed to protect businesses against the various risks that may affect their success. A few examples of those risks include:
- Property damage
- Unexpected events
- Cyberattacks and data breaches
- Business interruptions resulting in revenue loss
The products businesses can obtain through commercial insurance sales differ from personal insurance in various ways. For example, commercial insurance can cover multiple employees and stakeholders, and it tends to have higher coverage limits due to the more significant amount of physical property concerned.
Business personal property insurance and other commercial insurance lines aren’t a 100% guaranteed safeguard against every risk, but it can be the difference between an enterprise or organization surviving the storm or sinking into oblivion.
It won’t protect a business against everything, but business insurance can be a lifesaver in (potentially) expensive situations. Do entrepreneurs and other business owners understand the importance of the products you offer through your commercial insurance sales? Not necessarily, especially if their knowledge about commercial insurance is similar to that of the average person’s understanding of insurance options and coverage.
Selling Commercial Insurance – A Challenge
A 2017 UnitedHealthcare survey found that only 9% of Americans understand the terms ‘co-insurance,’ ‘health plan premium,’ ‘out-of-pocket maximum,’ and ‘health plan deductible.’ An Independent Agent Survey from The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents’ NU/PIA found that acquiring new clients was the most tricky challenge for 37% of the agents.
That said, commercial insurance sales are far from a lost cause. The Insurance Information Institute revealed that the US insurance industry net premiums totaled $1.28 trillion in 2020. 51% of those premiums were recorded by property/casualty (P/C) insurers, according to Global Market Intelligence. The net premiums written for the P/C sector, including commercial, auto, and homeowners’ insurance, totaled $652.8 billion in 2020.
Top Tips For Selling Commercial Insurance
Business owners and entrepreneurs buy business property insurance and other lines, but the sale’s job can be a challenge. Use the following tips to better your technique and rack up sales.
- Make time for your clients
Limiting your commercial insurance sales techniques to a slick presentation with a one-size-fits-all promise is unlikely to bring in new clients. Stop focusing on the sales presentation and start listening to them.
Ask open-ended questions to identify problems and possible solutions. Ask close-ended questions for deeper insights into what they understand, what they don’t understand, and the products you can recommend. Focus on their answers and adjust your plan according to their answers.
Examples of questions to ask include:
- What do you dislike about your current plan?
- What would you like from a new insurance plan?
- What is an essential quality: the insurer’s name, the premium, or the ability to see your preferred providers?
- How much can you afford to pay for your plan every month?
- Educate your clients
Commercial insurance sales are not all about the sales presentation.
When people want to buy a product, they research and opt for the products they think will meet their needs or provide them with one or more benefits. However, doing that research on business personal property insurance and other lines in commercial insurance can be challenging.
Use your calls or meetings with prospective clients and educate them about your offerings. Your clients will appreciate the education you provide, and they will realize that you are not attempting to take advantage of their lack of knowledge of commercial insurance. Educate them by:
- Giving them charts, illustrations, and infographics
- Delivering the information in layman’s terms and avoiding using industry jargon
- Offering recommendations but letting them make their own decisions
If they feel that the recommendations and insights you’ve provided have helped them in their decision-making, they may recommend you to other potential clients.
- Make personal connections with clients
Bring a human element into your sales tactics. Take the time to unpack your clients’ needs, understanding what their priorities are.
By building personal connections with your clients, you will be better placed to meet their needs, answer their questions, recommend the right policies, and gain more referrals from their network.
- Nurture clients and leads
It’s important to understand that you won’t win every sales pitch. Whether your sales presentations result in new business or not, it’s essential to invest time and effort into both your prospective and existing clients. The goal is to keep your name in their minds and help them appreciate or understand the value you can offer to their businesses.
Top tips for lead-nurturing include:
- Regular emails with ideas for risk management
- Offering informative webinars about insurance, unpacking how it can protect their businesses and address other concerns
- Writing blogs about your offerings and expertise
- Publishing short vlogs that explain the various lines of commercial insurance
Remember, educating potential and existing clients can lead to more sales.
- Identify your unique audience
Some insurance agents try to sell to all business classes, but this is not necessarily the best strategy. Find your audience and prioritize your commercial insurance sales efforts on that business class. Research the different business types prevalent in your area, read trade publications to learn about current issues, attend trade associations, and engage with people in your chosen type of business or industry.
Doing this allows you to:
- Become something of an expert on the risks posed to their industry, which will enhance your ability to assess those risks
- Boost your standing among clients and potential clients by offering them the right policies at a reasonable cost
- Enjoy the upper hand over your competitors who aren’t experts in the businesses or industries you focus on
- Gain more referrals as your reputation and standing improve among your clients
Remember, focusing on one type of business or industry does not mean you need to ignore other companies.
- Revisit commercial insurance sales fundamentals
It can be easy to lose sight of the fundamentals of sales, regardless of the industry. Revisit the fundamentals of commercial insurance sales periodically so that you can keep the dos and don’ts at the forefront of your mind.
According to New Zealand-based Think Right, the seven fundamentals of sales include:
- Understanding clients and what drives them
- Engaging customers effectively – Understanding the impact of words, tone, and body language, as well as what to say and what not to say
- Understanding the process of buying
- Asking intelligent questions
- Handling prospective clients’ objections in a way that leads to the best outcome
- Upselling and cross-selling
- Closing confidently
Communication strategies should form a crucial part of your sales fundamentals.
- Script and practice your sales phone call
Building a personal connection with and listening to your prospective clients does not mean your sales phone calls should be entirely off the cuff. An utterly unprepared conversation could make you feel less confident. There’s a chance your prospective client will pick up on your lack of confidence, and if they do, it’s unlikely that your call will result in business property insurance or other commercial insurance sales.
Prepare a script for your sales calls and practice it until you feel confident, keeping in mind that you may need to adjust or alter it slightly, depending on how the prospective client answers the questions you ask.
- Don’t make assumptions
We make assumptions in practically every aspect of our lives, whether business or personal. However, making incorrect assumptions can negatively impact your commercial insurance sales.
Avoid making flawed assumptions such as:
- Assuming you know how a sales appointment is going to turn out
- Assuming prospective clients know and understand basic insurance terms such as ‘premium,’ ‘co-pay costs,’ ‘out-of-pocket,’ and ‘deductible’
- Assuming the traffic will be normal and leaving for appointments as late as possible
Instead, ask questions and listen to your prospective clients’ answers to find out what they know, ascertain their needs, and educate them regarding the basics. Furthermore, looking professional is only one part of being professional. Make every effort to be punctual for appointments, meetings, and phone calls.
Improve Your Sales Technique
While sales are essential to your business, it’s essential to cultivate a solution-driven culture prioritizing your clients’ needs. It’s not about encouraging your clients to opt for the most pricey options, but rather finding the right fit for their goals and creating a mutually beneficial experience for both parties.
Listening and responding accordingly to clients, and implementing the other tips listed above, builds relationships, gains respect, and can lead to successful sales and new clients.