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The 4 Personality Types and How to Sell Them Insurance

Each one of us has our own specific personality type (one of four types, actually. See this blog post for more reference on the types and how to sell to them) and personality profile that helps to motivate us to learn more about, or get turned off from, an entire process. In insurance, we have to shy away from the idea that everyone wants to be treated the way we do. This is, in fact, only true 25% of the time for the quarter of the population that shares your personality profile. Insurance is the ultimate people business; being in this industry means we need to detect and adjust our personal strategies to meet the consumer the way they want to be treated — even if it’s very far away from the way we desire to handle our personal business. 

Some Examples of Personality Profiles in Insurance

Just this week there were two distinct times I clashed with two different personality types, and I want to share with you how I course corrected. While this isn’t about selling insurance, since we sell our services to insurance agents, it does paint a very clear picture that I’m sure everyone can relate to. 

The New Lead

This week, we had a very successful agency reach out to us. They saw us on IAOA and knew some of our clientele. The agency was facing a problem that they were struggling to tackle. It just so happens that it’s one of our specialities. I think this is an ideal client for us as I learn more about the agency. They are organized, clear on their challenge, and looking for some guidance. However, the call was becoming awkward and we were missing each other in the process. I felt I was the best fit, but they were in a fog about the solutions I was providing. As an expressive personality type, my default is to first build relationships and buy-in, and then follow with solutions. 

As I was on the call, realizing that I was leaving them in a fog, I recognized that I was dealing with two analytical personalities. My style was forcing them to do too much mental work. They were thinking about the details I was sharing with them rather than the outcomes. As I realized this, I quickly was able to change course and offered to send them our leadership guide, which is 60+ pages and includes every detail on the program I thought would greatly benefit their agency. I offered to email it or mail it; they hopped on email and wanted to review every last detail of the plan. 

Had I continued to sell a relationship, they would have become uninterested and looked to find another solution. By understanding who I was working with, I recognized that their minds were spinning with questions. “How do we find the time? Do we have to hire more staff? Who makes the calls? What is the tracking? How do we train the staff?” They needed to understand all the details before they could see the solution. 

Cues That I Should Have Picked Up On

  • They had already invested a great deal of time in automation and systems. This is indicative of an analytical mindset.
  • When talking about the agency, they shared their progress, but they saw much greater potential. 
  • The partners referenced ROI and investments. They wanted to know the analytics of the cost and investment.
  • The partners wanted the data points. They were leery of consultants because many of them can oversell. 

When I Course Corrected

  • I should have seen it and course corrected much sooner, but sometimes you need one thing to click to understand it.
  • I asked them what their biggest concerns were around what I was describing. That’s when they revealed all the details they were pondering — while I was talking, they were tallying up a list of details that their brains needed answers to before proceeding.
  • I realized I left them in a fog without a clear solution their brains could accept, so I needed to present the solution in a manner that matched the way their brains work.

The Assertive Account Manager

As you can imagine, in my line of work I see a great deal of different personalities. It’s my job to understand and navigate them quickly. Luckily, when it comes to account managers, I have this down pat and to a science. I recently met an assertive account manager who flat out told me that she would be giving the client only what they wanted and not educate them on what they may need. 

I started asking her to tell me more. She was adamant that people know what they want and that she wasn’t going to push them. In addition, she used the negative words around sales like “pushy,” “salesy” or “used car salesman.” She was certainly asserting herself. Now, she was also a top salesperson for the agency, so her assertiveness helped her to tell people what to do and get the sale done. 

When I Course Corrected

Now, if I had gone head-to-head with an assertive personality and said, “Ohh yes, you will call these people and cross sell them!”, without getting more information about her reservations, how well would that have gone? Let’s just say that someone would have won, but, most likely, it would have been through a termination. By asking her to tell me more, we got to the heart of the matter, which was that she didn’t believe people needed more insurance than some very low coverages. 

By encouraging her to give people options, we were able to build some new skills and show her that giving people options allowed her to hit her sales goal faster, while also letting clients tell her which choice they wanted vs. her assuming their coverage. 

How to Use This in Servicing and Selling Insurance

Here is a breakdown of each personality type and their key indicators with suggestions on how to amend your approach:

  • Assertive
    • Key Attributes
      • They come off very strongly.
      • They claim they know exactly what they want.
      • They often control and dictate the call — you think your only option is to give them whatever they demand.
    • How to Work with Them 
      • Let them speak. Do not interrupt them.
      • Ask them, “Can you tell me more about why you are interested in that coverage?” (They often have a script they are using, and these questions take them down a new path.)
      • When emailing and speaking with them, be direct and to the point. Use bullet points when possible. 
      • Speak in only 2-3 sentences at a time. You will annoy them if you are too verbose.
  • Analytical
    • Key Attributes
      • They have done their research, so don’t be surprised if they already know a fair amount.
      • They will talk about the steps they have taken when speaking with you. 
      • Most of the time your personal recommendations will not have any impact on them. They want cold hard facts.
    • How to Work with Them
      • Provide them with detailed information and facts. Stay away from feelings.
      • Allow them to process. They most likely will consult trusted advisors.
      • Always set follow-up times. They stick to deadlines and this will help you control your pipeline.
  • Amiable
    • Key Attributes
      • You really like them.
      • They are very easy to please.
      • They won’t make a decision and you will get strung along if you aren’t careful. 
    • How to Work With Them
      • Provide lots of reassurance to them. 
      • Tell them what to do; they want to reduce risk. 
      • If you break up with them, they will come back and make a decision. They don’t want to lose opportunities. 
  • Expressive
    • Key Attributes
      • They want a relationship more than anything else.
      • If they trust you, you will have them as a client for life.
      • They will ghost you if they don’t feel the love.
    • How to Work with Them
      • Build a lot of rapport.
      • Make recommendations to them; they will say “yes.”
      • Move the sale or service along. They lose trust when there are too many questions or concerns.

In insurance, we serve all different shapes and sizes, so it’s important we embrace these distinct personality types and treat them in ways that speak best to them. If you’re looking for some more training that will get your team to more yeses, then you should definitely check out our AppX Sales program


Kelly Donahue Piro

Kelly Donahue-Piro is a game changer in the insurance industry. As the Founder and President of Agency Performance Partners and Co-Founder of the sister marketing company, Agency Appeal, she’s an in-demand speaker at regional and national insurance conferences and a social media and digital marketing trailblazer. READ MORE

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