Selling Insurance vs. A Car – Selling Intangible Services


Selling intangibles like insurance can be difficult. It’s not like selling a car – the new customer can’t drive home in your product.

And sales professionals can sell a car at many price points, in many colors and offer program discounts.

Driving a car is a sensual experience. Not so with reading an insurance policy.

Is buying insurance like buying professional services from attorneys, doctors and the like?

Knowing a prospect’s motivation and how they tend to buy more intangible products is key to making a sale.

People know they need insurance, but dislike paying for it. It’s paying for something now that won’t be real until it’s further down the road. But once a claim kicks in, the value of insurance is realized. The claim is the key to customers understanding the delivery of insurance service.

Creating a connection is essential. To accomplish this, try this advice from Forbes:

  • Make it personal
    • How will your product make the prospect’s life better?
  • Make the benefits tangible even if the product isn’t
    • Be a storyteller. The prospect will be interested in how you helped someone else.
  • Sell peace of mind
    • When the unfortunate and unexpected happens, the prospect will be covered.

According to an article by Marilyn E. Chelini and Birgit Rickert, co-founders of Insurance Results Marketing Group, in Insurance Journal, “Many producers communicate features of their organizations rather than benefits. For example, they say, “We sell commercial, personal, and life and health insurance.” Those are great features. A benefit will answer the, “what’s in it for me?” question. So instead of the usual, “we sell commercial, surplus lines, personal, health and life insurance” consider instead saying, “XYZ agency provides every type of insurance you will ever need so you only have to deal with one company. We sell commercial, personal, and life and health insurance.” Mention the benefit first, the feature second. That answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”’

“Marketing also must include proof that indicates quality and values that come from personal interaction, trusted recommendations, clear communications, systems and processes on how claims are handled, as well as possibly include some information about how your physical business environment operates.”

Insurance sellers may mistakenly believe that price is the only reason a sale is lost, but research shows the opposite. Demonstrating value is the most effective way to convert prospects into customers, even if your price is higher.

Consumers go by the adage, “You get what you pay for.” Discounted insurance may be conflated with lack of quality or service.

Clearly convey your offerings and make the case that your agency keeps its promises, evidenced by its past success. Set appropriate expectations when representing your agency.


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Tamera Shaw is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions based in Louisville, Kentucky. She writes fiction and enjoys amateur photography. She happily shares her life with husband Ron, daughter Cate and sage cat, Sophie, who grudgingly shares her home with the newest member of our family – Nieko, our new kitten.
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