So as you guys know, the Collective is using data being collected on our members to help lead all of us to smarter decisions and more intelligent conversation in Agency.
With hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Agents submitting applications, we figured this was some data that you guys would find interesting.
Now, obviously we are teasing this a little bit in here to educate you about the Collective - it's a new brand in here - so the first few weeks we will probably share a few tidbits of info that tell a story. But the Agents IN the Collective will have access to data like this constantly to help them gauge what to do and how to do it in their business.
These are pretty tough to debate. It's the infoirmation gathered on peers all over the country. Not only is it data from Agents all over the country, we eliminated the top 5 outliers in the stats so the Agents trying to impress with BS figures don't skew the data. (Sorry Captive that says they close at 81%, you don't.)
Information like this allows you to make smart and sharp decisions in your business. The conversation in this group is informative and good ideas are shared and you will always find some gold.
The Collective is 1840s and 50s California. It's a gold rush. And the Agents back there are getting after it.
Join us on an upcoming info session and learn why The Collective is better than going it alone in the industry.
The Collective Agency Council - Gurus are Old News. Just tried that slogan for the first time. But we mean it.
Good? Not good? We liked it.
Register for an upcoming call here.
You'll be shocked at what we're doing together.
There is a great demand for qualified insurance agents in the U.S. Due to this demand, it is imperative that agents have the right tools to meet this growing need and assist many Americans in finding the right healthcare plan for them and their families. We'll discuss five essential tools every insurance agent should have in their back pocket.
#1 - A WEBSITE
The best way for anyone to get started, no matter what industry they are in, is by building their own website. For insurance agents, your website is your number one way to market your services, build your brand awareness, and ultimately attract new customers. You can reach an incredibly wide audience by posting yourself online and casting a much wider net than you would have been able to otherwise.
Whether you're a novice or highly experienced, there are dozens of online templates you can use if you'd like to create your own website. Several of them are free or extremely inexpensive to use. Check out Squarespace, Wordpress or Wix if you're looking for templates to use!
#2 - A TOOL FOR CROSS-CHANNEL COMMUNICATION
The next step after getting your website and CRM up and running is to download some communication software. Keeping in touch with leads and customers means communicating in their existing social networks. In the current age, this includes emails, text messages, social media, and many more. In an environment where there are so many platforms to manage, making use of cross-channel communication tools allows you to integrate all of these forms of communication into one platform.
With open enrollment bringing in new customers ready to sign up for a new policy in addition to existing customers looking to renew their existing plans, the fourth quarter is easily the busiest time of year for the insurance industry. Keep up to date with your overflowing inbox using cross-channel communication tools, which will help you keep track of emails, messages, and comments.
#3 - A WAY TO MANAGE ALL YOUR PASSWORDS
Keep track of all the logins you use with a password manager as you implement all these different programs. You may be tempted to keep your passwords written on sticky notes on your desk or in a notebook, however this is neither secure nor practical.
By using a password manager, you'll remember only one password, and all of your passwords for online accounts and profiles you've ever saved will always be readily accessible.
#4 - SOFTWARE FOR OFFICE ORGANIZATION
Getting everything you need for workplace organization from home is now increasingly important as more homes are becoming offices. There are dozens of tools that make traditional office work even easier, whether it's note-taking, document-signing, or list-making.
#5 - A CRM
Next, in order to organize and analyze your interactions with each person you speak with, you'll need a CRM program to store all the information about your leads and customers in one place. Your CRM will let you better manage, analyze, and personalize your interactions with your leads and customers. When it comes to closing any sale, information is key. If you call a lead that you spoke with about six months ago, you should have notes about that call saved. In order to avoid wasting time asking questions you've already asked, make sure there is a record of everything they've told you about their past experience with health insurance, any dependents they may have, and their long-term goals.
Lastly, by using a CRM, you can instantly access client contact information and access a full report on everything you know about them. It makes customer service a much more pleasant experience for you and for your customers.
