Every customer, referral source and prospect has challenges and fears when it comes to working with you or referring your company.

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Take the time to listen and learn how you can serve them. Know what their challenges are, and address them up front before they ask. Knowing your prospects’ challenges better than they do and communicating your solution to those challenges before they even think of them will go a long way toward building “know,” “like” and “trust” from these people and, ultimately, getting a contract signed or a referral.

Agent fears and challenges:

  • I feel like I’m selling new business just to replace business that I’ve lost ­— just spinning my wheels.
  • Clients talk to friends and neighbors — during and after a property loss. What if the claim is handled poorly or the contractor screws up?
  • Complicated property losses can be confusing and costly; I’m concerned how they’ll affect my loss ratio.
  • There are so many different vendors and specialties within the restoration industry, so the coordination is very time-consuming to me, my staff and my client.
  • I need to sell, and my staff needs to work for me, not the claims department.

Agent value statements:

  • Address their loss ratio issues during a claim.
  • Address your company’s communication system for the agent and the adjuster, as well as the customer.
  • Address your customer service standards.
  • Address their retention issues.
  • Address their concern for the time they or their office staff will have to be involved.
  • Address your quality standards — tell them stories.

Adjuster fears and challenges:

  • I am challenged constantly by my workload — too many files.
  • I need to close files for the least amount with the highest customer satisfaction; how do I do this?
  • I need to stay organized, and I need to close files.
  • I would like to choose a contractor to refer, but my company has a list. We have to refer from the list.
  • I don’t want or need a lot of phone calls from the insured or the contractor. I don’t have time to answer construction questions or questions of job timelines. That’s not my job.
  • If the contractor screws up, it’s my reputation on the line, and I’ll face the consequences.

Adjuster value statements:

  • Close files faster. Ask yourself how you help them do this?
  • Communicate better. Ask how they want to be communicated with and how often. Email, call and text only when necessary to handle customer concerns, questions and complaints.
  • Address supplements up front on bigger jobs.
  • Have a guarantee — put it in writing; make it official.

Customer/insured challenges and fears:

  • I don’t understand how claims work. What kind of coverage did I buy, and why do I have to pay so much out of pocket?
  • Strangers are coming into my home all day; how do I go to work? How can I trust things won’t be stolen?
  • Will my life ever get back to normal?
  • Who do I communicate with? My agent, the adjuster or the contractor?
  • Is this a fly-by-night contractor that will be out of business in the next year? What guarantees do I have?
  • What if I don’t like the work they do? What recourse do I have?

Customer value statements:

  • Address a guarantee for your work.
  • Give them a “communications tree”: Who they should call first, second, etc., and for what information.
  • Communicate security, conveying why they should trust you.
  • Lay out a realistic timeframe for work to be completed.
  • Add a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet to your contract/presentation package.

Every target-market prospect has challenges, whether they are property managers, plumbing companies, facilities managers, government entities, schools or hospital systems. If they are vulnerable to a disaster, they have challenges to be recognized. Figure out their challenges and you will go a long way toward your attempt to gain “know,” “like” and “trust” and learn how you can serve, not sell them.

Tish Hummer is a national sales speaker/ trainer and marketing consultant and has been in the insurance and restoration industry for 25 years. Her career began as an insurance agent in Ann Arbor, MI. In 1991, she began her 16-year restoration marketing career in the Detroit metro area. Hummer’s resume also includes estimator, vice president of a restoration company, insurance relations director, director of business development for catastrophe housing and catastrophe adjuster. Assured Success specializes in sales training for operations and business development teams along with strategy and systems of accountability. Visit www.Assured-Success.com, e-mail her at [email protected]or call (734) 904-6903.