Upgrades that add real value to your clients’ existing coverage is key to closing the deal
If you live in America and you own or lease or even just occasionally drive a vehicle, there’s a better than average chance that you’ve visited a drive-through for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at least once in your life.
If you do and you have, then you’ve almost definitely heard what is surely the single-most effective upselling technique in the history of humankind: “Would you like fries with that?” That cashier’s mantra has been netting McDonald’s up to an additional 40% in revenues for more than 25 years now, and it’s an upselling technique that is rooted in authenticity, not pushing a product. Which is, of course, why it works.
Offering people what they actually want or need at just the right moment is the key to successfully closing the deal with add-ons. Restaurants in general are masters of upselling, and, believe it or not, borrowing a page or two from the hospitality industry’s book can help you refine your approach in insurance, and get the results you’re after.
Here’s a few techniques to try.
Don't Ask Guests If They Want to See a Menu
Restaurant Technique: Bring customers a menu without being asked and use it as a tool to help move featured, high-value items such as daily specials, new menu items, appetizers, cocktails, seasonal items, and personal recommendations.
How to Apply It for Insurance: Like a great server, as an agent or broker, it’s all about timing. When onboarding new clients, there’s no time like the present to point out available add-ons that make sense for them, be it a bundled home and auto plan or a life insurance policy with a higher payout. Just be careful not to oversell. Share the options, let your customer ask questions about what piques their interest and take it from there.
Entice Customers with Value-Add Options
Restaurant Technique: First, read your guests: Are you dealing with a family of four or two people on a date? Getting a bead on your customers and what brought them to you in the first place will help you serve them better. A family of four is likely going to want a straightforward meal with kid-friendly options while two folks on a date might be looking for a bottle of wine, maybe dessert, and definitely a little privacy in seating. Moreover, anticipating a customer’s needs makes them feel understood and valued. That’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
How to Apply it In Insurance: Anticipating needs for your insurance customers can be equally powerful if you know how to read the room. For instance, a newly married couple may come to you for a family health insurance plan. Once enrolled, and when the time is right, you have the opportunity to email reminders about policies and benefits that cover pregnancy, delivery, and newborn care. Similarly, Medicare clients should be on your auto-reminder list as well for such upsells as vision, dental, and prescription benefits.
Up-serve, Don't Upsell
Restaurant Technique: In his book To Sell is Human, author Dan Pink writes that we should replace the word “upsell” with “up-serve” because it not only puts the client’s needs before your own, but also because it elevates the entire experience. Think of the last time when, at a server’s suggestion, you splurged on an unplanned martini or mocktail before dinner or let your eyes wander beyond the prix-fixe options to the chef’s kiss selection. A server who is enthusiastic, who believes in what their restaurant has to offer, and who genuinely wants their customers to feel delighted is in it to win it with you. As a result, you’re more likely to trust, and ultimately heed, their advice.
How to Apply It In Insurance: As Dan Pink points out, the primary downside of pushy upselling is that it too often ends in buyer’s remorse. And when it does, guess who the customer is going to point the finger at? Coming across as pushy is incredibly impersonal, whereas a sincere approach, coupled with taking visible, viable steps to personalize your customers’ experience makes your client want to come back for seconds … maybe even thirds.
With the right techniques, upselling is a great way to increase profit margins while giving customers more value for their investment.
Whether you choose to offer bundles, discounts, or other referral promotions, through upsells, you can also expect to see growth in your customer retention rates. The key to success is ensuring you always put the customer’s needs first — happy customers who find additional value in your offerings will invest their trust as well as their money with you. That’s an unbeatable approach.