It’s no secret that the insurance marketplace has changed drastically over the past 10 years. Prospects have a number of avenues for buying insurance — call centers and mobile applications, for example — that didn’t exist until recently. As the options available to potential customers have increased, so have their expectations.
While there always will be some “price only” consumers, there remains an enormous segment of individuals who want to finalize their purchase with someone they know and trust. This second group of prospects is looking for a discussion partner. In an increasingly impersonal world, you have the opportunity to be a personal connection to potential customers.
From Prospect to Customer
Despite all the changes in our industry, no sale is truly complete until your prospect signs on the dotted line, submits a payment and shakes your hand. But to get to this point, we need to know how to ask people to buy. Here are four steps to turning your prospect into a customer.
 Market your product to the right prospect. It’s best to avoid the price-only prospect. Sure, everyone wants a competitive and fair price, but if price is your prospect’s only motive, you’re in a fight with one hand tied behind your back.
To identify the kind of prospect you are working with, probe to find out what their goals and objectives are in purchasing protection for their family. The price-only prospect will stick out like a sore thumb. Their responses tend to paint insurance as a necessary evil or something they “have to get.”
We like doing business with people who understand that by purchasing insurance, they are protecting their families and hard-earned assets, while at the same time looking out for those whom they may accidentally injure or whose property they may damage. Although these prospects are looking for a fair price, they generally will pay more for the value of your service.
 Don’t bring up price until you begin to close. If you don’t want price to be the focus of the conversation, keep from talking about price throughout your presentation. Start by introducing your agency and communicating the benefits of working with you. Help your prospects understand why they should buy into the brand you’re selling. Also, talk about coverages and discounts. People like to know their bottom-line price will be favorably adjusted.
All this takes time, but make the effort to explain what makes you and your brand different. Keep in mind that you should never run down or demean your competition when pointing out the benefits of working with you.
 Sell prospects what they need and want. This often means offering your prospects coverages that are higher than what they currently have. When you do this, use power sentences such as “Most people in your position will pay more to be with my agency because we give the proper price and coverage.” This means that they will pay more because they know they are receiving valuable coverage at a reasonable price, and they will be taken care of during a claim.
Another power sentence we use is “The worst time to find out what type of insurance you have is when you have a claim.” Tell your prospects stories of real-claim experiences. Paint a picture of what coverage they will need and what that coverage looks like when they have a claim.
Great salespeople probe and disturb others into action, but remember that your prospects want to be true discussion partners. As an advisor, you need to make them feel comfortable during the discussion and hold the conversation in a manner in which every concept and idea you are presenting is understood.
 Close the deal. Once you’ve marketed to the right prospect, steered the focus of your conversation away from price, and sold them what they want and need, you’re ready to seal the deal. Lead your prospect to the “buy” as you say, “Now that I’ve shown you the value and strength of my agency and brand product, all I need to put the coverage in place is to finalize this application — which I’ve already filled out as much as possible to save you time. I also will need to get your signature and secure payment.”
Does this close guarantee the prospect will buy? Of course not. But when you differentiate yourself by offering proper coverages and acting as a discussion partner, you are sure to earn trust. More often than not, you will turn a prospect into your customer.