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Setting Expectations

August 17, 2009
Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

A short while ago, I wrote an entry about getting back in touch with our value proposition here at Founders. Were we, as independent agents, letting our customers know what it is that makes us different in the insurance marketplace? What value do we bring to the table verses those that sell on the internet or through mass marketed “800” numbers?

During our journey of rediscovery, one of the things that became very clear to me was that we didn’t help to set our customer’s expectations when doing a new business proposal. I found that we were not doing a very good job of it here at Founders, but when we called other independent agents looking for a “quote,” we found the same issues at those agencies as well.

Take a moment and place yourself in the potential customer’s eyes. You have called several agents/companies looking for rates and information. When you called the “800” number company your rate quote was calculated before you hung up the phone. You then call an independent agent and you are told that someone will get back to you with rate and coverage information in a few hours, the next day and many times, several days. So what’s wrong with this picture? The first reaction is that we are simply just too slow, but is that really the problem?

As independent agents, we are taking a key component of our value proposition and having it work against us rather than for us! Taking a moment to explain to the customer that we are independent agents and what that means. We are analyzing the coverage, the claim service and the rates with many companies, and that takes a bit of time. We are not selling fast food burgers, we are making prime rib!

The fact is that the vast majority of customers don’t mind waiting a little longer, when it has been explained to them why we are not as fast. Generally, they appreciate it as long as it doesn’t go beyond the same day. This is our best opportunity to explain to our potential customer our value proposition and begin the “Trusted Advisor” relationship!

Have a great day!

Chris Garlasco

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2009 3:50 pm

    No truer words were written than what you have said in your newsletter. We are holding the 3rd of 5 webinars on personal lines selling tomorrow AM @ 11:00 and we will be discussing exactly what you have outlined as part of the training. Professional independent agents need to realize we sell protection not premium. Our job is to counsel clients on their coverage and to make sure they have the proper coverage to meet their needs. Too many consumers have lost sight of the coverage aspect of their insurance and are totally fixated on nothing but the cost. It’s not hard to understand why with all the direct response carriers out their touting nothing but low price. Our job is to bring consumers back to reality and to remind them that a $50 or $100 savings won’t mean much at all if they have a loss where they don’t have the coverage or what they have is inadequate.

    • Chris G. permalink
      August 17, 2009 7:21 pm

      Well said, in over twenty years I can’t ever remember a customer bragging about the $100 they saved on their policy when they have just had a $100,000 loss. The fact is that the direct sellers value proposition is getting across to policy holders while ours has lost out. They are “cheap and easy” and they stick to that message. As independent agents, we have a tendency to follow their value prop, instead of our own. Sure we have competitive prices, but our real value is in our knowledge and carrier selection. We must explain to customers how that dynamic will work for them. Not only do we need to listen to our customers, but we need to help them understand the different and better way of doing business with an independent agent. We may take a little longer, but we are worth the wait. Its ok to let our customers know that.

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