Today’s insurance sales industry faces growing complexity and competition at every corner. Insurance has become a commodity market by low growth in mature markets. As a result, insurance companies are shifting the way that they go to market and interact with their clients.
With new strategies come new challenges in the preservation of market share. Here’s a look at some of those challenges, with some insights on how to overcome them.
Keeping a Client Focused Approach
For the majority of producers, all sales are conversions. That is, a sale for one company is a loss for another. The insurance sale has become a commodity which underscores the need for a client focus to build relationships and loyalty.
The challenge to make this shift is often a direct result of a ‘system think’ philosophy precipitated by internal processes getting in the way of a customer focus.
As regulations become more complex, customers want an easy way to understand their options and make a choice. As part of this shift, producers are taking a more generalist role to provide expertise around a wider array of products. The challenge is using that new approach to provide better customer-producer relationships that lead to sales.
Ensure that the client experience is exceptional. Engage the client by taking time to ask broader questions to understand their goals, improve the experience, and uncover additional needs. Build trust by integrating client ideas and needs into a meaningful and » Continue Reading.
There is no second act in selling. Buyers have too many options and not enough time. When your salespeople show up, they must be exceptional – cutting through the noise and distilling what matters most.
Join Richardson for a complimentary webinar, Adjusting Your Consultative Selling Approach to Engage The Modern Buyer, on August 8 at 3:00 PM EST. In this webinar, attendees will learn how to create a fresh approach to their Consultative Selling Training Programs that empowers their sales organizations:
To understand not only buyer psychology, but the neuroscience and behavioral science behind how people form impressions, make judgments, and arrive at decisions How to foster trust and encourage openness from their buyers How to float ideas in a way that deepens the conversation rather than limiting it
The technology industry sales field is one of unending change. Sellers must remain cognizant of these changes and how they affect their buyers’ needs in order to be equipped to properly position their offering. Focusing on these four selling behaviors will help sellers working in this challenging industry better serve their buyers and drive revenue for their businesses.
Provide Value in a Rapidly Changing Industry
Many sellers today struggle to understand the nuances of their market. Rapid developments in tech mean that this challenge is becoming a moving target. Sellers face emerging trends, shifting priorities, and even new terminology when approaching the customer. These factors create challenges in articulating the relevancy of a solution over the long-term.
To provide value, sellers need to form a collaborative relationship. This collaboration leads to insights, which offer clues on how to position a product. Sellers can start by understanding the trends impacting the customer’s business, and the most critical challenges. From here, sellers can generate new ideas by providing compelling and thought-provoking ideas to their customers. As a result, the customer will see value in the dialogue and understand how you will deliver solutions to them and their stakeholders.
Remember to stay involved. Keep in regular contact with customers during and after delivery, solve problems, and continue to identify needs and form new ideas as their business continues to transform.
Preserve Long-term Relationships
Preserving long-term relationships is becoming more challenging amid the » Continue Reading.
Communicating the value created is the key part of collaborative account development. Many salespeople believe that if they win opportunities in the sales process and their account teams implement the solution for the customer flawlessly, the customer will automatically recognize that value has been created. This is a mistake. Value not communicated is value not perceived by the customer.
Four Factors Make Up a Value Strategy
Identify the business environment and business needs: There are trends in the customers’ industry affecting their business. In addition, the customer has company goals, objectives, and challenging issues. Out of these trends and challenging issues arise opportunities to work together to improve the customer’s performance. This includes identifying, and formulating, how the customer defines value.
Generate new ideas: One of the key behaviors of trusted advisors is that they bring new insights and ideas to their customers. These insights and ideas seek to change the status quo to help the customer keep up in a fast-paced and challenging business environment.
Communicate the value to the customer: How can your company deliver value to the customer? Be sure the customer also is told, and understands, how your salespeople can deliver value to the their stakeholder, including the customer’s customers.
Deliver: After your salespeople have worked hard to identify and generate new opportunities, your account team needs to deliver the solutions that deliver value to the customer. This part of the » Continue Reading.
Opportunities to grow your business with a major account come in three different modes: Respond, Shape, and Create.
