Here are five ways to develop your relationships with existing or prospective higher net-worth personal lines customers and do more business them.
For many agents, customers with homes valued from more than $350,000 to $5 million and have a household income above the national average are reliably profitable. They own more assets, bring in larger premiums and have high retention rates.
The most important factor to growing this valuable segment is relationship-building skills. Here are five ways to develop your relationships with existing or prospective higher net-worth personal lines customers and do more business with them:
1) Know thy customer. A relationship between two parties begins with getting to know the other. Ask your clients questions about their assets and lifestyle. Find out what's important to them and their concerns. From their answers, recognize their exposures—without saying “exposures" to them—and use that information and your expertise to craft better insurance solutions.
New customers will ask you about price, mainly because they don't know what else to ask. Don't get sidetracked into a price-motivated discussion. Instead, focus on uncovering their insurance issues, including ones they don't know they have.
At the time of the sale, show the customer you've understood their unique situation and have put their concerns foremost in the coverage options you're providing. This approach will set you apart from every other agent with whom the customer has had a “price" conversation because you will be delivering true value.
2) Make the customer feel special. Be proactive in your communications and dealings with higher net-worth customers. Going “above and beyond" to service their account can help create customer loyalty and referrals. In your messaging to customers, talk about their financial growth and success. Point out that as their assets grow, so should their insurance coverage.
3) Work your commercial lines customer list. You have existing relationships with business owners who are excellent candidates for cross-selling personal policies. During your next interaction, take some time to learn about their personal insurance situation. Then, if necessary, make an appointment for a longer call or personal visit.
An added benefit of this approach is that cross-selling a commercial lines client into personal lines can help retain all policies written with them. Further, depending on the carrier, you may be able to offer the business owner a discount on their personal policies.
4) Use your advantages as an independent agent. Higher net-worth customers can have complex insurance needs that require a carefully constructed suite of coverages. Unlike direct and captive agents, you can choose from a wide range of products from different insurers and put together a highly customized package for the customer.
5) Make it an agency-wide effort. Building relationships with higher net-worth customers and prospects doesn't have to be a one-person job. All customer-facing employees—from account managers to claims specialists—should be part of the effort. Train your staff to be alert for clues about changes in a customer's circumstances that could open the door to more business.
Closing business with higher net-worth customers can take more time and effort than the average sale but the upside can be much greater. Your work can translate to higher revenues and profits for many years to come.
Lisa Petza is assistant vice president, personal lines, marketing and field sales at Selective Insurance and oversees Selective's personal lines field staff.