For the most part, insurance products are a commodity, or at least, perceived as such. As insurance agents, you know there are differences between carriers, and not every policy is the same. Whether it’s claims handling, ease of use, customer service, or other benefits, you know that some carriers will take care of your clients better than others.
Unfortunately, most policyholders and prospects only look at once thing, the price. Some will ask you to shop every renewal; others will leave you for another agent for a lower quote, while new prospects may only talk to you if you have the lowest quote. Even when you try to present the differences between quotes, they often still choose the lower price.
The challenge is that most of your clients and prospects don't know or don’t care enough about insurance to make the right decision. So, what’s the solution?
The answer is the simple. The answer is you, or actually “U,” as in your USP or Unique Selling Proposition. The concept of a unique selling proposition or USP isn’t new, but it’s a critical component of sales and marketing that’s often ignored. The truth is that the sales process started well before the quote was generated. It started with your USP or many times, the lack there of.
When I speak with insurance agency principals, I am often told that they are the best at what they do. But here is my challenge back?
“Do your clients or prospects know that you are the best?”
“More importantly, do they know why you are the best?”
“Do they care?”
“What is the definition of best?” or more importantly, “What is your prospects definition of best?”
“If you are the best, then why is the guy down the street generating 5 times more revenue than you?”
I don’t say this to agency principals to offend them, but simply make them aware of what the reality is. You could very well be the most educated professional in your industry with the most credentials and designations. However, if your prospects and clients don’t know that, or aren’t even sure what a CPCU, CLU, RHU… type designation even means or more importantly, how that benefits them, then will that really matter to them?
The fact is the highest paid insurance professionals have marketed and positioned themselves as the best, not just in the eyes of their peers, but also in the perception of their prospects and clients.
How they’ve managed to do that is through their unique selling proposition or USP.
Your USP is something that you do differently and better than your competition. The difficult part for most insurance professionals is that there are few natural differentiators. Worse yet, in any service industry, clients can’t ‘try’ you and see if they like you. They can’t touch and feel a service like they can with a product before they purchase it.
So what separates you from everyone else? What separates you from the thousand other hits I get on Google when I type “insurance agent” and local area (e.g. “workers’ comp insurance, Orange County, CA”)?
Essentially, the USP is what makes you and your agency different or special versus your competition. How do you do things differently or better? What is your special sauce?
An example of a great USP is Subway. Subway developed a tagline of ‘Eat Fresh,’ and focused on the unique selling proposition of fresh, made to order, ‘healthy’ sandwiches for $5—never mind the fact the sandwich is filled with processed meats and cheeses between 12 inches of gluten rich bread. The point is that consumers understood and bought into Subway’s USP. As a contrast, are other sandwich chains’ USPs as clear or convincing?
What about Geico? All I have to say is “15 minutes can save you….” and you have already finished the rest in your mind.
A good way to build or improve on your USP is to review the following questions.
What is unique/better/special about my products/services?
What is unique/better/special about how I provide that service?
What industry norms does my agency bend or break?
What is unique/different/special about my character?
What is unique/different/special about me, my story, or my agency?
Who or what are my ‘enemies’? (This is not a person. Examples are economy, dishonest business people, large companies with poor service, etc.…)
What is unique/better/special about my best customers?
If this is your first time figuring out your USP, don’t worry. Most businesses have a difficult time figuring one out. The fact that you have started working on it puts you far ahead of many of your competitors. Take your time, work through these questions and circle back. Ask a colleague, friend or family member for feedback. We are also here to support you. We will have other tips along the way that can help you define this even more.
Will a USP help you close all sales? Of course not. However, as your clients and prospects better understand your USP and buy into your USP, they will trust your advice and guidance much more, which will help you convert at a higher rate, resulting in higher revenue and increased retention.