5 Principles to Validate Consumer Trust & Close More Deals during AEPPosted on September 9th, 2020 by Triptych
Trust is one of the most important aspects of any agent-consumer relationship—especially in industries like healthcare and finance, which handle sensitive personal information and life changing decisions.
“We are willing to put our trust in others because we have faith that they have our best interests at heart, will not abuse us, and will safeguard our interests—and that doing so will result in a better outcome for all.”
It is with these beliefs, or expectations, that consumers choose to enlist the help of a health insurance agent or broker during Annual Election, or Enrollment, Period (AEP). If the agent or broker fails to meet those expectations not only are there no “better outcome for all,” there’s rarely even a decent outcome for anyone involved.
Consumers are robbed of their opportunity to gain the ease-of-mind that comes with making an informed decision and possibly left with a plan that doesn’t meet their needs. The agent will likely only gain a reputation of dishonesty and incompetence, while the provider loses a prospect to a competitor and possibly takes a hit to their brand reputation.
Without trust, your prospect or client can’t (and shouldn’t) rely on you to assist them in deciding on their healthcare. As a result, living up to the expectation that you are an agent that consumers can trust is as important to you, as it is to them. What, then, are the principles you must uphold to validate their beliefs and close more deals?
5 Principles to Validate Consumer Trust
To confirm that your clients and prospects can trust you, you must begin by being authentic—true to your word and genuinely benevolent in your intentions. They meet with you with the belief that you genuinely intend to assist them in achieving their best possible result.
Entering an appointment with the intention to sell them the plan that will benefit you most, immediately disproves the consumers beliefs, whether they’re aware yet, or not. Ultimately, that appointment will conclude with a depreciation of your reputation. That certainly won’t be attractive to any consumer, current or future.
Begin each appointment with the genuine intent to be helpful in finding the plan that is best for them and you will have taken the first step in affirming their assumed trust in you.
Genuine intent is a solid foundation for a trusting agent-consumer relationship, but intention will only carry you so far.
To continue to verify their trust, you must also show that you will take the necessary steps to achieve what you intended.
Engage with your clients and prospects to demonstrate your dedication to match their needs with the plan that is right for them. Listening and learning from them shows that you’re committed to safeguarding their best interest, not your own agenda.
In step two of Consultative Selling: Win More during AEP 2021, it’s advised that you educate and inform your prospects and clients to empower them to make the best choice on their own.
Maintaining a consumer’s trust will require that you not only provide them with information, but that you consistently provide accurate and helpful information. They must be able to rely on you for current and valid updates and information prior to determining if they are going to trust you when making their decisions.
Empowering them confirms your reliability and your assumed power to achieve better results.
Your prospects and clients know that no one will be perfect 100% of the time, but they do expect that you try your best and that you’re honest with them. So, own up to your short comings.
If they ask something you don’t have an answer to, tell them. Inform them that you’re unsure of the answer, but that you’ll do the research and get back to them as quickly as possible. A false or non-answer is neither empowering nor comforting to a consumer.
Being truthful, even when there is the possibility that it could be misconstrued as incompetence, attests to your integrity. You would rather admit a lack of knowledge momentarily, than abuse the trust that they have granted you.
Remaining involved with your clients after the ink has dried is a sign of your commitment to their wellbeing. Maintaining a presence in your consumers mind is as easy as checking in, and this simple gesture has never been more important.
If you haven’t sent an email, made a phone call, or left a voicemail checking in to see how your clients are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, you should—and fast. Failing to take an interest in how your clients are doing during a global health crisis certainly doesn’t send the message that you genuinely care about their well-being.
They know you’re dealing with a lot, everyone is, but some sort of gesture to show you are invested in their welfare—not just their money—will firmly verify that they have place their trust in the right person and that they should continue to do so.
Trust: more deals and more satisfied clients
When you substantiate the expectations the consumer establishes when you form a new agent-consumer relationship you don’t just close more deals, you close more deals with more satisfied clients and increase your retention rates. In fact, according to a study done by Accenture, trust is a better indicator of a consumer’s propensity to stay than their willingness to recommend.
Consumers presume a certain amount of trustworthiness when they schedule a meeting with an agent or broker. This presumption is not concrete. It can be withdrawn at the first sign of deceit or malintent. You must demonstrate these five principles to solidify their presumption.