Agency Performance Partners



10 Ways We Hurt Our

Insurance Sales

Insurance Sales Process

Insurance sales have changed. Every insurance agent needs to reject the idea of being an order taker and embrace the role of leader and educator. For many insurance agents, they have never been given a plan on how to excel at insurance sales. We hope to address the top ways insurance agents hurt their sales and offer some very simple techniques anyone can start applying today.

But first, let me review how we got these numbers we are sharing with you. These are the results from our insurance agency secret shopper call program. Here are some of the details:

  • Overview of 265 secret shopper calls
  • The average score was 34% out of 100%.
  • The highest score was 86%.
  • The agency approves all of the secret shopper call scenarios and selects the shopper.

From the results of these secret shopper calls we have developed the top 10 ways we hurt our insurance sales.

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new insurance leads


This may seem simple, but when someone calls into an agency, they need to be connected with an agent. If an agent is not available, anyone can start taking information. 23% of secret shoppers were put into voicemail, and many didn’t receive a call back for days or had to call back again.

A new lead must be prioritized in agencies as the most important task. When building or optimizing your sales process, make sure that you build in backups. If the sales agent is not available, who should start taking information and what should happen next? Remember, when there is a clear plan, everyone is empowered and knows what to do.

In reality, we have to be better. For small commercial and personal lines insurance, independent insurance agents are the least convenient way to get an insurance quote. I can now get a quote in my pajamas, petting my dog. Now, insurance agents can argue how good the quote is, but the reality is that it is more convenient. When a new lead calls into our agency and takes the time to connect with us, we must always rise to the occasion and train our team accordingly.

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build value in


Insurance shoppers tend to get multiple quotes when looking to change their insurance. It is critical that agents take a moment to explain their value in the experience.

If agents don’t take a moment to explain why they should be the prospect’s agent, the prospect will never know! Prospects don’t know what we don’t tell them, and even more important, they may have never experienced having an agent. 85% of agents built no value in doing business with them as an agent. We all buy people first and policies second. When we do not take time to build a relationship it becomes a transaction.

Many industry leaders have stated that insurance is becoming a commodity. In a commodity situation you have to be the best alternative. Agents must master forming an emotional connection with their clients and making them feel heard and educated. Agents must then lead their clients toward the best insurance solutions. In a commodity situation it’s the experience that people will pay more for, and that starts with building trust by building value.

Explain What an Independent Insurance Agent Is

Our biggest benefit is that we are independent and offer choices — choices that the client can’t get on their own! 89.39% of the secret shoppers did not have explained to them what an independent insurance agent is or how it benefits the prospect. Agents need to slow down and share all the benefits included with working with the agency. If this is our biggest selling feature, we should make sure it’s clearly stated to the prospect.

Most prospects do not know what an insurance agent is or how it can benefit them. This needs to be the cornerstone of your sales process. Too often agents start by underwriting rather than selling. Great salespeople are storytellers and can educate clients in a way that leads them to the best solution for their business or family.

find the connection

55.30% of callers stated that the agent treated the call more like a transaction than a relationship. We have to remember that we are the least convenient way to get a quote. When someone comes to an independent agent, they are looking for a relationship.

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Without a connection we are inviting the prospect to get multiple quotes which makes our job harder. This also decreases your closing ratio, makes the sales process longer and encourages the prospect to purchase on price. Also, retention lags on these clients. Agents need to be reminded to slow down to speed up in the long run. The best way to find a connection is to start by asking the opportunity about themselves. Most people will tell you the three things they love the most. This can give you some insight into what is important to them and how to best insure them. In addition, you can also find common ground as most likely some of the things they love will be what you love as well.

reduce the workload


52.7% of the agents asked the caller all the underwriting questions. Agents need to lean on using technology to confirm information rather than ask it. 

Also, we no longer need to ask for declaration pages as this may flag the other agent that their client is shopping. Why would you want to put extra steps into your sales process? Prospects don’t want to be interrogated when they can confirm information instead. This also helps you pick up valuable time so you can sell yourself!

