When it comes to the insurance technology space, many of us have reached this strange place via a variety of convoluted routes. For me, the journey—at least in part—has included graduate degrees in psychology and counseling and a second career as a therapist. 

While that would seem to have little to do with technology for the insurance industry, I did in fact find it useful in responding to a question that came up during the Vendor Boot Camp at this year’s IASA Educational Conference and Business Show. I was on the panel at this particular session when an audience member asked something like, “How do I communicate with insurers about their pain points so I can show them how my product will help ease some of that pain?” 

The query brought to mind an old saw made famous, I believe, by psychologist Carl Rogers, who once said, “If you want to know what’s wrong with a [therapy] client, just ask him. He may tell you.”  My answer to the questioner was very much the same. If you are a vendor with a product that eases insurer pain points, you need to find out the particular pain points of the insurer you are pitching. If they match the palliative qualities of your product, you have a compelling message for them. 

There are basically two ways of doing this—the lazy way and the really-difficult-but-rewarding way. The lazy way involves simply guessing about a potential customer’s pain points and designing your pitch around your guess. This is actually not quite as hare-brained as it sounds. There are certain issues, which may indeed be pain points that are common to many insurers, such as legacy replacement and improving customer-facing operations. It makes perfect sense to address pitches around these issues if, in fact, your product addresses them well. 

The problem with the lazy approach, however, is that what may be a pain point for 75% of insurers out there may not even be a pin prick to that one carrier you are desperately trying to sell. If the approach misses the mark, you run the risk of alienating the potential customer, who may wonder why you have failed to do your homework on his company. 

The really-difficult-but-rewarding method, however, forces the vendor to become a detective of sorts, looking for both obvious and subtle indications of pain points in a targeted carrier. But the most effective method is also the hardest to carry out, and that is simply to ask the customer what pains him or her with regard to technology. Yes, it takes a little bravado on your part, and perhaps repeated calls and e-mails, but the results are gold. 

Once you know the problems that keep your potential customer up at night, you are in a great position to administer the happy juice in the form of your product. The customer, in addition, will be impressed with your ability to hone in on his pain points—probably forgetting that you actually asked what they were. This is a sale that has a high probability of being successfully concluded. 

The answer to effective sales communication lies in asking the right questions, rather than sending out shotgun blasts in the hope that some of the shot nails your prize bird. The simple message: Do your homework. 

Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services. He can be reached at ara@aratremblytechnology.com.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

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