Let’s face it – selling insurance is hard. Insurance is one of those products that everyone knows they need, but no one actually likes to buy on their own. Aside from urgent or required items like travel and automobile insurance, most policies require a lot of effort and convincing to make a sale. Potential customers often delay purchasing “for now”, get confused at the different policies and coverage, or simply stop responding to messages.

On top of everything, insurance is a super competitive industry. Insurance companies and agents all compete to sell their products and services to the same set of customers. Some overambitious agents even make the industry look bad by aggressively pushing high-commission products to customers who don’t need them. 

It doesn’t help that, from a consumer’s perspective, insurance products can be really confusing. That’s why the average person is never interested in talking about insurance policies. Most even don’t understand the basics.

That said, insurance is something everyone needs and offers real value. Since the buying journey is different from most other products and services, you can’t just follow generic sales advice. To make a sale, you’ll need to stand out and embrace the nuances of selling insurance. If you’re selling insurance, tips from industry experts could be really helpful in building relationships with your potential clients so you have a better chance of turning them into customers.

In this article, we cover the 5 great selling tips specific to the insurance industry, so you can establish yourself as a successful insurance agent. 

But first, let’s understand why selling insurance differs from selling any other product and service  

Table of Contents:
Insurance is sold, not bought
Tip 1. Spend the first meeting understanding your customers’ needs
Tip 2. Make insurance approachable and easy to understand
Tip 3. Talk about benefits, not features
Tip 4. Get the timing right
Tip 5. Prioritise building trust and relationships over making a sale

Insurance is sold, not bought 

Unlike many other consumer purchases, insurance is actually “sold”, not “bought”. For example, most people are excited to buy things like a house, a car, or the latest iPhone. They even invest a lot of time and energy into researching their options and taking them into consideration. However, non-mandatory insurance, such as life insurance, often needs to be sold by an agent. 

Insurance needs to be sold because of a few reasons: people are rarely educated about it, and more importantly, it’s not one of the most exciting purchase experiences out there. Unlike other products, insurance doesn’t relaunch every year with exciting features and upgrades. Plus, it doesn’t have the glamour and flashy media coverage that physical products like tech gadgets and real estate benefit from.

Furthermore, most other products or services provide instant results (or happiness), but insurance is something that its buyers hope they never have to use. In the best-case scenario, it’s as if you never bought the insurance at all.

That said, despite the difficulties, selling insurance is a skill that can be mastered. That’s why the same agents can achieve consistent success as top producers year after year.

Ready to take your insurance sales to the next level? Here are 5 tips to help you sell insurance more effectively: 

Tip 1. Spend the first meeting understanding your customers’ needs 

It doesn’t matter what policies you’re selling, insurance is an extremely personal product and there is no one-size fits all approach. Therefore, an insurance agent should never initiate a relationship by trying to sell something without context. It’s utterly important to build an understanding and relationship first in insurance sales. The first meeting should always be about the customer. Therefore, it’s best if you don’t try to sell in the first interaction.

Insurance requirements vary from person to person, which is why almost all insurance products need to be explained and pitched according to a customer’s personal needs. There’s a solution for everyone. However, you can only suggest a customer a perfect solution when you understand their preferences closely. Plus, people tend to put their money where they trust. In order to become a trusted partner, you need to build a relationship.  

Listen to your customers as much as you can

Let your customers do most of the talking during your first meeting. People commonly think insurance salespeople are just there to push sales. That’s why most turn down an insurance proposal in the first meeting. Your job is to break the stereotype by listening to your customer, and refrain from recommending anything at first (unless they specifically ask or request something).

Understand your customer’s preferences 

At the end of the day, as an insurance agent, your job is to sell insurance. Knowing your customer’s preferences can really help you plan a tailored solution and increase your chances of making a sale. Therefore, always try to know if your customer has a unique hobby or interest, such as extreme sports or travelling, or if there have been any major life events recently. It could be a new house, a wedding, or the welcoming of new children.

Listening to people not only helps you gain trust quickly but also allows you to understand your client so you can give them the right solution they need. If you try to push something they don’t need, they won’t consider buying from you even if you have something else they really need later on. 

Tip 2. Make insurance approachable and easy to understand

Breaking down complex insurance terms opens doors to conversations.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

While you may be familiar with all the details, jargon, and insurance terminology, it’s highly likely that your customers are not. The insurance industry can be extremely complex and confusing to the general public. This is one of the reasons most people don’t bother engaging in a conversation about it. As an insurance agent, your job is to simplify insurance for your potential customers.

