How do I improve my persistency?
We have all asked that question, or we will ask that question eventually if you’re new to this business.
Having steady persistency is important for everyone. If the business you are writing is persistent, it will be beneficial to the customer, because they will be able to keep their much-needed coverage. It will be beneficial to you as the agent, because you will be able to keep your hard-earned commissions and renewals. Finally, Security National will make a profit, so it will have the ability to pay claims and pay the field force.
Now that we have established the importance of persistency, how do we do improve it?
Here are four proven methods that will work:
- Sell Needs vs. Need Sales – Explain what you are offering to the customer—communication is very important! Do not allow yourself to just peddle a policy. If they are considering a policy to pay for a funeral, educate them about the price of funerals so that they will have peace of mind when that time comes. Do not focus on what YOU want, or what you want them to have! Keep them within their budget, so you don’t have to pay back unearned commissions or never see a renewal. Helping them cover what they actually need will ultimately be more rewarding for you than focusing on your commissions, because it will lead to a better long-term relationship with the client and consequently, more referrals.
- Establish a clear collection date, draft date or due date – Let them know during the application process when their payment is due and when you will be back to collect the second payment. The second payment can sometimes be the hardest payment to collect. Manage their expectations early so they know when you will be there. Do not leave them guessing or calling you to see when they are due or when you will collect. Keeping your book in route order is instrumental in being successful. That way, at the very least, you know what day you work a particular area. This will help you let the customer know at the time of the sale which day you will be in their area. Then you can specifically tell them to plan on you coming by the first Tuesday after the 3rd to collect their premium. This puts you in control of your route from the beginning and keeps you from running from one side of your region to the other every day.
- Deliver policies and ask for referrals – I was taught that you sell the policy in the interview, but you seal it in the delivery. Delivering the policy within a couple of weeks from when you receive it is very important! The quicker you can get it back into their hands, make sure it is correct, and ensure it is what they wanted will build a trust in you. Aside from a sense of security, that paper is all they receive from you. Sometimes you may even have to resell it upon delivery. But if you wait several months to deliver it, at which point they are already behind on their payments, you have shown them that their policy is not important at all. Make them feel special. Establish trust—both with you and our company. Once you do that, ask who they know that you can help. You will be surprised how many names you can get from a proper delivery.
- See it through, and do what you say! – Just because you have gone through the interview, made the sale, established a collection date and delivered the policy, that does not mean your job is over. Be there for the customer. Even if you are not collecting from them every month, call them. Send birthday cards. Provide service after the sale. Become part of the family.
None of these ideas are new. In fact, many of you can probably think of several other things that can improve persistency. The main thing we need to do is work hard after the sale to maintain the customer base. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Would you buy from you? Would you keep it if you bought it? Would you refer you to others? Service your customers after the sale, and you will see your book of business grow!
Greg Halcomb, Regional Sales Manager