Agencies and the Art of Upselling: “Do You Want Fries With That?”, Part 2

Insurance Agency Upselling

How does an agency successfully cross sell products, while keeping their clients’ best interests in hand, and without the appearance that all they are doing is trying to further separate your customers from their money? Here are a few suggestions that will help you or your staff to write more from within:

1) First off, establish a cross selling (and measurable) goal that your agency can attain. By this I mean that you should have a team meeting, and determine the percentage of total growth that you expect to achieve from existing business within your agency, versus business that is entirely new to your organization.

2) Next, create a method of cross-selling to your clients, specific to each line of business. It can be as simple as what type of coverage should you suggest to owners of certain types of policies.

3) Establish a target for each line of business customer. Such as, from a personal lines auto policy customer you may expect a 25% increase in written premium, and perhaps from a commercial account.

4) Designate a person within your agency who can champion this project, who will monitor achievements, track successes, and encourage others to always be selling to all those who communicate with the agency.

5) Do not expect to obtain large premiums on each cross sell opportunity…take advantage of a small renter’s policy sale to a single auto policy owner, with the long term goal of selling a life policy to them in the future.

6) Sometimes the cross-sell opportunity is right under your nose, and you don’t even realize it. For example: analyze each and every portfolio of all your clients, with the intention of uncovering business that you may not have sought after the first time. For instance: perhaps you targeted pizzerias because you have a program with a certain carrier that specializes in these types of establishments. Well remember that the owner of the pizzeria most likely lives somewhere so there is a need for some type of home coverage, or perhaps they even drive a car to work, or have a family to financially protect…see my point?

7) Offer incentives to those who cross sell…perhaps a bonus, or a higher commission rate. It may cost you a few bucks extra up front, but in the long run your retention rate and agency bottom line will all be affected in a very positive way.

8) Lastly, when a cross sell opportunity is resented to a client, and the client refuses the product, have a preprinted coverage sign off sheet readily available for them to sign, indicating that they were offered the coverage, and declined. Chain drug stores have implemented this procedure when purchasing prescription drugs, requiring the customer to check off the “declined consultation” box, before being permitted to complete the transaction and purchase the drugs, which causes some folks to actually ask additional questions about what it is that they are purchasing.

9) Schedule annual policy reviews with your clients. This will not only help you to broaden the policy portfolios of your clients, but will also offer them the added protection that they may certainly be in need of.

10) Learn from the experts of cross selling: Did you ever notice when you purchase an item online, more specifically a book, that you will receive an email stating that “75% of those who purchased that, also purchased this”. Believe it or not, with a little thought and imagination you can find a correlation between many policies, that when one is purchased, it will cause you to consider another. For example: if one purchases a homeowners policy for a new home, perhaps they need life insurance to protect the mortgage.

All of the suggestions above are just the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to new and innovative ways to cross sell to your existing business, as there are so many additional means of increasing each clients’ value in your agency. But no matter what your organization’s method of obtaining new business from existing business is, remember to always look for the additional opportunity, and “always be selling”.