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, Author: Adam Kiefer

Cross-selling Insurance Makes Growing Your Book Easy

I haven’t had an original idea in a long time. Maybe ever. I have, however, been a good listener, a good observer, and someone who could take the knowledge gained in one place and apply it in another. I’ve been a licensed insurance agent for coming up on 20 years and there have always been a few ideas that get repeated in the industry over and over. A few are myths- like Small Business is Bad for Business. And a few are great thoughts but rarely executed well. Cross-selling is one such idea.

Let’s start with what is cross-selling. There’s no magic sauce or secret cross-selling strategies in insurance. It’s a simple concept. You have one client, and you want to sell more products to them. Instead of finding ways to find new clients, just sell the ones you have more. This is a key concept if you want to grow your business with little effort. Increase the LTV (Lifetime Value) of the client without increasing the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost). If every client is suddenly worth twice as much, you double your revenue with no increase in cost. It’s brilliantly simple, really. But then why has it been so hard to do effectively?

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Lots of places to get insurance

One issue that has made cross-selling a whole lot easier in theory than in real life is that there are a lot of places to buy insurance. Let’s face it, insurance is not an emotional purchase. It’s a required purchase, so convenience is paramount. If I’m a business owner and I sign a new lease on a building, I buy some kind of General Liability policy. Maybe I call an agent, maybe I hit Google, maybe I hit a national carrier website. It’s not hard to find a place to “Get a Free Quote.” So I find my policy and I move on. 

Then I hire a new employee, guess what? Now I need a Workers’ Compensation policy. I remember my buddy started selling insurance and he takes care of me. Now half of my premium (and its commission) is in one place, and the rest is somewhere else (I’m not even going to go down the path that my homeowner’s insurance is probably somewhere else entirely). 

I’m not a great customer for anyone, I don’t get great service anywhere, but the thing about insurance is that I don’t care- until I do. From the agent’s perspective, this is a real lose-lose. If this customer has a claim or needs some help, they really don’t justify the work from a revenue standpoint, but of course, we all do the right thing, and now we’re upside down. And the customer isn’t happy. Nobody wins.

A strong defense is the best offense

No! Strike that, reverse it. A strong offense is the best defense. Want to keep your opponent from scoring? Don’t give them the ball. Score on every drive, and keep scoring. In the words of the immortal John Madden, “You can’t win a game if you don’t score any points.” So many agents try to set up a strong defense to protect what they have, but it’s a flawed strategy. No empire ever built a wall and hoped people stayed away. The successful empires knocked down the other walls. 

Selling one policy and hoping nothing happens to it, afraid to cross-sell because something might go wrong, is a wall. Cross-selling your customers (which by definition are someone else’s customers) is your trebuchet and your tool to expand the empire. You cannot be afraid to cross-sell. It’s even more important when you look at the small business segment (which we know a few things about). We know small business can be hard, the economics are rough, but you know what makes them better? Double or triple the per account revenue and all of a sudden those margins start to look pretty good.

Lots of fruit 

If you want to learn how to cross-sell insurance products, the first place you to look is at your current client base. The opportunities for cross-selling to existing clients are bountiful. There is a total account cross-sell, where your agency handles the commercial Property & Casualty, the Employee Benefits, the personal Home and Auto of the owner, and even their surety bond needs. And now, there are cyber policies too. You pull this off and you’ve really done something. 

Of course, not every account has all of those opportunities, and not every agency has those capabilities in-house. If you don’t, find another agency that can fill in where you can’t, better to have an ally than an enemy in these kinds of situations. But let’s start small, the low-hanging fruit, as they say. Find your accounts where you only have one account. Let’s say it’s a BOP. They probably have employees, yeah? A Cyber exposure? You could call and just ask. That’s a great start- but what if there was a better way?

The better way

We’ve been agents for a while and one of the things we’ve tried to do at Talage is to build the tools we wanted to have when we were in the field. That’s all we’ve ever really done, come to think of it. We always thought quoting accounts with as little effort as possible would be a cool thing. So we did that. 

Then we thought what about cross-selling? So we did that too. Because of the API capabilities of Talage and our Wheelhouse platform we can quote GL from a WC app, or Cyber from a BOP quote. Do you ever feel like 90% of the info on an app is the same regardless of the coverage? 

Well, that’s true. I don’t want to downplay the complication here, but there is really only a handful of things that are different from app to app. What if, the next time you think one of your clients needs an additional policy, you were able to give them options right then instead of asking if they wanted something? Best case, they want one of your options, worst case, they know you are on top of your game and on top of their needs. Guess who they call next time?

If you want to be more proactive, directing the conversation and offering your clients options instead of letting them figure out what they might need, then we should talk. Our Wheelhouse platform has the flexibility to provide a quote in minutes while allowing you to also easily quote additional options for your clients. 

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