If you ask five insurance sales professionals about the steps in the sales process, you’re likely to get at least three different answers. Some suggest it’s a five-step process. Others might suggest six, seven, eight, or 10 steps.
Admittingly no single approach will likely work for everyone. But there are standard steps that most sales pros agree upon and follow.
Insurance Sales Steps to Follow
Here’s a summary of our suggested seven-step sales process:
1: Build your product knowledge: Prospects and clients rely on you to help them find and sort through the health insurance options offering the right balance between coverage and cost. They expect you to know what plans and networks offer access to the doctors, hospitals, and prescription drug coverage they want and need. Taking the time needed to get to know the products in your portfolio will benefit you – and help you prove your value to clients. Talk with your carrier and GA reps. Sign up for new product intro or demo meetings. Read whatever materials are available when a new product is rolled out. These will help you be better prepared to respond to objections later on in your sales cycle.
2: Prospect: Most carriers develop sales personas for their products. Use this demographic, psychographic, and other information to help you identify companies, types of businesses, and leaders/owners/managers who may be a good match for your outreach. If you choose, you can also use your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform to help you develop your lead list. Social media and current customers may also be good lead sources. Our Spring 2023 blog post, Tips to Give Your Prospect List a Spring Cleaning, offers guidance on creating a buyer persona, engaging (or re-engaging prospects), and other tips.
3: Connect and Qualify: Your method for outreach may vary based on the source of the lead. For example, if a lead comes from a current customer’s referral, you may want to initially reach out by telephone, then scheduled a time to meet in person. If the lead comes through your website, you may want to reach out via email, with a phone follow-up. If your lead is a paid lead (one based on a target industry or business list), an initial outreach by mail with a phone follow-up may work best. If your lead comes through social media, a first response via social media may make sense.
Before making any pitch or presentation, you will want to qualify your leads. Your goal, of course, is to get information that will help you find the right product (or service) to address your prospect’s/client’s needs and those of their employees. You should also discuss budget. You will want to ask about any issues with their current or previous health plan/carrier/insurance agent. Be sure you know who has the authority to make the ultimate decision in response to your follow-up discussion where your pitch comes into play.
4: Pitch/Demo/Present: Once you have an idea of your client’s/prospect’s needs, budget, timeline, authority, and pain points, you can research options for their consideration. You can then develop a well-crafted presentation that illustrates how your recommended product checks-off their issues and needs. You may want to incorporate a video into your presentation depending on what product you suggest. For example, if you’re suggesting the CaliforniaChoice exchange, several videos are available to explain how the exchange works.
Be sure to develop a presentation that includes relevant, targeted information that directly addresses issues discussed in your earlier conversation. You want to demonstrate your expertise about the market and show your prospect/client that you listen and have worked to find the right solution to their challenges and needs.
5: Quote and Handle Objections: If you are successful, you can ask for a group census that will allow you to prepare a custom quote/proposal. Show your client how your recommended product offers employees the coverage they want at a price the employer can afford. (If the employer is sharing the cost with employees, be prepared to show different cost-sharing scenarios if there’s pushback on pricing.) Explain how you are the ideal representative to help enroll the group, and that you are committed to service after the sale, too.
6: Seal the Deal/Close: Hopefully, your efforts will lead to an agreement and close. (If not, don’t beat yourself up. Make notes about what worked – and didn’t – and move on to your next lead.) Reiterate next steps and the timeline for enrolling the group, getting ID cards to employees, and when coverage will begin. This is especially important for those who may be covered by a different health plan right now and need to switch doctors or work out a transition plan for continuing care. If you get questions you cannot answer immediately, make a commitment to deliver a timely response in the near future.
7: Follow Up/Nurturing the Relationship/Getting Referrals: Your job isn’t over because you’ve enrolled the group and closed the sale. Your post-sale follow up is among the most important steps in the sales process. Be sure to send a thank you. Reach out regularly to ensure everything is going smoothly and your clients (and their employees) are happy with their new coverage. Nurturing your new connections can help you earn more new business and referrals in the future. Be sure to add new clients to your CRM, so they can stay up to date on what’s new and how you might further assist in the future. We have published multiple blogs on the importance of CRM. Check out our 2022 post, 5 Signs You Might Need a CRM System, for things to consider if you’re not using CRM yet.
Choose A Partner You Can Count On
Just as your customers want to be able to count on you, it is important for you and your agency to have a partner on whom you can rely. The right general agent can make an enormous difference. Word & Brown has been working with brokers since 1985. We are known for our insurance sales and back-office support – as well as Service of Unequalled Excellence.
Talk with your Word & Brown representative about everything we have to offer – including access to a quoting system that sets you apart from your competition. It includes highlighted plan differences, online enrollment integration, and built-in provider searches. We have a virtually unmatched portfolio with the products and carriers your clients want – all backed by professionals committed to your sales success.
If you’re not already doing business with Word & Brown, it’s easy to get started. Fill out our online registration form, or call us today at 800-869-6989.