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The Buyer's Journey: Why It Matters to Insurance and Financial Sales

Posted by Jon Anderson on May 19, 2016 4:54:17 PM

Selling homeowners’ insurance, life insurance, car insurance, and motorcycle insurance policies, or other financial products, is not quite the same as retailing products at a department store or at an online shop. However, insurance and financial services products do have something in common with everyday items people purchase - every potential customer goes through a journey to get to the purchase point. This is what we call the buyer's journey, and it can teach you how to sell insurance and other products more effectively.

Think about the last time you made a major purchase, like a GPS device or a lawnmower. While these things aren't necessary for you to live your daily life, they solve a particular problem.  For example, they can help you  get to different places or can help you keep your lawn well-maintained. You might have gone online to research how to solve these problems, found several options, before you settled on one particular product or service. These days, most, if not all people, go through the same thing and this is part of what we call the buyer's journey.

What is the Buyer's Journey?

A buyer's journey is simply the sales process, but it's seen from your customer's perspective. It's the process a person goes through when they make a purchase. By learning about the Buyer's Journey, you can use it for anything, from selling a life insurance policy to convincing someone who may be on the fence that a mutual fund is beneficial to their retirement plans. The buyer's journey can be slightly different for each and everyone, but most people go through it before they reach a purchase decision. Understanding your client’s buyer’s journey can ensure you get more prospects into your sales funnel. How can this help you sell insurance effectively, you ask? Read on… understanding the buyer’s journey will help you revamp your entire sales process to increase your close rate.

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The Buyer's Journey Stages: The Sales Process Through Their Eyes

The buyer's journey is comprised of three main stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Remember, this is the sales process, but from the buyer's perspective. These are the steps that happen in your prospect's minds that takes them from a stranger and eventually, into a paying customer.

While you may think it's a journey because you have to start from the beginning and make your way to the end, that's not entirely true. While many of your potential customers may find you in the awareness stage, they can find you at any stage. After all, maybe they already know that they need car or home insurance and don't necessarily have any other alternative product. That's why it's important you understand each and every stage of the buyer's journey.

Awareness Stage

The best way to describe the buyer's journey is to think of it as a problem-solving process. After all, most of the things we purchase today, we buy because it solves a particular problem, from "How do I get to work" (buy a car or take public transportation) or "I'm cold, what do I do?" (buy winter clothing, space heater, or warm boots). As the name suggests, the Awareness Stage is when people first become aware of the problem.

Like in any everyday situation, you must first be aware you are experiencing a problem. In the case of selling life insurance policies, mutual funds, or other such products you may be selling, you must guess what prospects are thinking during this stage. Maybe they are asking certain questions, like "What happens to my house, if there was a fire or if I'm robbed?" or "What happens when I have a car accident?". These are questions that may or may not have your products and services as answers, but they are what your prospects are asking. The key here is to answer these questions for them, not to give them the hard sell, but just for the sake of helping them. For example, you might want to create an ebook called "How to Protect Your Home from Disasters" or a blog post entitled "What to Do When You Get into a Fender Bender.”  If corporate doesn’t allow you to write your own ebook or publish your own blog, use their content that answers those questions.  You can curate quality, relevant content directly from your corporate office’s content library.   While these might not directly help sell your insurance products effectively, they can do other things, like build your reputation online, increase visits to your site, and even keep your business and brand at the top of their mind.

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Consideration Stage

So, what happens after people become aware of their problem? Obviously, they need a solution. Now, it's time to find solutions to the problem, and this is what the Consideration stage is all about.

Of course, there might be a few options for buyers, and smart ones know to comparison shop. Your prospects want to know what's out there, and how they compare to each other. So, they may be asking questions like, "Should I get term life insurance or permanent life insurance?" How do I decide if I need a P.L.U.P. (Personal Liability Umbrella Policy)?" Whether you create, or curate, compliant content to help prospects answer these questions,  the idea is that you're delivering useful information to your audience to help them make the right choice. Studies show that the prospect has a propensity to buy from the first company that helped to better educate them on making the right choice.

Decision Stage

The final stage of the buyer's journey is the Decision Stage. This is the point where your buyer is ready to make a purchase, and you're hoping that it'll be one of your products. How can you pull  them along? Well, again, you need to create, or curate,  content to convince them that you have the best solution. At this stage, you can offer them a variety of things, from product brochures to a FREE phone or face-to-face consultation, maybe even some comparisons between you and your competitors would be excellent offerings at this stage.  You can feel free to mention your products and services (within the constraints of any compliance and fiduciary laws) or maybe testimonials from your previous and current clients. This is where you can now make your case and convince potential clients to purchase from you.

Selling Insurance Policies and The Buyer's Journey

Now that you know how your ideal prospective clients make their decisions you can honor their process and meet them with the most compelling content, listen to their needs and naturally guide them through the buyer’s journey to sales, referrals and a long lasting business relationship. By leveraging the buyer's journey, you can sell insurance policies, financial services, and other products more effectively and grow your business, but also become a thought leader and influencer in your industry.

The buyer's journey can help you get an insight into the decision making process of your prospects. Looking at things from their perspective can help you sell insurance and financial services more effectively and give you an edge over your competition.

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Topics: insurance agency marketing, blog, insurance agent marketing, inbound marketing, buyer personas, insurance buyer personas, Insurance Book Of Business

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