Trick question! Every service call is a sales opportunity! It’s just a matter of whether or not you are taking advantage of the opportunity. Without getting into a whole sales theology debate, it should be pointed out that basic sales strategies have changed in the last 30 (even 10 years). Gone are the days of “getting them to sign on the line which is dotted!”. The terms advisory sales and consultative sales are the terms we use now. But at the end of the day there simply has been a shift in the approach from doing whatever it took to get the sale towards a more honest approach of explaining to the customer what they need and reaping the benefits of providing the product or service that they need.
We used to have a clear divide in how we would approach servicing versus selling. Servicing was simply providing the client what they asked for. You want to add a new vehicle? Sure, no problem. I’ll add that without even discussing that you still only have 20/40 limits. Selling was the opposite. It didn’t matter what product you sold or who was the best fit, you tried to sell the product. I literally walked off the job after a meeting with a 92-year-old woman where my “mentor’ was showing me how to sell her long-term care insurance.
My mission in life is to see the titles, account manager or advisor and salesperson or producer, all come to mean the same thing in the eyes of the public (at least in our industry). I want us to move away from the hard sale as salespeople but recognize that selling a client something they need is not a bad thing. I don’t want to ever hear the words “I’m not a salesperson” ever again!
A good account manager is always going to talk about increasing limits or why writing all lines of business under one roof make sense. Is that not selling? Isn’t that exactly what we teach and train our producers and salespeople to do on a regular basis?
My definition of Good Service is “giving people what they need, not what they ask for”. You cannot provide Good Service without a selling component. When I hear people tell me that they are not salespeople, it’s either an excuse to reduce the effort they have to put into anything or there is a misunderstanding of the role of an Account Manager.
Once we recognize that selling a product to someone that needs it is Good Service, and that sales is not a four letter word (unlike “busy”!), we need to determine the approach to build the skill set and to determine how to make selling more comfortable. A good sales training program can not only provide the skills necessary to be able to talk with prospects and clients about new business, increased limits, additional endorsements, and account rounding policies, but will help the account managers realize that this is part of their job and is in the client’s best interest!
About the Author
Kelly Donahue-Piro is the founder and president of Agency Performance Partners. She is a no-nonsense effectiveness expert who has helped hundreds of insurance agencies identify and capitalize on sustainable improvement opportunities. Over the past several years, Kelly has worked with small businesses across the country to build and implement successful programs to boost revenues, profits and efficiency. In 2014, she created Agency Performance Partners with a mission to “partner with insurance entrepreneurs who dream to take their business to the next level – and beyond – by relentlessly pursuing excellence in world-class service and sales strategies.”