What’s the difference?
Buyer facilitation is helping prospects discover for themselves why they should do business with us.
Selling is telling them why they should do business with us.
The difference may appear subtle, but the 2 approaches couldn’t be more different, and facilitation is a much more professional and powerful approach. The buyer facilitation process respects and reflects 3 natural laws which apply to all people.
1. Nothing is better or worse except by comparison.
2. The best idea anyone ever heard of was their own.
3. People love to buy and hate to be sold.
These natural laws are universal and without exception. When we adhere to these laws, our role as agents becomes facilitative, and consultative. We help prospects buy from us by giving them clear choices based on comparisons that help them conclude they would be better served by doing business with us.
To understand why this approach is so powerful, let’s explore the universal truths on which the iQ sales process is based.
Nothing is better or worse except by comparison
I can’t tell you how many times I have purchased a product or service and felt supremely confident that I negotiated a great value, only to find out later that someone else I know got a better deal, and now I have buyers remorse. Has this ever happened to you? Of course it has, it happens to everyone. But had you not been able to compare your purchase to someone else’s, you would be in ignorant bliss.
Employing this comparison process to our prospects insurance program is an extremely powerful tool that will result in one of two outcomes.
- Your prospects will feel under served and experience buyers remorse and pain, which is the catalyst for change.
- Prospects will discover they have an excellent program, and you will discover that you cannot bring enough additional value to win against the incumbent.
Either outcome is preferable to spending significant time and resources only to get used.
The 3 points of comparison for prospects are typically price, product and service. There is a 4th intangible that takes the form of relationship, and this is where the incumbent typically enjoys an advantage. If coverage and pricing are similar, our only potential competitive advantage lies in our ability to deliver better value through service and process. These advantages must offer enough perceived value to trump incumbency and break the relationship.
You must engage your prospects in a process to assess what they currently receive from their insurance program and compare it to what you offer to uncover where they are being under served. If this comparison process results in sufficient inequity in perceived value, there is reason to continue the conversation and perhaps form a relationship.
The best idea anyone ever heard of was their own
Ever heard anyone say “Hey, I’ve got a terrible idea”? Of course not. If after engaging in the comparison contrast process, your prospect realizes they are being under served, and comes to their own conclusion they would be better off doing business with you, the decision to do business with you becomes their idea and no selling is required. The word close just became obsolete. When your prospect recognizes and verbalizes that what you offer is better by comparison, the only question left to ask is “What would you like to do now”?
People love to buy and hate being sold
Enter a consumer products store and a person in a blue or red shirt will ask you “Can I help you find anything”? Your response if you are like me is “ No thanks, I’m just looking” But once you find the product you want, you’ll go looking for that salesperson person to help you buy it. I love to buy, but I hate being pressured or sold. Today’s insurance buyer is much more sophisticated than the buyer of yesterday. They have many more choices, and because of technology they can do their own research. They compare and “shop” almost everything, and have access to information that makes them self sufficient and much more savvy buyers.
Unfortunately, the sophistication of our sales processes has lagged well behind that of our new age buyer, who sees right through the traditional “Feature – Advantage – Benefit – Close” sales models that incorporate scripts, and overcoming objections to close business.
Transparency and honest business conversations tap into this universal law and are the key to appeal to today’s buyer. Agencies who engage their prospects in meaningful business conversations that showcase the value of a relationship with their firm have a significant advantage over those who employ traditional sales tactics. True business partners understand the needs of their clients and deliver proactive services to satisfy these needs. This appeals to those who buy value vs price and create the professional relationships we desire.
For a full hour of sales training and coaching for insurance agents on Comparison Contrast selling and Buyer Facilitation,