Break complex things up  

If you try to explain everything to your customer in the first meeting. It’s highly likely that they won’t absorb anything by the end of your conversation. That’s why an insurance agent should simplify the information and present it to the customers in digestible portions. While doing so, you should avoid complex insurance terms altogether and focus on things that a normal person would understand easily.

Keep your explanations as simple as possible and give real examples of how things work while contextualising their situations. Plus, avoid unnecessary insurance jargon and acronyms like ABN or SBC. Focus on making things easy to understand. 

Recommend one product at a time

Recommending multiple solutions for a single problem at once is an easy way to make insurance complicated. People can’t process well when you offer them multiple solutions while they have yet to understand simple concepts. Therefore, focus on one problem or product at a time, even if you think there are multiple solutions. If you throw 4 or 5 different products at them at the same time hoping to get lucky, you’ll more likely end up selling none. Instead, focus on very specific products at first, and then move on once that’s done.

Tip 3. Talk about benefits, not features

Insurance policies have massive paperwork and really lengthy brochures, along with all sorts of other jargon. If you try to cover every feature during your conversation, it’ll make your potential client lose interest in your offer. As a result, they’ll likely reject your proposal. 

Clients are more interested in knowing how they’ll benefit from a policy. Therefore, make sure you focus more on the benefits of a policy than its features, especially during initial conversations. Also, ensure you break down the complexity and simplify it with examples and context relevant to your lead’s situation. 

Let’s suppose you’re selling home insurance. In that case, your prospect would want to know what they would get if the worst thing happens to their house. You should specifically address each issue and tell them what they’ll exactly get. Clarify the exact amount of compensation they’ll get if, for instance, their house burns down or is damaged by a hurricane, given they’ve purchased a specific insurance policy of a specific amount. Being specific with numbers they can relate to will make them want to learn more because they now know the context and benefits.

Tip 4. Get the timing right 

Insurance policies are time-sensitive, and people don’t want to think about or consider them unless they have an immediate need. The default option for customers will always be to not invest money in insurance, especially if they think it won’t make a difference in the short term. That’s why you should be well aware of the right time to approach them. You should make the move when they’re more likely to purchase, not when it’s more convenient for your schedule. 

Keep track of customers’ timelines, life events, and milestones, and make sure that you align your offer to what’s high on their priority list. Be conscious about when’s the best time to make a sale and follow up when it’s crucial to them. This will ensure that they’re open to finding out more and increase your chances of making a sale.

Tip 5. Prioritise building trust and relationships over making a sale

Due to its nature and complexity, Insurance is one of those products where people choose who to buy from before they figure out what to buy. It’s a relationship-driven transaction since there’s a lot of trust and understanding required. That’s why it’s really important for insurance agents to approach their potential audiences with a personal touch. 

The good news is that insurance is a lifelong journey – with many opportunities to sell different products along the way – so it’s not just about making a quick sale. Once you create and maintain a good relationship, it’s hard for your competitors to approach your clients and replace you. Moreover, you’ll also have upsell opportunities as your clients grow their careers, income, and families. 

Always take the time and effort to answer their questions and address their points as personally as possible, so you establish trust and credibility. Don’t just copy and paste the same generic message over or forward a 30-page document for them to figure out on their own. Your customers should feel you’re genuinely trying to help them, instead of trying to earn their commission.

Plus, since it’s so relationship-driven, referrals can drive a huge number of sales. People will rather go with someone their friend or family trusts than meet a new insurance agent on their own. The more genuine value you deliver, the higher likelihood your existing customers will refer their networks to you over time.


Selling insurance is unlike selling any other product or service in the market. You’ll need to build a relationship of trust with your customers before they consider buying an insurance product from you. That’s why you should approach your customers differently. You should first build a good, honest relationship before pitching any products, since people choose where to buy first, before choosing what to buy.   

Keeping perfect track of your customers allows you to plan your sales strategy more accurately, increasing your chances of selling a policy (or several!). Understanding your customer’s wants, needs, and fears allows you to customise a personalised solution and pitch it to them. You should document their needs and personal circumstances well to plan an effective follow-up schedule, so you approach them when they need it the most. 

Having a proper system can help you manage your leads and clients easily. You can try doing this manually, or use sales productivity tools like Privyr to make your life and relationships easier. 

Privyr is a mobile-first sales productivity tool that can assist you in closing more insurance sales. It allows you to keep track of your customers from your phone or laptop, manages the data the way you want, and also helps create a personalised experience for each and every client. Whether you’re running an ad online or approaching your possible customers organically, you’ll save an impressive amount of time and effort while managing and handling each lead with Privyr. 

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A writer from the heart and marketer from the mind, Michael writes to help businesses implement effective sales and marketing strategies.