Successful business insurance agents are excellent communicators.
They know that asking the right questions, demonstrating sincere interest in the answers, and continuing to probe until they clearly understand what their prospect feels is important – is something they do arguably better than anyone else.
They may or may not be curious by nature, but they are not nosy. They ask their questions respectfully in order to get their prospects to open up. To tell them their honest concerns.
Why do successful business insurance agents ask so many questions and why do they get honest answers more often than not? Especially when the questions are not specifically about the prospects insurance policies?
Business owners are naturally secretive, cynical and have a built in BS detector that can pick out hype and hard sell across a crowded room.
Why do these people, folks who don’t tell their accountants the whole story, never actually tell their lawyer everything, and often keep everybody else in the dark – open up to their business insurance agents?
Successful business insurance agents know that this secretive business owner will answer any legitimate question they ask, if they are respectful, genuinely interested, and if they ask it at their very first meeting.
The last point is critical. If they show interest, these lonely hard driven business owners will spill their guts to them the first time they meet. Later on the business owner has their defense mechanisms back up.
Business insurance agents understand this. They are masters at breaking the ice with honest questions that demonstrate their interest. They have seen how this approach results in an atmosphere of mutual respect, a relationship quickly develops around this shared information – often information they have never shared with another living soul.
Their objective is to involve the business owner in the discussion, learn what makes them tick, what keeps them awake at night – without being pushy, without the appearance of aggressiveness. Is it any wonder that successful business insurance agents are closer to their clients than virtually any other member of the business owner’s advisory team?
Successful business insurance agents don’t act like technicians. Instead they are looking for the why, the who, the when, and the where of the challenges and concerns the business owner has. Then they will work hand in glove with the business owner to determine the how. How things need to be done in order to insure the outcomes the business owner wants.
Business insurance agents never begin a discussion with 2 + 2 questions, or ask the business owner to drag out their Buy/Sell Agreement, ancient tax returns, corporate disability income policies, errors & omissions and liability coverages, or their life insurance.
Successful business insurance agents know that 2+2 will always equal four. There will be lots of time to track down all the details, if they successfully win the battle for their prospect’s trust.
And they never ask questions that have no “yes” or “no” as possible answers. They are there to draw out the feelings of the business owner, what’s important to the business and the business owner’s family.
They ask questions no one else has the courage to ask, because other advisors are often afraid to put the business owner on the spot. What if they get mad? What if they tell them it’s none of their business?
On the other hand, what if the insurance agent does not ask the hard questions or they ask them in an offhanded way and don’t stick with it until they get the real answer? What if they blow off this need to get honest feedback from the business owner and something bad happens?
Successful business insurance agents know that when something bad happens, they are the only people on earth who bring cash to the crisis. No one else can do that.
In the end, what matters most – the agent’s momentary embarrassment for asking a hard question, the business owner’s uneasiness for being asked a question that is hard for them to answer, or the feelings of gratitude when the business insurance agent shows up with the check that puts out whatever fires have descended on the business and the business owner’s family?
Here is a question asked probably thousands of times every day by successful business insurance agents.
“If you had died last night and your spouse went to see your business insurance agent this morning, what three questions would they ask them? How would your agent have to answer them? What would you like for them to be able to say – how would you like your agent to answer them?”
Successful business insurance agents ask questions like this so that the business owner has to think before answering them.
They ask questions no one can answer for them, getting the business owner involved not only in defining the problem, it also making them a party to the solution.
Successful business insurance agents let the business owner articulate the problem because the solution, whatever it is, belongs to the business owner, not them.
The business owner has to live with their own solution or without it, as they choose.