When was the last time you suffered a case of buyer’s remorse? Do you remember what caused it? Is it still haunting you? Maybe there was a bargain-basement sale you missed, an unsatisfying purchase, or a poor service experience. Did the size or implication of that purchase impact your buying decision?

As consumers, our buying behaviors are influenced by a variety of factors before we commit to making a purchase. There are several factors that influence our buying decisions—price, product and service, for example. Buying influences are powerful marketing tools, and too many times in the insurance business “price is king.”

Understanding what influences the buyer is the boat many independent insurance agents seem to miss when they are in front of decision makers. Without professionalism, trust, charisma, personality and experience, you have a handful of agents that may have a better insurance program but still get left at the altar by the buyer.

Training buyers to focus on price is a habit that agents and brokers have perpetuated from hard pricing market to soft market. The connotation associated with insurance products carries a natural tendency for agents to market insurance as a commodity. The real challenge for agents is shifting the buyer away from price and getting them to see the broader picture.

Quantifying ROI is the most difficult part of the sales process, but it is also the most important. Agencies that are successful in the performance-based approach are highly consultative and aware of the level of impact they must generate to break a business relationship. Addressing explicit needs from a consultative level will help quantify value. Performance-based or value-based selling has become a buzzword in the industry, but few agencies really operate from this platform. Ask yourself, how good is value if I can’t put a value on my value?

Stephen Hamilton, CWCA