When salespeople respond to an opportunity, the customer has already identified the issue, the solution, and the expected outcomes. Now, a provider is sought. This is the most reactive style of account development. The scope and budget are usually already set. Pressures on both price and competition are often high. By no means should a salesperson ignore such opportunities. Flexibility is a key element of business. Salespeople should be able to respond as well as initiate. However, responding is not the best way to develop and grow a business relationship.
High-performing sales professionals tend to focus more on shaping opportunities. This is where salespeople help the customer in defining the issue, the most likely outcomes, and even possible unintended consequences. This is a much more proactive style of account management— one where salespeople may be able to preempt the competition. And even though some opportunities might initially appear to be “respond” situations, if you have a different opinion or broader view, you might be able to shape a respond opportunity in new ways.
The third selling mode is the most ambitious and creative. Here, salespeople create an opportunity. They bring forward insights to challenging issues that are not even on the customer’s radar but will likely have an impact sometime soon. This is the most proactive style of account » Continue Reading.
It’s common for sales leaders (and salespeople themselves) to look to their large, strategic customers year after year to sustain or drive increased revenue performance. However, the availability of options, decreasing customer loyalty, higher expectations and constant competitive threats are making forecasted business from your best customers anything but a certainty. All too often, account growth strategy and plans are isolated events and are missing one critical component – the buyer.
An enterprise-wide, customer-centric approach to working with strategic accounts is a mainstay of sales organizations that understand that markets change but that customers are always relevant. Because the business environment in which your customers operate has become more challenging, salespeople need to increase their proficiency in identifying and meeting needs to have credibility as a trusted advisor, one who helps the customer decide how to buy and doesn’t just sell.
4 FACTORS AFFECTING ACCOUNT GROWTH STRATEGY (1) Renewed Emphasis on Price
Price has always been important in business. In today’s environment, funding is scrutinized. Customers feel like they should look longer and harder to justify why they are buying a particular solution at a specific price. As pricing pressures increase, more and more firms find customers trying to “commoditize” the solutions that suppliers offer.
(2) Greater Complexity
The business environment has become increasingly complex. An IBM study of more than 1,500 CEOs cited increasing complexity as a major challenge to the managerial and leadership ranks » Continue Reading.
The sales meeting ends. Now what? Fist bumps in the parking lot, of course! You and your team crushed it. Or did you?
During the Regroup stage of the team selling process, you have an opportunity to play yet another role, what I call the Reorganizer. This involves getting your team realigned after the sales meeting and setting the stage for more and even better work together in the future.
See if you recognize any of these common occurrences after a meeting or pitch:
Your team members scatter to the winds for other commitments. You talk it through in the car on the way to the airport or your next appointment. You assume your team members are clear on their roles in the follow-through plan. You have no opportunity to give or receive feedback about how the team performed. REORGANIZE FOR NEXT STEPS AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
Reconvening the team following a sales meeting or pitch accomplishes several things: a) it facilitates follow-through on client expectations, reinforcing commitments made during the meeting; b) it creates a feedback loop that allows team members to share with one another how to improve individual and team performance in future sales outings; c) it avoids repetition of the same mistakes and gives the team the chance to replicate high points that were hit; and d) it sets the stage to re-recruit colleagues for future team sales opportunities.
Regroup meetings — a.k.a. » Continue Reading.
Oh captain, my captain. This chapter’s title may trigger images of a captain’s hat, a pipe, turtleneck, and pea coat. Okay, wrong kind of captain. We’re talking now about how to captain a selling team in executing an effective sales meeting or pitch.
If you can snap out of the ship captain daydream, we’d like you to consider a different picture. Imagine instead a point guard during a basketball game. She is responsible for handling the ball, running the plays, passing the ball to the player who is in the best place to score, and rescuing the player who is trapped in a corner.
Leading a sales meeting may be less exciting to you than skippering a ship or playing hoops. But being your selling team’s captain during a sales meeting or pitch is just as important. Every team needs a leader, a point person to captain the effort. Without one, the team loses its agility. Customer meetings can take all sorts of unexpected twists and turns, including:
The meeting starts late, and you have less time than expected. The customer stakeholders who show up are different from those you planned for. The interests of the decision makers changed or conflict with those you were told about. The technology for your on-screen demo isn’t working. Members of your team freeze, become defensive, or talk themselves into a corner. LEADING AN EFFECTIVE SELLING TEAM
Where’s that ship captain when you need » Continue Reading.