Cloud-based tools will ensure all of your work will be immediately saved, backed up, and accessible whenever and wherever you need it - even if your computer crashes or you have a power outage.
There is increasing demand for insurance agents to help people find sound healthcare, so you should prepare to meet the need. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can stay organized, find new clients, and give your policyholders peace of mind knowing they have the right plan.
As any of you who have been following along with the news of The Collective Agency Council know, the council was recently founded by agents-turned-gurus. Mike took a a few moments to tell you the story of how he met one special founder, Bradly Flowers. Check out Mike's story below!
"I want to share with all of you a story about my friend Bradley Flowers.
Bradley and I met in I want to say 2016 right here in good ol Insurance Soup. He was a fresh faced kid in the industry with a LOT of ambition, potential, and energy. At that point in time, we hosted Career Agent Concepts sales calls 1 on 1. We were not doing webinars yet. Taylor Dobbie and I booked 6-8 individual calls a day and did our song and dance. And one day I got Bradley as a lead.
We hopped on the phone and spoke once and he needed to think about it.
Second time... he was interrupted and had to hop off.
Third time... reschedule.
Fourth time... needed to think about it.
I went into the FIFTH call ready to give Bradley a little talking to about time management and respecting other professionals. I was ready to tell him all about clients who bought without even GETTING on a call with us and if he needed to consult with ANYONE else that he was not behaving like a business owner.
The truth was he was young and nervous about making an investment into something he hadn't read up on and did not FULLY understand.
The truth was I was nervous that a still new and reputation-establishing CAC was letting a lollygagging prospect take up too much of MY time when I had so many other Agents waiting to get on calls.
And somehow the universe aligned that day and Bradley joined CAC on that fifth call. I didnt even have to strong arm him or let him know what I was really thinking that morning.
Upon entering the program I watched him feverishly go through the material. I watched him post ad after ad asking for feedback. I watched him take many of our ideas and tweak them a bit - often in very cool and creative ways.
I started taking notice. This kid was working. Really putting in effort.
I watched him get better and better. I watched him become a vocal leader in CAC. And then one day I heard about a little podcast he had gotten off the ground along with his partner Scott Howell. Maybe you've heard of it The Insurance Guys Podcast.
It's only the largest and most downloaded podcast in the industry with almost 20k downloads on many months - far surpassing, even doubling and tripling the other "larger" podcast audiences in the industry.
Then I started seeing the guy pop up with Gary V not once but multiple times.
Then HE helped get US invited to Gary V's event to present and speak on panels. While AT that event, we went to dinner down in Miami with Brad Auerbach, head of Insurance for Facebook, due largely in part to an introduction from Bradley.
I have watched him go on to be nominated for Agent of the Future. I don't remember if he won or not. I want to say he did. Maybe he'll prove me wrong in the comments section.
I have watched him launch a program designed to edit Agent video content that has quietly helped a handful of Agents look better on camera than they ever would have looked on camera alone.
I have watched him launch his own independent Agency.
I have seen him launch a 2nd podcast.
I have seen him develop into a tremendous content producer, industry thought leader, speaker, and Agent.
Today I am proud to announce that this lollygagging, on-my-nerves, going-to-tell-him-off prospect of CAC from 2016...
Who has developed into someone I personally look up to in some areas of this industry.
Who has developed into a hell of an entrepreneur.
Who has developed into someone the INDUSTRY by and large embraces, follows, knows, likes, and trusts.
Who has developed into a HELL of a friend.... is on his way to becoming an OWNER in The Collective Agency Council. We are super pumped with this addition to ownership at CAC. Our relationship and friendship with Bradley runs deep and his value, reach, and influence in this industry is tremendous.
Bradley is going to be leading conversations around content production and Agency culture inside the Collective Agency Council.
We couldn't be more excited about making it official.
Congratulate Bradley Flowers with us as he takes on a new role within the industry and helps even more Agents than he already is, as an owner and mentor inside The Collective Agency Council.
