Client relationships are crucial to the success of any insurance brokerage but human connections are by no means infallible and just a few simple mistakes can cause serious damage.
Darren Fleming, an established trainer who works with finance professionals to help them grow their practice, says many of these common mistakes actually occur in the very first meeting.
Friends with benefits
“If a broker tries to become too friendly when establishing rapport, they run the risk of turning the client away,” warns Fleming, who’s worked with the likes of IAG and NAB.
“The client is looking for a business relationship – if you go in too hard and try to make it a personal or social relationship, you run the risk of becoming that icky insurance broker just looking for a deal.”
Instead, Fleming says brokers should focus on meeting the business needs of their client and demonstrating the professional value they offer.
“If you are seen as valuable, the client will automatically progress to a personal relationship,” he says.
Me, me, me
“This is an issue people across all industries face – they focus on themselves,” Fleming tells Insurance Business. “When the client says they want to insure their boat, they mentioned that they have a boat too. When the client says they want to insure their daughter’s car, they mention that their daughter is just learning to drive.”
While some brokers may believe this is an effective way to relate to clients, Fleming says it’s actually far more likely to alienate a customer.
“They make the conversation about themselves thinking it will build rapport,” he says. “Unfortunately, it kills rapport because you are always making everything about yourself.”
“This is a big problem when brokers know they can fix their client’s issues,” says Fleming. “They finish sentences for them, jump ahead to what has happened and try to show how clever they are.
“This is often done with the best intentions of demonstrating their expertise – unfortunately, it kills connection because the client is not telling their story and you are assuming what they want to hear. Let them speak.”
Jargon is essential within many industries and provides a common language for everyone to use – however, it can also make those outside the industry feel ignorant and out-of-their depth if they don’t understand it.
“Those in the industry often forget that others don’t know their jargon,” says Fleming. “It can take a lot of strength for some people to say they don’t understand what is being said. If your client feels this they will not connect with you as well as they could.”
Instead, Fleming says brokers should take the time to explain terms, so clients don’t feel ignorant or dumb about what is being sold.
“Nothing builds trust quicker than making people feel included and smart,” he says.