To engage the trust, loyalty and continued business of a small-business client, a sincere demonstration of empathy on the part of an agent can go a long way.
That’s why Robert Klinger, LUTCF, CPIA, president, Klinger Insurance Group, which is based in Germantown, Maryland, and president, AIMS Society, suggests using the “Feel, Felt, and Found” technique.
“Most insurance agencies start out as a small business themselves, so they understand what it’s like to be a small business,” Klinger says. “You are the receptionist, human-resources person, producer, customer service representative and company psychologist when an employee has a problem. You do the employee evaluations, take care of the benefits, you are the cleaning crew, equipment maintenance person, etc.”
With that in mind, insurance agents are in an ideal position to relate to what their clients are going through, a great way to build relationships and demonstrate value. The “Feel, Felt, and Found technique” works like this, Klinger explains:
- Feel: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and assure them that you understand how they feel.
- Felt: Tell the client that you felt the same way and did X and Y to get through that same issue.
- Found: Assure the client that in you, they have found a trusted advisor they can go to again and again for the help they need.
“Over a period of time, I found that it is good to surround yourself with people that you can go to when you have particular issues. I have a CPA friend that I can ask advice on finances. I have a lawyer friend that I can go to when I have legal questions. Be that person for your small-business clients,” he suggests.
“Build a niche in certain industries. Learn and understand the issues small businesses face daily in that industry. Have solutions to those issues or people you can send small-business clients to that can help them with those issues. Become a trusted advisor to this niche as well as to all your customers,” Klinger advises.
“Sometimes small-business owners feel like they are on their own little island, barely staying afloat,” he points out. “Have resources for your clients that you can refer them to when they need help. Be the first person they think to call when they need help with their business issues.”
Klinger concludes: “You’ll become much more than just the client’s insurance agent; you’ll be an asset, partner and friend.”