Of all the leadership skills required for agents and brokers, negotiation tactics are at the top the list. As an agent, advising and educating people is the majority of the job. You have to negotiate with carriers and clients every day. Seeing as how insurance relationships are often long-term ones, rushing through negotiations are never beneficial. Taking your time to grow a relationship is often a helpful way to update your negotiation skills.
Having successful negotiation tactics in your back pocket when you need them is important. Read on to learn some more new ways to update your skills in this critical area!
1. Improve your listening skills to be a better negotiator.
Negotiating well is all about listening to the other person. But if you are always thinking about what you want to say next, you can’t be actively listening to the other person. Try improving your active listening skills to become a more successful negotiator.
Some ways to improve your active listening skills are:
- Look at the other person who is speaking and focus on their words.
- Avoid forming your counter rebuttal in your head while someone else is talking.
- Use non-verbal cues to show you are listening, like nodding your head.
- Ignore or limit side distractions.
- Ask clarifying questions but avoid interrupting.
- Allow the other person to finish their full thought.
When you listen well to the other person, you will not only hear their verbal message, but you will also notice their non-verbal cues. Those non-verbal cues can be enlightening during negotiations.
2. Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues.
Body language is an important part of any conversation, including a negotiation. Paying attention to the non-verbal cues the other person gives you means you will better understand the entire situation. For example, if the other person doesn’t maintain eye contact, looks down, or constantly fidgets during parts of your conversation, consider what that could be telling you. Perhaps they are nervous or are being deceptive. Maybe they are uncomfortable with their message or don’t believe in their offer.
Now that many people are comfortable doing business online and over the phone, vocal cues become just as important, including noticing when someone is interested and asking questions, versus when someone may be short and closed off mid-call.
3. Silence is powerful.
Silence can be a powerful and underrated tool in negotiations. Lots of people are uncomfortable with silence — and so they rush to fill it. People naturally seek approval and agreement from others, and if they don’t get it, they become uncomfortable in the lingering silence. Sometimes, if you wait quietly the other person will change their offer or give you more information than they intended.
Remember this point in negotiations yourself. If the other person is unusually quiet, they may be trying to get you to open up or share more details. Don’t rush to fill a silence — waiting it out is a way to hold some control in negotiations.
4. Take your time to establish relationships.
You likely have many long-term relationships with your policyholders and carrier partners. It can take a long time to build strong relationships where you can negotiate successfully. Don’t rush this, especially considering the longer-term aspect of many insurance contracts and relationships.
It can be tempting to push too hard, especially at renewal time or with a new customer. But this can be a mistake when growing a long-term relationship. Consider both sides and find ways for a win-win resolution, especially at first. These steps may take a little longer but having an effective relationship over time will be more profitable for your agency.
Many of your sales will be repeat business so it is worth investing in a long-term relationship-building strategy. This may mean working harder in the beginning when meeting a new customer or going to bat for them with a carrier partner to get a better rate. Maximizing connections between current and future sales will help you find the right negotiation tactics.
5. Combine Lead Generation Programs With Negotiation Tactics
The next step is using your newfound negotiation skills with a successful lead generation program. Generating more quality sales is your goal, and a quality lead generation program can be a great way to hit your goal.
Try out our inbound calls and nurturing programs along with these negotiation tactics for success. It's as easy as picking up the phone and receiving inbound calls to your agency from customers in your area! If you're interested to learn more, call us at (425) 658-9008