Each year in May, we celebrate Mental Health Awareness month. After two years of pandemic stress, keeping up with constantly changing news cycles, and dealing with increasing economic uncertainty, we ...
Fear of rejection. Lack of product knowledge and skill. It’s not their job. These are three of the leading reasons loan officers cite when asked why they are hesitant to sell Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) coverage to borrowers. GAP coverage gives consumers a safety net if their vehicle is ever totaled or stolen and not recovered—helping cover the difference between their insurance company’s payout and the balance on their auto loan.
Helping borrowers understand the benefits of GAP coverage options available to them is not about “pushing” products the borrower doesn’t ask for, it’s about educating and guiding them through the process so they can make an informed decision.
To overcome the “gap” between loan officers’ fears and consumers’ need for GAP coverage requires four ingredients:
The right perspective
The right sales and quoting system
The right training
The Right Perspective to Sell GAP Coverage
A loan officer’s fear of pushing expensive or unnecessary services onto a valued member ignores the benefits provided by GAP coverage.
With so many products on the market, a growing number of companies, such as insurance companies and auto dealers, are aggressively targeting consumers in numerous ways, including direct marketing ads and mailers. These marketing materials are created to elicit uncertainty, so consumers purchase high-priced coverage without proper guidance.
Clearly, it’s far better for consumers to be educated about the benefits and features of GAP by their trusted financial institution, who most likely offers a more competitively priced product. From this perspective, your loan officers are protecting your borrowers from the more expensive GAP coverage competitors offer.
The Right Sales and Quoting System to Sell GAP Coverage
Once they approach selling GAP coverage with the right attitude, loan officers need the right sales and quoting system to support them. To be effective, it needs to be easy-to-use and allow them to offer the services without using high-pressure sales techniques. The key to providing this environment is an assumptive system.
An assumptive system is one that guides loan officers through the process, ensuring that consumers are educated about the benefit of the GAP coverage being offered and allows them to make an informed, no-pressure decision. As a result, it guides loan officers through the process, ensuring consumers are informed about the benefits of the GAP coverage being offered, and allows them to make a no-pressure decision.
One of the keys to the effectiveness of an assumptive sales and quoting system is being consistent. This doesn’t mean that every borrower will choose GAP coverage, but it does mean that loan officers offer the product to 100% of borrowers, 100% of the time.
The Right Training to Sell GAP Coverage
It’s not surprising that many financial institution employees struggle when tasked with helping consumers understand the benefits of GAP protection. After all, many are not trained in the best practices of selling GAP coverage.
To sell GAP coverage effectively requires loan officers to receive product-specific training that is both informative and engaging. The purpose of quality training is not just to make loan officers proficient in using the quoting and sales system, but also to give them confidence. The combination of product knowledge and confidence to be able to answer borrower questions and clearly explain product features and benefits will dissipate their fears and make them more effective in helping your borrowers make the choice that is right for them.
Training loan officers is not a one-time event. A well-defined, customized training plan with multiple sessions executed at various points throughout the year will help loan officers consistently build upon their knowledge and skills, and attain the confidence necessary for optimal performance. The training plan should be evaluated annually, at minimum, to ensure that it remains aligned with the goals of the organization.
The Right GAP Coverage Service Provider
The right GAP coverage service provider ensures that all of the bases are covered—including offering an easy-to-use sales and quoting system, delivering an ongoing, high-quality product/sales curriculum facilitated by training and performance professionals that understand the financial institution industry, providing an efficient claims reporting portal, and speedy processing of benefits.
Loraine Catlett joined SWBC in December 2009, bringing more than 20 years of training and development experience working for organizations such as Affiliated Computer Services, GE, WMC Mortgage, and Washington Mutual. As the AVP of Performance and Training for SWBC’s Financial Institution Group, Loraine leads a team of performance and training consultants who work with financial institutions across the United States. Loraine holds a bachelor of business administration degree in management from The University of Texas at El Paso. She is also a certified Corporate Trainer, a member of the American Society for Training and Development, and licensed in Life, Accident, Health, and HMO insurance.