In an interview with Joe Rosengarten, Senior Editor, Insurance Business, Larry Graham, Vice President of Business Development & Instructor at LePhair Associates talks about an exciting webinar series we recently worked on with RSA on value based selling.
The insurance industry has never been so fiercely competitive. Clients are expecting better services delivered in a more efficient, tech-enabled ways and they want these upgraded services at a cheaper price. Brokers are under pressure to adapt and, for Graham; one particular strategy makes sense in the current market: value based selling.
“There are a lot of “insurance policies” out there but a broker’s true value is realized when they are able to truly understand the client’s needs and concerns and then customize a solution accordingly,” Graham says. “The challenge, of course, is helping prospects and clients understand and agree on that value. The best way of doing that is by asking great questions to uncover their needs and objectives and qualifying the client or prospect throughout their buying journey.”
Graham describes the value based approach as being both a sales strategy and a state of mind. Brokers are encouraged to put in the time to truly understand their clients’ needs and goals, and then communicate customized value-centred ideas and suggestions that address those objectives. Price should be only one of the topics of discussion and most certainly not a topic to be dwelled upon.
“Value-centred/based selling presupposes that the broker is currently engaged with, and remains engaged with, the person who can say ‘yes,’” Graham says. “For a professional involved in sales activities, it’s our role to understand, define and confirm what “value” means to each client or prospect, and then provide them with a recommendation in their best interest, based on their needs.”
Graham believes that, when utilized properly, the value based selling approach will enable brokers to both attract new clients and retain more of their current customer base. Asking the right questions at the right time is crucial for any broker who wants to communicate the importance of value. “As we all know, not all clients or prospects are interested in “value”. Some – perhaps 20% to 30% – of those we interact with are exclusively interested in price and not cost,” Graham says.
“The danger of pursuing and earning a price-centred client is that as soon as we earn their business, despite our best value-centred efforts, come renewal time this same client will shop around for the next lowest priced broker – and sign on with them.”
In order to implement the value approach in their daily practices, Graham urges brokers to start conversations on value early in their interactions with a client, not only face-to-face but also on e-mail, phone and social media. “We must qualify the client and the specific opportunity throughout the entire life-sales cycle by asking ourselves: “Is this specific client/prospect opportunity worthy of my continued pursuit?” he says.