Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company

“When our people heard they were going through another training session, their initial reaction was ‘here we go again.’ That attitude changed pretty fast. Richardson’s high-powered Consultative Selling Seminars taught us to see the playing field from our customer’s point of view.”

John Martell, Vice President & Agency Management Executive, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company

The Challenge

How do you stand firm on price in a highly competitive insurance market frenzied with price cutting? How do you establish an effective, consistent sales process that will impact sales results? Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, a carrier that offers its clients state-of-the-art business and personal insurance products, faced these challenges.

The company’s salespeople — typically underwriters with extensive industry and product knowledge but little sales experience — needed to increase their skill and confidence in identifying client needs and positioning Fireman’s Fund’s products and services to meet those needs.

“Our company was in the process of transitioning from a product-focused to a customer-focused sales strategy,” said John Martell, Vice President and Agency Management Executive. “In a market where some products are seen as commodities, we knew it was the only way to survive —and thrive. Richardson energized our salesforce, providing the skills and tools we needed to make the transition much faster than we had anticipated.”

The Richardson Solution

Fireman’s Fund implemented Richardson’s Consultative Selling Seminar (CSS) to support its new customer-focused sales strategy. The core program was efficiently customized to incorporate Fireman’s Fund’s business markets and challenges.

During the training participants learn a process to prepare strategically for client meetings, develop need dialogues, position solutions, close deals, and expand and nurture relationships. Participants receive intense coaching and feedback to support them in reaching their next level of sales excellence. Richardson piloted the CSS program to a cross-section of professionals from Fireman’s Fund’s commercial and personal insurance divisions.

The Results

Fireman’s Fund’s objectives for their insurance sales training were fully met.. Underwriters were better prepared to position their message, maintain and expand relationships, and increase profitability — a major hurdle in an industry of rising costs. Richardson training was instrumental in making the new customer-focused sales strategy work, according to John Martell. “Richardson provided us with skills to uncover what our customers were looking for, and the confidence to position Fireman’s Fund to meet those needs and win the business. I’ve been involved in lots of training programs, but none that compares to Richardson. Richardson trainers are superior and the level of customization is unparalleled. That’s what really makes the difference.”

Since the original program launch in 1998, over 1,400 Fireman’s Fund professionals have participated in Richardson’s Consultative Selling Seminar. In addition, managers have become certified to deliver and coach the program. Adds John Martell, a certified Richardson trainer himself, “It’s been two years since the original pilot, and people are still using the tools and worksheets —still calling me with sales success stories they credit to the training. To me, that says it all.”