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A Publication of WTVP

The business of insurance has not changed, but the work of those who sell the policies certainly has. Not that long ago, an agent’s tools for making sales were cold calling and a large rate manual to calculate quotes. Cold calling for expiration dates to strangers is difficult, and the bulky rate manual made the calculation of premiums time-consuming and tedious. Today’s system has streamlined the process, as quotes are quickly figured on computers, and although there are programs available that provide information on prospects to agents, the dreaded cold call by telephone or in person is still the gold standard for getting new business.

The Internet has done much to change how insurance is sold and companies are constantly scrambling to stay competitive, not only with their rates but also in the ease of the purchase of their policies. Television commercials are excellent venues for the message of these companies, and there are some that are very thoughtful, some amusing and some very tacky. The insurance product is intangible—not a person, not an animal, doesn’t come in a box—just a promise with a guarantee.

Of course, the workplace has had to change to accommodate the technology now required to operate an agency. Years ago, a desk, phone and typewriter were all that was needed for a one-agent insurance office. The addition of an administrative staff person increased the amount of space required and then came the computers, server, copier, scanner, fax and most importantly, the help desk.

With all of these changes, the goal of the sale is still to make sure the client understands what they are buying. The customer is always the most important part of an insurance sale, and many companies are continually working to improve the customer experience. Every business likes to think they give the best customer service, but great customer service is whatever the customer says it is.

The following is some advice to fine-tune your efforts: Never take any customers for granted or assume you really know them—continuous contact with customers is your job, and unless you keep current with them, you can’t know what else they might need. Never stop selling your company to your customers—in order to develop loyalty, your customers and prospects must believe in you and your company. Never develop the reputation for having the lowest price—if the lowest price is all you have to offer, you are sending a message that there is no other reason to buy from you.

A great workplace isn’t just about how you do business or who you are working with—it is really more about who you are working for. If your clients feel good about coming to your office or answering their phone when you call (even if they have caller ID!), then you are in a good place. iBi

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