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Would You Like Fries with That

AugSep2016-Hoberman

“Would You Like Fries With That?” This is one of the most well-known ways of adding value to your customer’s choice. These simple words account for a significant percentage of the two billion servings of fries consumed in this country, and it nets hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. It is one of the best examples of cross-selling. So, what does that have to do with this industry?

According to a study by Axis Consulting, 99% of insurance agents feel that cross-selling is critical to their success, but only about 46% of agents feel they do it successfully. The more services you sell to individuals, the more profitable those customers are, and the harder it is for them to leave and be able to re-create their existing portfolio.

It can cost four times as much to sell to a new customer as it does to sell to an existing one. By cross-selling to your existing clients, you can sell more products and services, reduce the cost of sales, increase customer loyalty, and yes, as a by-product, your income will rise.

I would bet the majority of those reading this article have bought something from Amazon. Their cross-selling is a bit more subtle. When you log on, they greet you and remind you what you had purchased before – in case you’ve forgotten. Then they let you know that all of your “friends” who purchased similarly also bought this other product and guess what? Most people want to be included in this group of “friends,” so you might add the product to your cart along with the original item you planned on purchasing on your return visit. Not only is this cross-selling, it’s also an amazing relationship building strategy and business is all about relationships.
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Cross-selling is more than just about increasing your bottom line. While this is important, think about what it means to a client when they have multiple policies from an agent. They trust the agent; they are loyal to that agent and their retention to that agent increases with each additional policy.

When one line of business is sold, there is a 30% chance that business will be on the books in three years. When two lines of business are sold, there is a 70% chance that the business will persist for at least five years. When a third line of business is sold to that same client, there is a 90% chance that all three will persist after seven years. This means that your existing client base can be responsible for over 80% of your revenues through ongoing business and referrals—imagine adding one new product?

I hear from many of my clients that cross-selling is too hard and too time-consuming. Here are some easy ways to add cross-selling to your appointments:

1. Don’t be pushy and salesy.

It’s about value and need, which means ask questions and listen. You will never know what they need or have an interest in if you don’t ask. Offer to spend a few minutes with them to update their coverage and review their needs, and if nothing else, when you complete their policy review, focus on their long-term needs and how you can provide a comprehensive solution. When you become your customers’ source for all their insurance and financial needs, you’ve become invaluable to them.

2. Actively recommend.

Think about what might close a gap or add additional coverage. Look for related opportunities that may complement what they already have.

3. Keep those recommendations limited.

Don’t sell everything. They will get confused and become overwhelmed with too many choices and end up buying nothing. They don’t need everything and this will not help with referrals or your relationship.

4. Justify your choices.

Have valid reasons for why you are recommending the products to them. If it’s just to add dollars, they will get that immediately and you will get zero.

5. Try bundling.

What products work together well? What would make their lives easier? How can you make their choices simpler? Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.

6. Don’t rush.

Let them finish with what was most important first. Once they have finished with this decision, you can introduce something else. Be prepared that they might want to schedule another appointment to discuss it, and if you see signs that they are overwhelmed, you can take the lead and make that suggestion. They will know you have their best interest at heart.

7. Solidify your relationship.

Cross-selling is one of the easiest ways to build loyalty. When done correctly, your clients will reward you not only with more sales but with more referrals and become your walking ambassador.
As with so many other aspects of your insurance business, cross-selling is all about building relationships. When done right, cross-selling tightens the bond between you and your customers, and greatly increases your profitability.


Judy HobermanJudy Hoberman, President of Selling In A Skirt, is an author and weekly radio show host. She has been featured as “The Gender Expert” on Fox News Radio. Judy has created a suite of workshops, seminars and coaching programs that take the negativity out of selling. Her 30 years in sales has given her both the knowledge and sense of humor about the gender differences that we should all understand and embrace instead of feeling unable to communicate.

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