The declaration page debate pops up every now and again. The common concerns are: How do we know if the client is serious if they won’t send it along? Or what if I miss something? Consider this: For many prospects, you are adding extra steps to their day. In addition, some clients will need to contact their current agent to get the declaration page, thus flagging the incumbent. Lastly, we’ve found that many current declaration pages are inaccurate, so going off of them can also cause a challenge.

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4 & Score

Agents should be focused on cross selling at the point of sale. This is the best time because nothing has been screwed up yet! Waiting to cross sell is delaying revenue and opportunity. 55.5% of our callers got exactly what they asked for in a quote with no cross sell asks.

We recommend that agents work for 4 & Score which is working to present 4 lines of coverage to each customer so they know you do it and you cover your E&O!

It’s much easier to get all of the information on other lines at the point of sale. You can simply ask the opportunity, “are there any other insurance policies you have with other agents?” This is a great open-ended question that covers everything! When you only ask for 1-2 policies, you could be leaving opportunity on the table and inviting the opportunity for your client to work with other insurance agents.

never email the quote

Here are a few stats on quote delivery from our secret shoppers:

    • 21.59% quoted the policy over the phone
    • 45.83% were emailed a quote
    • 31.44% never received the quote

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Quoting over the phone is the #1 driver of selling the opportunity! People can get the quote over and done with and say yes. Every time we let someone off the phone, we reduce the likelihood of getting back with them. When we email a quote, most people will only look at the price and make a decision whether they would like to call you back. Insurance quotes are confusing when the client looks at them. They may get overwhelmed and not ask questions which means you may lose the opportunity!

Emailing the quote is easier on us but more confusing for the client. While you may want to get the quote off your desk, it’s critical that you look to find the best outcome. The best outcome is continuing your relationship, showing your value and educating the client.


A great sales strategy is to provide prospects options for coverages. Options allow the person to see how a small investment can lead to a better coverage. In addition, when a prospect sees options, they stop shopping!

By providing options to prospects, you can get a soft yes and become their educator. Showing options allows for exploration and better understanding. We recommend that agents provide 2-3 options to prospects. When you provide a client options, they can consider which one is best. Empowering clients with the power of choice means you position yourself as the guide of their insurance. You educate and lead them to the best solution for their business or family. If the opportunity likes you, they have several ways to do business with you. When they like you but don’t like a quote, you won’t necessarily lose the sale. Need A Sales Process?  

ask for the business

37.31% of agents said, “think about it and let me know” when it got to the end of the line. “Think about it” is not a closing statement. In fact, it brings more doubt into the conversation. 95% of the work has been done since if we presented options, we should have a soft yes on one of the options.

A better closing line is, “where can I send the application?” For some agents, asking for the business can be a tricky scenario. It feels salesy and pushy, but it’s not! Instead, asking for the business is a great way to connect the clients to the next steps. This is also a strategy to have the client share with you their concerns so you can work on them and through them together. When you leave a call without a clear picture of what’s got the client hesitating, you also lose the opportunity to help them find a solution.

Follow Up

When you can’t close it, you need to follow up! 45.38% of callers got 1 follow-up and 58.46% received no follow-ups. We know that after 2 weeks a personal line lead is dead. You only need to follow up for 2 weeks!

Your new number one objection is actually getting ghosted, which means the prospect actually didn’t value you enough to let you know their final decision! This is the exact reason we need to invest time into building rapport and value. Agents should follow up every 2-3 days for 2 weeks.

Agents cannot be too busy to do this step! Follow-up should be routine and consistent for every agent across the board. The challenge is that often agents don’t enjoy following up, so it falls to the wayside. However, 90% of the work is done. The follow-up is seeing out your time investment.

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I hope that we clearly stated the case for your agency having a sales process that you can install into your agency and train your team on. Building a sales process can take time and patience, however, it’s worth it in the end. Also, you don’t have to do it alone!