In a study of 397 companies, the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research found that 76% of those surveyed believed they should be generating at least 25% more revenue from their strategic accounts. Another study found that maximizing sales to existing accounts is the No. 1 priority for producers in 2018.
Upselling is not about sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring. It’s about being proactive. Give your clients attention and put them first. Understand their business and what’s important to them. Do this and you’ll have greater success expanding business with your current clients and achieving the year’s No. 1 priority.
Many insurance companies think they should be generating more revenue from their current clients, yet too few actually are.
If you want to succeed with upselling, follow these five tips for success:
No. 5: Build product and service knowledge.
Agents know what they sell, and they sell what they know. The problem is that few agents are able to speak fluently about all of your products and services. If they aren’t comfortable talking about it, they aren’t going to recommend it, and they probably aren’t going to recognize client needs in those areas.
What can you do to change this? Make sure all of your agents have the product and service knowledge to speak about the broad range of solutions you provide. Agents don’t need to be experts in every area. They simply need to know enough to be able to do the following:
- Ask questions to identify needs across your solutions.
- Speak fluently about your full solution set.
- Refer clients to colleagues of theirs who are product or service area experts.
If your agents don’t have the knowledge and confidence to speak about your full range of services, it doesn’t matter if you do everything else recommended here; they still won’t succeed in upselling to your current clients.
No. 4: Target specific clients you want to grow.
Not all clients are created equal. Some may have a large appetite for your insurance solutions, while others may only need one or two services.
Evaluate and prioritize your current clients by considering the following factors:
- Revenue potential you believe you can generate with a current client: This may be related to the client’s size, or not. Physically larger clients don’t always translate to larger accounts for you. Consider the revenue potential from each client and prioritize your outreach efforts.
- Your profit potential with a client: Different products and services generally operate at different profit levels. Keep this in mind as you target your accounts.
- Strategic fit: You may have strategic synergies with some clients that need to be considered.
- Current level of mutual trust with your clients: Trust is essential for sales success in general and especially for upselling success. Clients who already trust in you are more likely to take your ideas or advice and follow your lead.
No. 3: Reach out with new ideas.
When generating meetings with your current clients, don’t reach out to talk about your capabilities in other areas. Instead, reach out with new ideas. Do an analysis of their current insurance coverage and offer to present your findings to them. Share new research you’ve conducted, success stories or industry trends. Consider:
- “Hi, client. We’re currently handling your flood insurance, and I’d like to come in and talk about the other areas of your business that also may be at risk and how we can help.”
- “Hi, client. Our company recently conducted a survey with landlords like yourself to determine the areas they’re most at risk. I’d like to come in and share our findings with you. I’d be happy to do a quick analysis ahead of time to see how you stack up.”
Which agent would you be more likely to bring in for a discussion?
No. 2: Strengthen client relationships
If you don’t have strong client relationships (and they’re probably not as strong as you think), upselling is going to be a challenge.
You can strengthen your client relationships and trust by reaching out to clients with new ideas (see No. 3) and being a resource to them. Clients want to know that you’re thinking of them and that you care. Demonstrate that by staying in close contact with them. Don’t wait for them to reach out with a question about their policy. Be proactive. Be a source of insight and advice.
When you position yourself in this way, you build strong, essential relationships with your clients.
No. 1: Understand customer needs.
One of the keys to upselling success is to understand your products and services through the lens of the client needs they fulfill.
What needs do your products and services — each of them — serve? How do clients describe these needs? What are the actual words they use when talking about these risks and challenges?
What specific questions can you ask to uncover these needs?
The more you can understand the needs of your clients and view each of your products and services through the lens of client needs, the greater upselling success you’ll have. You’ll find that it’s easier to connect the dots between each client and what you offer. Doing this takes practice and often a tool or job-aid is helpful in getting agents to think this way.