This piece originally ran on InsuranceNews.net.
Competition is stiff and consumers are demanding, but the opportunities for insurance sales are still significant with one-third of consumers still looking to increase their insurance investments in the immediate future. Let’s look at six ways to make your insurance sales process more efficient while increasing customer satisfaction.
1. Tell more (of the right) stories.
Insurance agents should be storytellers first and foremost. Not the of storytellers who sell unnecessary products or exaggerate benefits — today’s sophisticated customers smell disingenuity a mile away. But insurance agents should tell stories that emotionally resonate with prospects and speak to their concerns.
For instance, a property/casualty insurance agent can tell a prospect a story of how having the right insurance policy helped another customer in the area find suitable temporary accommodations when their home was damaged in a hurricane. Or a health insurance agent can talk about a time when an at-risk patient got coverage that enabled them to get a life-saving treatment.
When stories are told with the individual customer’s circumstances and needs in mind, these stories have the power to convince prospects to buy.
2. Choose the right customer relationship management system.
The ideal CRM is easy to use and built specifically for the needs of insurance agents. It should allow agents to easily keep track of leads and customers, have an intuitive interface, and incorporate time-saving technology such as robotic process automation and automated workflows. The CRM should also allow for seamless integration, allowing smooth transfer of information between customers, agents and backend employees. This will deliver long-term benefits as all data will be synced across parties for easy future reference.
3. Communicate the way your customers want.
Today’s customers subconsciously compare all their interactions with businesses to customer-obsessed brands such as Amazon and Netflix. What these brands have in common is that they allow customers to buy (and then access) their services from any channel. The best brands allow customers to choose their preferred channel of communication when initiating or responding to a sales pitch. And insurance shouldn’t be any different.
Except that it is. For instance, a recent survey found that 42% of insurance customers want to get information about insurance policies through a company website, yet only 31% of customers find sufficiently detailed information about insurance products online. Even worse, while 50% of customers would like to communicate with their insurer via online chat, only 22% are given the option of doing so.
By communicating about insurance products via the channels that customers want - often digital but not always - insurance brokers can remove one obvious barrier to sales.
4. Don’t be shy to push for referrals.
Advertising and marketing is expensive, but a happy customer not only sticks around longer but is also the key to other customers through referrals. Insurance agents should prioritize delivering a delightful and frictionless sales experience - and selling the product that best fits their needs.
Now that you’ve made their insurance experience a good one, ask them to tell others. Your referral method can be as simple as asking customers to refer you to a friend, or write a review on social media. Or it can be a more formalized program with rewards, such as discounts and or other benefits.
5. Remove friction from the buying process.
After the prospect shows interest in purchasing insurance, the last thing the agent should do is introduce complicated paperwork, read lengthy terms and conditions scripts, or rely on multiple cumbersome channels.
At the point of sale, agents should be empowered to request information from customers in real time. That information includes their identification for automatic verification, e-signatures for immediate consent, digitized terms and conditions for quick approval, and digital payments. Using the right technology, all of these customer-facing capabilities can be triggered from the agent’s console and sent to the customer’s smartphone or email, depending on their preference.
The customer should be able to complete the entire sales process from one digital channel, with the agent still on the phone to guide them. No scanning, faxing, or bouncing between touchpoints should be required at the moment of truth.
6. Schedule time for customer retention.After prospects become customers, there sometimes can be a tendency to forget about them while you continue to pursue new clients and grow your business. But there are many ways of nurturing the relationship after the initial sale – and those ways don’t need to be tedious. For example, occasionally checking in on customers to make sure their policy still meets their needs, offering discounts when they become available, and cross-selling based on the customer’s individual situation are ways of maintaining the relationship.
Remember: Competition is everywhere, and customers who feel their insurer cares about them are less likely to be won over by another insurer offering a discount.
