Consumers travel through purchasing funnel, also called a marketing funnel, when deciding to buy a product, such as life insurance. Who to buy from and what type of life insurance policy to buy are what agencies hope to answer in a marketing quest to make you a customer. But what the purchasing funnel is and what steps a consumer makes within it, is something the average person may not think twice about.
The purchasing funnel begins with Awareness. The very first step a life insurance agency will do is make you aware of the types of policies they sell and subsequently they will make you aware of their business. Every prospective purchaser becomes that agency’s “lead.” A lead is a consumer that is interested in buying a life insurance policy that an agency offers for sale. The goal behind awareness is that one agency will attempt to reach out to a lead and motivate that lead to buy from them versus another company. The advertisements or sales agents will communicate why a consumer should be buying from them and not their competitor.
The second step in the purchasing funnel is Interest. Life insurance agencies regularly watch the market and will poll leads’ interests and buying history to research what a particular demographic needs or wants. Then the agency will work to hold the interest of the lead and gain his or her trust as a supplier of this insurance policy. If a consumer does not believe in the agency, chances are he or she will not believe in the products an agency highlights for sale.
Next step is Consideration. As a consumer there are many different types of life insurance policies to choose from, how long of a term, how much coverage to purchase, or what riders would be useful to the consumer, as well as what insurance carrier offers the most comprehensive and competitively priced product to meet the consumer’s needs in life insurance. Why would a consumer buy a mirror-image product from one insurance carrier and not another? The answer is found in the expertise of the brokerage agency and fosters a consumer’s consideration. A consumer eventually will decide that a particular policy best suits their needs for life insurance and will also decide to trust the advise of one brokerage firm over another. This is consideration and is an important step because if this platform is not reached, the insurance agency does not have a viable lead because the consumer is not intent on making a purchase.
Intent is the fourth step in the purchasing funnel. The intent to buy is when the prospective lead shows enough interest in a policy to buy it, but has not yet made the final leap to do so. A sales agent needs to keep working to ensure the lead does not slip away or forget about what policy may best suit their goals and belief in the agency’s lead to the consumer’s goal. A sales agent will work to answer every question a lead has and offer a viable option to them that the agent’s company offers for sale.
Following intent to buy comes Evaluation. A lead has decided that, yes, this is the policy wanted. He or she still, however, has not cemented their decision to buy. The lead has yet to commit to the purchase and is taking in all the information routed to them from advertising, word of mouth, the sales agent’s comparison reports and advice, plus any of the consumer’s own research done in the marketplace. And a final comparison is made. During evaluation, prospective life insurance agencies will work to stay as fresh an image as possible in that lead’s mind.
Finally, the consumer completes their research, evaluation and comparison in the purchasing funnel and makes the Purchase. A company has now successfully converted a lead into a customer and hopefully a happy customer who has truly gotten what they wanted. Zig Zagler, author for over 50 years of more than 29 sales and motivational books, reaffirms this approach with, “Stop selling. Start helping.”
Companies thrive on the residual emotions of their customers since referrals of friends and family are the most effective marketing tool a company can utilize. A 2013 Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising of over 29,000 people in more than 58 countries found that 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know. Making them “the most influential form of advertising.”