Every proposal tells a story, too

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If your submissions tell a story to underwriters about any given risk (the subject of our last blog post), then your proposals should tell the same story, but to a different audience – the business owner. How well you tell that story - the prospect’s own risk story - is often the difference in winning the business from the incumbent broker.

The proposal is your chance to showcase the work you have done for your prospect to help protect their business. It’s the focal point of the sales process. In fact, it’s the one tangible piece of an otherwise intangible good that you are selling.

As most producers will agree, winning new business is often about building trust. Prospects need to know that you understand their business, and that you're able to clearly state back to them their risks and how they’re protected by the insurance you’re recommending.

The question is this: how much value does your brokerage place on creating compelling, quality-driven proposals that build trust? Here are three ways to improve your proposals, and help increase your chances of winning more commercial business.

1. Build a proposal template

This is completely cliched, but don't reinvent the wheel every time your brokers present a proposal. Build a template that everyone in your office can follow, and make it readily available.

Elements of a good template include the following:

  • cover page,
  • summary of business operations,
  • coverage details by risk (typically location),
  • detailed descriptions of each risk, and
  • description of coverages.

If you are not sure where to start, have a look at a sample Policy Works proposal and use it as a starting point.

2. Make each proposal personal

Sure, you could send the prospect the quote you get back from the insurance company. But what does that say about your brokerage? Use the template you’ve created and make the proposal a personal document – to the business owner, that is.

Make your commercial insurance proposal more than just a list of technical coverage descriptions and rates. Show your prospects that you understand their business by including key details you have already include in your underwriting submission, including graphics, photos of buildings or equipment.

You’re selling the prospect on two things: 1) how much you understand their business, and 2) your risk advice and insurance solutions about how best to protect their business. Use the proposal to showcase these two things.

3. Standardize the proposal process

As a brokerage, you'll be submitting hundreds or even thousands of proposals each year. Given that, we know why some brokers simply forward on the insurer quote - because using a broken process to recreate proposals is time consuming. But it doesn't have to be. 

Create a standardized process for creating proposals. Document who will create them, where the quote information is to be pulled from and who will do the final review.

An investment in workflow and supporting technology can yield big dividends in taming the time monster and turning around professional, easy to understand documents.

Think big picture. At the brokerage level, it’s really about building on the trust your producers have already started to develop. Will the proposal always get you the account? Perhaps not. But it’s one of the elements of the sales process that are within your control. So make each one count.

Topics: Best practices