How Insurers Can Up Their Effectiveness Using the 6 Fundamental Principles of Influence – A Conversation w/ Brian Ahearn – Cialdini Certified Trainer

The majority of insurance companies are behind the 8-ball.

  • Commodity product(s)

  • Analog business model in a digital world

  • Stuck between giant national carriers with massive resources AND scrappy startups with slick digital DNA and massive investor backing

Mutuals, farm bureaus, and regional insurers need not be so reactive though to these forces. What many of you at these companies have in spades over your more resourced competitors is (or should be) empathy. As professionals at mutuals and farm bureaus, your agents & policyholders are the same people you go to church with, bowl with and watch the Super Bowl with. You know more about them than your competitors do!

Your problem is that YOU DON'T LET IT SHOW!

Given this relationship edge, it is amazing how many of you are squandering it with flat marketing, whether that be to your agents or your policyholders. Given your relationship with them, which would be more intimate, why is all of your corporate communications so professional? Why isn't it more intimate? Why aren't you sharing your best insights with them on loss prevention and mitigation? On what drives their premium? etc etc!?!?!

In this episode of The Yellow Book Road Podcast, I spoke with Brian Ahearn, former insurance professional, now an influence and persuasion consultant for insurance companies. We discussed the scientific fundamentals of influence and persuasion. Brian is one of only a few people in the world that is Cialdini Certified. We discussed the 6 fundamental principles of influence and persuasion. Not that snake oil baloney, but how humans can be and are influenced to do things, take actions and yes, buy your product. These are the ethical tools that we subconsciously know. We discussed the Principle of Liking, and a specific example from Brian's time at State Auto, where a new CEO commented on the adoration that State Auto's agents and professional staff had for one another. This isn't giving to get, or being nice to get the deal tactics...this is truly being likable and allowing that karma to attract the type of people and business that you want. This is the real deal with decades of academic study and research to back it up (don't believe me??? when's the last time you did business with someone you despised or disliked? Don't you do more business with people and companies you like?).

If you are an insurer stuck behind the 8-ball, leverage the empathy of your organization's mission outwards to all of your stakeholders. Don't use canned stock photos or agency copy to send tweets out reminding me to clean my gutters! Develop content around the science behind ice dams, with photos of claims and damage and other techniques to clean out your gutters and rake snow off of your roof. Teach your customers to become better customers. Teach your auto policyholders to become better drivers, better buyers or automobiles. Teach your homeowner policyholders to become better DIY homeowners, better painters, better electricians (or even better, teach them on how to select an electrician or plumber). Teach your small business owners, how to become better small business owners. How to prevent and mitigate cyber claims (hello CNA!).

One of the Principles that Brian and I discussed on the podcast was the Principle of Authority. Insurance companies are filled with people who would command authority as experts. Claims, underwriting, loss control are teaming with professionals who love what they do and would love to share that knowledge. Let it show and let them do it! This is your empathy at work. This is your marketing opportunity! This is how you can ethically use the Principle of Authority to influence your agents or your policyholders (or potential customer) is a positive way. Who knows, they may even like more afterward (see Principle of Liking!)


𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐖𝐢𝐭𝐡:  

Brian Ahearn 

Influence People LLC


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