How To Demo Quote & Buy Software
Who are we selling to?
In the vast majority of cases you're going to be selling to one of four entities;
A retail broker who is selling a product directly to customers.
A wholesale broker, who is selling a product to customers via retail brokers.
An MGA/underwriting agency who are selling a product either directly to customers (rare), via retail brokers or via wholesale brokers (who in turn sell to retail brokers).
An insurer who is either selling direct to the customer or is allowing a retail broker, wholesale broker or MGA to sell products on their behalf.
In terms of distribution, you might consider a broker and an MGA with a delegated authority to be the same thing - but it's not. An MGA is put in place to provide specialist underwriting resource (often in a specialist class of business that they have a greater understanding of than the insurer, for example, solicitors PI), and as such, whilst a broker's delegated authority will be very narrow and equate to little more than a set of rules and rating, the MGA will be given almost absolute autonomy to underwrite as they see fit, in terms of pricing (rates), terms and conditions. In this regard, it's vital to understand that when demoing to an MGA or underwriting agency, that they are going to want to see the level of flexibility they have to underwrite the product, change and model rates and the associated workflows and audit trails that this creates. They'll want to add custom endorsements, change and fix rates, override referrals/declines and document that whole process.
As a final thought, you may also, very rarely, find yourself pitching to reinsurers, incubators, affinity partners or broker networks.
What do they sell?
The next consideration is whether they operate within Commercial (P&C) or Personal Lines business.
A commercial lines customer would expect to see a product demo of a product such as; commercial Combined, Professional Indemnity, SME Package (Offices, Shops, Restaurants), Property Owners or Combined Liability (Turnover or Per Capita-based)
A personal lines customer would expect to see a product demo of a product such as Life & Health, Motor, Household, Lifestyle (Golf/Camera/Photography)
The goal should be to have a demo product ready for each so that you can switch to the closest product to that which the customer intends to trade. As a general rule though, never demo a P&C product to a personal lines broker, or focus upon product distribution over underwriting when pitching an MGA.
Why so specific? Remember that insurance is a very male-dominated industry and from a neuroscientific perspective, men are visual creatures. We are initially attracted to the visual of something and then look to justify the attraction through secondary qualification. As an analogy, imagine when a man walks into an empty house - does he see the house for what it could become or does he look at how it is currently presented? This is why when you sell a house you're told to paint thing neutrally and declutter. Your software is, metaphorically, that house. To sell it to them, they have to be able to see how it applies to them.
I'll touch on that below.
Where should we start?
I always tend to demo in a way that best demonstrates the natural flow of data in real life. As such, you should start, in all cases, with the quote-and-buy journey. With a broker, that may be an online, customer-facing website, but with an MGA, they may be entirely keying this data themselves - always clarify which it is in advance of the demo and demo that.
When demoing the quote and buy journey, you should be showing them the product from your catalogue that best matches what they'll be doing. Each product should be built in a way that demonstrates all of the key features that you might want to demonstrate to the customer, that would form part of their quote journey, for example;
Answer Types, e.g Sliders/Date Pickers/Checkboxes
Third-Party Data Validation
Multiple Payment Options
For a broker
Initially, you should show them a pre-determined (always demo the same data, never freestyle this - EVER!) customer that you know will quote a price and that cover can be bound upon.
Now show them the back end. Show them that exact customer having appeared and being accessible in the back end. I tended at this stage to go back and say "But what if this risk had triggered a referral?" and show them what happens from the customer's perspective and in the back end.
For an MGA
In their case, you might instead show yourself logging in as one of their retail brokers, inputting the data and the system, and at the end of the quote journey, simply saying "we'll be in contact shortly with a quote".
At this point, switch to the back end and explain that you're now seeing what the underwriter would see. Pull up the client record and walk them through the screens that they have access to and the data available to them. Now demonstrate how you might underwrite that policy, showing that default rates have been populated and show how you as the underwriter are overwriting those rates. Perhaps show yourself clearing a referral (because you're always using the same risk data!), for example for a poor risk area and then adding a manual endorsement from your library, noting an increasing theft excess.
When you've then "quoted" on that basis, then show what happens for the retail broker, for example, them getting an email to say that their quote is now ready or being emailed the terms. Show how they would accept, or decline those terms in the system. For the sake of the demo, accept the terms.
Now switch back to the underwriter persona and show them being notified - the best way to do all of this is to demonstrate this all in split-screen, with each side of the screen fulfilling the role of one persona. If there's two of your on the demo, perhaps you can both take a role and 'play-act' that persona. The underwriter should be able to see that the risk has now been bound, they should be able to see that cover is in force. Now go and produce a statement for that broker showing that this appears both on the client record and on the agent account. Now would be a good time to show the payment being reconciled, before concluding with showing that incepted policy appearing on the risk bordereaux, with a brief run-through of reporting and how these are configured.
Briefly explain how the broker/MGA would then be able to process MTA's, cancellations and renewals, remembering in the case of the MGA that they're going to be double-y interested in the underwriting side of renewals. What rules can they apply and what level of granularity and data do they have available to make decisions?
So now they've demonstrated the important part, i.e what their life will look like when using this system, now is how you speak about configuration and just how much control they could have. You've helped them identify with the platform, now you need to help them understand how far they can push that.
Show how a product is configured, generally in the order of questions, rating, rules, documentation and reporting. Again, this follows the order of what the customer and they see in day-to-day usage.
Now, he's the psychological part. End on a high! You should leave them wanting more, so instead of talking to them about your incredible APIs, show them something. Show them something entirely relevant to them, that will leave them amazed. If they do motor, show accident recreation. If they do health, show them an integration with Vitality. If they do commercial, show them how you identify fraud or establish underinsurance. Something relevant, something cool, something exciting.
At the moment, you show them the cool stuff first, which causes them to peak within five minutes and then everything else seems more boring and mundane. Instead, build to the crescendo - end on the punch line - conclude with the killer reveal. This really is like writing a plot.
Never, ever show a commercial property owners MGA a motor integration because you think it's the coolest thing you have. Stay relevant at all times.
All other questions
Never skip this bit. Always invite them to revisit the bits of the system that excite them the most, but moreover, write down WHO asked about WHAT during the demo. These are your lynchpins of sale.
"Oh...so Dave liked the claims module!"
Great! Guess what Dave is getting more information sent to him about over the next two weeks, to double down on his enthusiasm and convert a promoter within their business. He was excited, so let's get him so hyped up that he can't imagine a future without this at his disposal.
"Dammnit, seems like we didn't convince Barbara about reporting"
Great! Now we're going to set up a session offline with Barbara to build the specific report she was worried about within a test environment to make her feel loved and ensure she doesn't become a blocker.
This is the most important part of the demo, where championships are won and lost. You must always leave time for Q&A.
I hope this is helpful and gives you a feel for how I tackle product demos? Happy to answer any questions that you might have!
WRITTEN BY ED HALSEY
Any opinions expressed here are my own and not the views of any of my employers. They are personal views based upon a 15-year career in insurance across underwriting and sales roles at mainstream insurers, consultancy firms and technology providers.