- They don’t understand insurance
- They think insurance costs too much
- The contract scares them
- They don’t trust insurance agents
- They don’t want to talk or think about sickness or death
How you can help as an agent
It’s not easy being an agent. Our job is to sell insurance this we know. But at times, why does it feel like we are also a counselor, health adviser, and an old friend and confidant? I guess it all comes with the territory. I’m not complaining, I like the multi roles that the job requires me to do. But back to how we can help our customer. Understand the most common fears that Malaysians might have, so that you can better serve your customer.
1. Customers don’t understand insurance
There are still many people who don’t really have much knowledge about insurance. They simply have not been exposed, and have not taken the time to find out about it. Most may have an idea what it is and some even realize that they need it – “someday”. There is no shortage in education material, especially those provided by the insurance companies in the form of pamphlets and booklets. Not to mention websites such as iBanding that aims to educate about insurance.
As an agent, I find that the most effective method of educating the customers are real life experiences and anecdotes. Not necessarily my own experiences but those of other Malaysians, especially my own clients. We can relate easier with these stories, because a lot of the time, they fit with our own experiences. So it’s not about “teaching”, it’s about “sharing”. This may not be easy for younger/ newer agents as they may not have many “stories” to tell, so my advice is to hang out more with senior agents. They usually have lots to tell.
2. Customers think insurance is too expensive
It can get frustrating when a customer decides to stop payment. Saying that the insurance they bought costs too much and it does not benefit them. This happens because, one, the protection that they receive is intangible; and two, they lack understanding. I believe that as an agent, our job isn’t just to sell, but to educate and to provide value.
Let’s not be too quick to close a sale but to take our time to educate the customer. Sometimes agents may get the customers excited about a product which they end up buying in a hurry without having full understanding of it. Several months later when the excitement is gone, they start to think twice about continuing. So again, education is important from the very beginning.
3. The contract scares them
The contract can be quite scary I admit. It is written in English and filled with many insurance terms that only insurance professionals can understand. Some clients I find, once they have purchased a policy, don’t bother looking at the contract. They only open it when an unfortunate event has taken place and that is when they start asking a lot of questions.
It is advised that agents spend time with their customers to explain the clauses in the contract. This will help customers better understand their insurance reducing our previous mentioned fear (fear number 1) – they don’t understand insurance. Bring a post-it pad along when you meet with your client with their contract. Have important notes written down in their own words that they can be easily read and understood. Then paste the notes on the contract, so it can referred to later.
4. Customers don’t trust insurance agents
Well some agents may have given the rest a bad name. But this is somewhat changing. These days, the insurance business is a serious business and the agents are professionals. They are well-trained, well-groomed and they are very competent individuals. But not all customers are impressed with a smartly dressed professional who speaks like the nation’s champion debater. Most just want an honest guy (or girl). So be that guy, and girl. Be sincere, honest and be someone they can trust. People skills go a long way in this business.
Trust does not come easily and need to be built over time. One simple way is to share personal details about yourself, so that the customer knows who you are and what your values in life are. Most importantly, is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and ensure that they receive the right advice. Sometimes, this can mean that the insurance they want is not the right one for them, and you need to be honest enough to let them know it.
Another way to build trust is through reference or reviews. iBanding provides its Insurance Agent Directory for free to Malaysians, so that people can read what other customers think about their agents.
5. Customers don’t want to talk or think about sickness or death
They don’t want to talk or think about these things, but they know that sooner or later they will have to. It is your job to help them face this fear. But don’t do it by scaring them about it. We aim to assure and educate, not to terrify. So be sensitive about it. Spend time getting to know your prospects before talking about your products. There is no sure-fire way to tackling this situation. Just lots of patience and understanding.
These are only a few reasons why Malaysians fear insurance. I am sure there are more that many of you have encountered. Share with us your stories and how you have dealt with these fears. I’m sure other readers would love to learn a thing or two from your experiences. Get in touch with us and we will help you share your experiences with your fellow agents and reach out to new customers.
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