Client education takes finesse. It requires a delicate balance of asking the right questions, listening to your customers’ needs, and emphasizing the most relevant features of your product at the exact right moment—to help your clients realize that not only do they want that product, but they want to buy it from you.

Finessing your ability to present products to customers takes practice, and while every agent has his or her own style of conversing with customers, there are several “rules” of client education all agents must follow—if you want to attract loyal customers.

Nick Argol, Director of Training and Product at Apida, advises independent insurance agents on how to present their products to clients the correct way, so that agents generate sales by fulfilling the specific needs of customers.

When educating your customers about your insurance products:

1. DO know your product. 

When it comes to client education, the primary mistake that Argol sees insurance agents make is failing to know their products inside and out.

“Agents don’t like to hear that, but that’s the reality,” he says.

When you know everything about your products, you’re able to emphasize specific product features that match the needs of your prospects.

Argol recommends that agents invest time in learning about their products. He says, “There are plenty of professional designations they can work towards that will give them the additional insurance planning expertise. They can also attend company-sponsored training events to help them interact with the products.”

How much time should you spend learning about your products? “Depends on the business model you’re in,” says Argol.

Due to the fast-paced nature of the work that worksite agents do, they might spend X amount of time educating themselves on their products. For agents who specialize in financial planning and spend a lot of time working with customers, X amount of time is appropriate.

2. DON’T regurgitate facts. 

Knowing your product will help you avoid reciting all of its features to customers and instead speak about the features and benefits of the product that are most relevant to them. When you tell clients all of the product features, they get bored and think that you’re trying to push a product on them, which rarely results in a sale.

But when you emphasize specific features of a product, like a critical illness benefit as part of a life insurance policy and how that feature will help make sure that your bills are paid and their spouse is taken care of upon your death, customers are more likely to purchase.

3. DO sell the experience, not the product. 

Argol compares selling insurance to selling cars—you sell the experience that the car will provide; you don’t tell customers how the engine works.

For example, when selling a BMW, a good salesperson will emphasize how the car is the Ultimate Driving Machine; it rides smoothly, picks up speed quickly, and takes sharp curves easily—to provide the driver with a comfortable, luxurious ride. A bad salesperson might explain the exact specifications of the engine and describe the materials with which the car was manufactured—things that the customer doesn’t care about and that don’t entice them to make a purchase.

The same principle applies to insurance sales. Good agents sell the experience that their products will provide customers—peace of mind that their multiple homes are covered in case disaster strikes, for example.

4. DO your research.

This is particularly relevant for worksite agents. If you’re a worksite agent, you need to research what employers in your target market already offer their employees—so that you can “supplement what the employer is offering,” says Argol.

“If the employer provides an accident plan, why would the worksite agent sell a plan that mirrors what the employer provides? It’s better to know what they don’t offer and fill in the gaps, says Argol.

5. DON’T forget to ask questions.

Educating clients about your products requires you to ask questions that help them realize what they need so that you can present the best solution to them.

Good questions include:

  • How would you do financially if your stay-at-home spouse died? Would you be able to pay for the cost of child care, a cleaning service, and meal delivery?
  • What kinds of things do you want to do when you retire?
  • Are you prepared to pay for healthcare costs and funeral expenses in the tragic event of your child’s sickness or death?

And once you ask questions, make sure to stop talking and listen to your customers’ answers.