Cross-Selling Best Practices for Insurance & Benefits Agencies
Whenever you have the opportunity to sell additional products to current customers, of course you're going to take it!
Not only because you know that the conversion rate of selling to an existing customer is higher than to a new lead, but also because you know the product or service you're going to offer will truly benefit your client.
What is Cross-Selling?
Sales and Orders, a marketing software built for ecommerce, says it well on their blog:
"...proper cross-sells are tailored to your individual customer’s needs, offering such proves to your customers that your priority is helping them achieve their goals - not making more money by pawning any old item off on them."
Now more than ever, an insurance or benefits advisors' job is to provide value. Thus, always keeping an eye on any additional products or services you could be offering to your clients is always top-of-mind for you.
So, let's cover:
- examples of cross-selling for insurance/benefits agencies
- how to identify cross-selling opportunities
- cross-selling techniques for insurance/benefits agencies
Cross-Selling vs. Upselling
But before we dive into that list above, let's review: cross-selling vs. upselling.
Cross-sell = "to sell or promote (a different or related product or service) to an existing customer"
Upsell = "to try to convince (a customer) to purchase something additional or at a higher cost"
While both occur in the insurance and benefits world, we'll focus on cross-selling in this blog.
Examples of Cross-Selling
Sales and Orders gives a few great non-insurance related examples:
- "A clothing store representative calls a customer’s attention to a pair of pants that look great with the shirt they’re about to purchase
- A customer brings a fishing reel up to the checkout aisle, and the cashier explains the store is currently offering a specific type of lure at half-price
- A customer at McDonald’s orders a Big Mac, and the clerk asks (say it with me, now): 'Do you want fries with that?'"
These are age-old examples that highlight the very basics of cross-selling. Now, let's look at it from your point of view.
Here are some insurance / benefits-specific examples of cross-selling:
- They have a Medicare Supplement, but no Prescription Drug Plan
- They have a Medicare product, but no Dental
- They’re a group health insurance client but don’t have add-ons like Dental and Vision
- They’re a group health client that has employees nearing 65 who don’t yet have a Medicare Supplement
- They’re a current client who has a child nearing 26 who needs their own health insurance
You probably have experience with clients who have certain coverage with you and buy different products from another agency. When you bring all of the business over to you, it's a prime opportunity to build customer loyalty.
You know your clients best and understand their customer journey, so make sure to actually map that out. Have it as a resource for your entire team to review regularly to always keep cross-selling top-of-mind and to help new hires easily identify when and where to discuss complementary products with clients.
So, how do you identify what your clients already have with you and what they're missing on a mass scale?
Identifying Cross-Selling Opportunities
To quickly pull up a list of cross-selling opportunities, you’ll need to have your clients' policy data organized within an agency management system (AMS). This way, you're just a quick search or report away from identifying opportunities.
Within an industry-specific AMS, like AgencyBloc, individual and group clients are linked to policies. With AgencyBloc’s Policy Cross Sell Report, you can search on all of the coverage types in your database and identify cross-sell opportunities instantly.
From this, a .csv file will generate giving you a list of clients who have group health insurance with you, but no dental benefits.
Now that you have a list of cross-selling opportunities you’d like to reach out to, what's the best way to deliver this message to clients?
Cross-Selling Techniques for Insurance Agents
There are overall sales techniques, and then there are specific cross-selling techniques. There is definitely some overlap, but the messaging for cross-selling can look a bit different.
While you know that your clients already trust your advice, you also know that they should still be treated as any prospect you're trying to close.
Make sure your message is that your goal is to provide them the most value possible, and you think that whatever product or service you are cross-selling is going to bring that value.
A few cross-selling strategies that work well for insurance agencies are:
- Case studies / testimonials
- Client Needs Assessment tools / client surveys
Bundling is something every insurance agent and/or benefits advisor is very familiar with. You have a ton of experience in what products go well together. The best practice here is to ensure that these bundles or packages are documented for your entire team to reference. It might even be helpful to name these packages, whether you just keep those names internal or actually use them in your marketing.
Using case studies and testimonials can be a really powerful way to convert cross-sell opportunities. Telling them the story of what benefits other clients like them experienced when they added the coverage you're discussing helps them visualize the value you're describing.
And, finally, something many insurance agencies are having success with: client needs assessment (CNA) tools. These are customer surveys used to identify gaps of coverage or future plans your client has that lend themselves to coverage or benefits you sell. New Horizons Insurance Marketing, a National Marketing Organization located in Illinois, has a 10-question CNA you can download to get an idea of how you could build your own.
To set up a meeting, you might be either emailing or calling your clients depending on how you normally communicate with them. If this is a large cross-sell list, a mass email might be the best way to approach it. Just remember to always keep customer experience a priority and think about how you would like to receive this message; then, apply that to your messaging.
AgencyBloc Cross-Selling Email Campaign
Within AgencyBloc, you can quickly set up a cross-selling email campaign with the Email Campaigns tool. Write the email, run a cross-sell search, refine the recipients, and send!
Your email could say:
"Hi [first name],
Thanks again for letting me help your group with your health coverage. I'm reaching out because we have some really great options for dental benefits, and I’d love to chat with you about them to see if they'd be a good fit.
I have times available this week and next to meet up or hop on a call to discuss. Let me know what works best for your schedule.
[agent or agency name]"
Also note that you wouldn’t have to run that first Cross Sell Report we talked about within AgencyBloc to send this email since it runs it within the campaign, but the report itself can be a good reference to get a feel for what kind of opportunities you have before setting up an email.
You might have clients that prefer phone calls, though. Give them a call and say:
“Hey, Tom. Thanks again for letting me help your group with your health coverage. I'm reaching out because we have some really great options for dental benefits, and I’d love to chat with you about them to see if they'd be a good fit.”
Once you get the initial message out, make sure you set up follow-up reminders for yourself to ensure you touch base with each client. Timely follow-ups with current clients are just as, if not more, important as with new leads.
Consistently identifying cross-selling opportunities and acting upon them keeps your agency growing. Not only that, but it shows your clients that you care about providing true value to them throughout your relationship.
Ready to level up on your cross-selling efforts?
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