Most good salespeople have an uncanny knack for it. In the upscale clothing store, it is suggesting a tie to match the shirt the customer came to buy, or an attractive blouse to set off the suit a customer selected. In fast food restaurants, it is the simple question, “Would you like fries with that?”
Upselling and cross-selling aren’t just common in the insurance business, where every good broker and agent is apt to try to turn a request for a single policy into an entire account, they are necessary tactics in markets where competition can be cutthroat. Just be sure the people in your brokerage or agency are the ones doing it, not the ones who are getting outdone by it.
Every brokerage or agency has its particular strengths, but even large ones may not be equipped to fulfill each need for every client. Leaving some need unfulfilled could be the crack that allows a competitor to wrest the account away. That is not the way to achieve agency growth or profit.
When a broker or agent acts in a true advisory role, however, they can uncover all the protection needs of a client and address them properly.
Brokers and agents should aim at placing as many lines of business as the client needs for full asset protection, to solidify the relationship and keep it bulletproof. “If you have only one point of relationship with a client, you are unlikely to keep the account more than three or four years — and you’ll have to keep working for it,” says Al Diamond of Agency Consulting Group, who works with agents in the U.S. and Canada. With two lines, it is likely to be a six- to seven-year relationship; three or more lines could yield a 10-year-plus relationship.
“Sell broad and sell deep,” suggests Marla Donovan of the Kaufman Financial Group. “Don’t just fill a hole but plant a garden.”