There's no agent out there that would say they don't want to make more money. But for a lot of us, we think the only way to make more money is to spend more time and money on lead generation.
Finding new clients is the toughest part of being an independent agent, and the kicker is that it's not the best way to make more money. The easiest solution – and the one that's ultimately best for your clients – is to sell more policies per client.
And this is all centered around the Client Needs Assessment (CNA). We've talked about the CNA before, but there are some big questions we haven't addressed before, like:
- Is the CNA useful if I don't have the product training?
- How do I start using a CNA with existing clients?
- How do I make my clients feel like I'm not just trying to sell them everything under the sun?
I want to demystify the CNA and help you discover why selling more per client isn't as tough as you may have thought.
How to Start Selling More Per Client
I'll speak from my own personal experience here. I felt like I'd heard everyone say to me, "You need to be selling all these senior market products, and they're so easy to sell, and you should be selling them!"
And I remember being just a hair frustrated that yeah, that sounds great, but I don't even know where to begin!
I know that I want to sell more and that I should be offering these products.
I know that my clients are buying these products from other places, through other people, or through the mail.
But because I don't know how to have the conversation, and I'm intimidated by what questions they might ask me – will I know the answers? – I just don't ask. I don't bring up the conversation at all.
So, first and foremost, you have to become familiar with the Client Needs Assessment. That is going to uncover additional needs.
So that's our starting point. The Client Needs Assessment is the basis for being able to sell more per client.
Can I Use the CNA If I Don't Have Product Training?
Yes, you can learn how to use the CNA, but you're not really going to learn to use it overnight. There's more to it than just asking the questions on the paper.
If you just download the CNA and start asking the questions, you'll uncover all these needs, but you'll have no clue about how to sell the product. And that's all just money sitting on the table. So you need training.
Before I ever left like I could actually use the CNA, I had to have it explained to me 3 times. I had to learn and take in all of that training 3 times before I ever could sit in front of a client and feel like I knew what I was doing.
That's important, because you'll reach a certain point where things feel uncertain, and you'll revert back to your old ways.
I know you're making money on your clients, and that's great, but what are your average earnings per customer?
Wouldn't you love to go from $300 per client to $1300 per client? Wouldn't you rather not leave money in the table?
We work so hard to gain a client, and they like you, know you, trust you – so why not offer as much as you can?
We are truly searching for and meeting the needs of the client. When we cover more needs, we're going to make a lot more money, because we're selling a lot more policies. But the root of this is we truly are meeting the needs of clients by being well-educated.
How to Avoid the Impression That You're a Greedy Salesman
This is definitely a concern for a lot of agents who are just starting to use the CNA. The CNA is going to bring up additional needs, and that means that you're going to be recommending more products to your client.
And that might make your client feel that you're just trying to sell them everything in the book.
When you have the proper training and you know how to properly use the CNA, there is going to be a strategic approach to avoid this.
I'm establishing from the beginning that there are a couple of needs – or more than a couple of needs – that need to be addressed.
You're going to tell your client this:
"It's a little overwhelming to address all of these needs in one setting, and the most pressing need is going to be [Insert Product Here], and that's why we're starting with this."
But there's an establishment up front that there are multiple needs, and we're just taking this one step at a time.
That prevents the issue of client's saying, "What the heck! Every time I see Michael, he's just trying to sell me something new."
No – we got this CNA out at the very beginning, and we know what you need the most.
Using a CNA With Existing Clients
It's tougher to start using the CNA with existing clients than it is to use it with a brand new client.
The client you already have... they may be thinking, "What the heck, he's never done a CNA with me before... why now? Is this just a way of selling me more policies?"
It's a challenge. It is. BUT what I'd always say is this:
"Hey, your drug plan is right where it needs to be. Your Medicare Supplement is right where it needs to be. But there are a couple additional questions I need to ask to make sure I'm not leaving anything out. I'd love to ask you some questions I may not have asked before. We'll have a conversation we may not have had before, but it'll ensure we're not leaving anything uncovered."
The very first meeting you have can be a little bit uncomfortable, because there may be some skepticism. But it doesn't mean you can't have that conversation.
It was tough and awkward for me when I first started using the CNA, because I felt like my clients were thinking, "I've seen you several years in a row now, and we've never done this before – why are we doing this now?"
No one ever said that, but it sure felt that way.
As soon as I got past that feeling, it was second nature. It was that same notion for every client – "In order to make sure we don't miss anything or leave anything out, I need to ask you some questions to ensure we've covered all your needs."
My client would say, "Well, what do you mean?"
And I would say:
"Mrs. Jones, prior to this, I didn't know why there was a need for a cancer plan. I've been made aware of some statistics that are alarming!"
And I would continue by mentioning those important cancer statistics.
Read More: Is Cancer Insurance Worth Selling?
Cut Down on Busywork
Finally, when you have less clients but are making more per client, you're naturally cutting down on your busywork without sacrificing your paycheck.
You're making less phone calls, hiring less interns/secretaries/assistants, and you're spending less time and money on lead generation.
Everyone would love to sell more products to the same customers. It's that simple.