There is a growing trend where the internet and mobile devices has become part of the insurance sales process. So much so that it plays a role in 8 out 10 life insurance purchases, says a study by PWC.

Interestingly though, other statistics reveals that although the internet is used during the process, 51% of consumers would still choose to meet in person before making an insurance purchase. Click To Tweet

Interactive websites, online advertising, direct email and social media can certainly be effective in raising brand awareness. However, face-to-face selling is often the most effective way to increase sales and build customer loyalty.

Perhaps for some types of insurance, you may never meet with a client in person but with life insurance, this is often times very necessary.

Here is a list of reasons why it’s best to meet face-to-face with your customer when selling life insurance:

1. You want to Build Life Long Relationships

Regardless of what you are selling, achieving success is all about developing a relationship with the buyer. It may be possible to do this over the phone, to a certain extent, but when you meet in person it is so much easier.

Who wouldn’t prefer working with people that we trust and with whom we share something in common?

An insurance sales agent greeting prospects at their home or office with a friendly smile and handshake sets a positive tone. It will beat any internet pop-up.

Before getting down to business, engaging in light conversation will highlight things you have in common. Be this a business connection or even a shared neighbourhood.

By meeting face-to-face you will have the opportunity to ask relevant questions about the person’s situation. And take their responses into account, before explaining how the product or service can offer benefits.

When contact is limited solely to the phone or virtual realm, these kinds of interactions are more difficult and less personal. Once your relationship is established with a prospect, email and/or phone calls can then be used.

There are a few ways to help build strong, long-lasting relationships:

  • Frequent communication –  once you have met with the customer, ensure you communicate frequently. Set up communication tactics such as automated emails.  Be sure to personalize these and provide helpful advice, hints and tips.
  • Customer rewards – let your prospect know of any loyalty programs you offer, giving case examples of how the program works. Rewarding loyal customers increases your referrals and retaining these customers.
  • Get personal – the reason the customer agreed to meet you in person is to get to know you. Don’t be a robot. Communicate like a human-being and be relatable.

2. It’s An Education

Face-to-face meetings provides a prospect with more than just product information.  Especially for your mid-market income consumers. These consumers have a number of risk factors to consider when buying life-insurance.

This market of customers are working, have families to be taken care of and also have to start thinking about retirement. By meeting face-to-face with them and gathering information you will be able to provide them with information on risk products like life and illness protection.

Face-to-face selling simplifies the complexity of it all. And will lead your client to gain clarity and comfortably make their decision to purchase the right product.

Clearly articulate to them the benefits of them coming to you as opposed to getting cover online.

Here are ideas on how to educate your customer without being the pushy sales agent:

  • Forget about selling the product, and start selling yourself. Your expertise, experience and knowledge. The benefits to them of an experienced insurance agent vs an online purchase of life insurance.
  • Leverage testimonials. Nothing speaks more about who you are and what you do, by what your customers say about you. Be armed with your best testimonials.
  • Think about your customer. Put yourself in your customers shoes and answer their problem with a simple solution.

3. Direct Referrals Will Come From It

65% of a company’s new business is from referrals, says the New York Times. And (great) personal service leads to additional direct referrals. Which may result in increased sales.

By meeting a prospect face-to-face and once they become a satisfied client, a good business practice is to ask him or her for referrals. They will lead you to people who they believe could also benefit from life insurance.

If your customers feel satisfied, i.e.:

  • you listen attentively to their concerns
  • honestly answer their questions
  • provide high-quality products, and
  • assist them with a high level of integrity and support

They will be more than happy to share referrals from within their network.

This can prove to be invaluable in increasing your sales volumes and growing a thriving customer base for your agency.

Asking for a referral is daunting, here are a few examples to help make this task easier:

  • “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my service. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my expertise?”
  • I’m really glad that you’re pleased with the service I provide. I’d really appreciate it if you’d pass my name along to anyone else you know who would be interested in life insurance. May I leave these extra business cards with you?”
  • Never ask for a referral when presenting a bill.
  • Always ask for a referral when face-to-face. It shows more respect to your customer and your customer is less likely to say no.

4. It’s all about Planning

Who want’s to talk to a computer screen about their retirement funding concerns? Click To Tweet

As customers get older, they begin to worry more about their retirement funding. And whether their current products are adequate to get them through their ageing years.

This is exactly the type of scenario which demonstrates how technology cannot replace human interaction. Especially when it comes to life insurance. Life insurance covers a large range of product options. And each needs to be tailored specifically to an individual’s or family’s needs.

The sales process is thus more complex than, say, automobile insurance. Typical short-term insurance can be easily selected on a website or over the phone. By providing little information such as the amount of cover required.  But this is not the case for long-term insurance.

Insurance agents can apply their experience, expertise and powers of persuasion when in a face-to-face situation. An agent can help each customer better navigate through the available choices to arrive at an optimal solution. This helps the customer meet their needs in line with their budget. It also helps further prevent any misguidance when the customers comes to claim.

5. Personalised Service

If the prospect is willing to talk to you, then you know that they appreciate the comfort of meeting an insurance agent face-to-face. One of the reasons for this, is that they are looking for that personal service which insurance agents are typically known for.

If they weren’t looking for it, they wouldn’t have given you the time of day and would have just gone online to find what they were looking for.

Insurance needs change as life happens and circumstances change. Give customers the comfort that by working with the same agent over time. It will enable you to suggest insurance products that will ensure that their family and possessions are protected. And that they are covered throughout their life journey.

Personal service is your unique offering and its about making the customer feel like they’re doing business with a human, as apposed to a company. Here are a few simple ways to make your customer feel like they are getting personalized service:

  • Say your customers name. Studies have shown that hearing our name lights up an entirely different part of our brain. Use your name and your customers name frequently during your face-to-face meeting. This also applies to any email communication.
  • Show your face. When sending an email, after you have met with the person, be sure to include a small profile pic in your email signature. Facial recognition helps to convert and build trust with your customers.
  • Learn as much about your customers as possible. When they got married, how many children they have,  their birthdays etc. This data is a powerful tool to have in order to keep the communication flow with your customer.

Face-to-face meetings are the key to improving customer retention and boosting customer loyalty. It is your most powerful sales tool.

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