Efficiency And Customer-Centricity Go Hand In Hand
Efficiency and customer-centricity are two sides of the same coin. The more efficient the insurance sales process, the higher the customer satisfaction. And high customer satisfaction typically doesn’t exist without efficient processes in place. Better customer-facing technology combined with the human touch ensures that prospects glide through sales processes, and convert into churn-proof customers. It’s a win for everyone.
Recently, there was a post in Insurance Soup around how to work with more referral partners. I am going to take a page out of my friend Jeff Moore's book.
Jeff is one of VERY few people in our Insurance Soup Facebook group who is not in insurance. He is known as the "mentor's mentor" in many circles and his network within the online space is pretty top notch.
I look up to Jeff in a million and one ways in the business world. He is just a wealth of knowledge around running good businesses, being an entrepreneur, networking, and most importantly being a pretty good human being.
I met him at a mastermind 4 or 5 years ago and we've stayed in touch over the years and helped each other out with some things. When I met Jeff at the event I met him at a few years back, he was a speaker and presenter and what I learned from him that day ultimately had a tremendous impact on Soup.
I'm not sure I've ever shared this with him or not, so this may be new news even for him, but he spoke about how important it is for your clients to not view you as simply "the person they know who does X", X being insurance in this case. They can find "a guy or gal that does insurance" with a very simple click of the mouse and a little google search.
You need to make yourself stand out.
Now, how do you go about doing that in a world where everyone and everything looks and sounds the same?
By being different.
Now we struggle to be different from a product standpoint because plain and simply, very few of us have anything truly unique to offer. But what each and every one of us has that IS unique to offer is ourselves.
Now this isn't a typical "rah rah be the best Agent you can be" speech. We all know the reason that your Agency is special is because of YOU! That's what your Mommy tells you anyway, right?
The truth is - your Agency is NOT special because of you. Every Kyle and Karen in this industry thinks they're special. And I agree. I agree with your Mom. You are special.
But what makes you STAND OUT?
The idea Jeff always speaks so vividly about is the idea that you are not an "X" (insert career choice), but you ARE a problem solver and a people connector who happens to own an Insurance Agency.
When you become the person that everyone knows has an answer or a direction to point them in, you become needed.
You become a more valuable asset to your client.
You become a more valuable asset to your referral partners.
You become a more valuable asset to your community.
When you're able to move establish yourself as "not just an insurance agent" in your clients heads and into the role of "the guy that always helps whenever I need something", you will get more referrals.
Not only will you get more referrals, you will HAVE more referrals to SEND because people come to you when they do not know what to do.
Jeff is in the seafood world, amongst some other niches. He gave the closeout speech at a beef and cattle event to a standing ovation once.
What the heck was The King of Seafood doing giving the keynote speech at an event for BEEF LOVERS?
Well, almost every single person in that room had received help or guidance from Jeff at some point. They knew him and benefitted from a relationship with him despite not necessarily doing business WITH him.
But most of them have gone on to DO business with him at some point because he's just a wealth of knowledge, always positive, and has a tremendous network. And if they don'y actively do business with him, they're referring people to him that definitely DO.
So how does that all tie in with us and how we try and run our group? And how does it factor in to how YOU may want to consider looking at your Agency?
Well, while we may not ALWAYS come across positive in our Facebook group because maybe our tone or sarcasm gets lost. Or maybe we're publicly going after a rule breaker or someone who may be going hard on another member... behind the scenes, our goal to either have the answer or to know people that do have the answer so we can point you all towards them has become a paramount vision and goal of ours.
And for me personally, it all started to become purposeful and intentional, not just occasionally and randomly, thanks to Jeff Moore.
You want more referrals?
You want more referral partners?
Become a connector. Become a problem solver. Become the business in your town that connects everyone.
Once you are known and seen as the person who can solve many problems, or at the very least, the person who can get you connected to the right people, you're well on your way to being connected yourself.
This piece originally ran on Acorns.com.
Get ready for a wedding boom in 2022: An estimated 2.5 million weddings will take place next year, the most the U.S. has seen since 1984, according to Shane McMurray, CEO of The Wedding Report, a market research firm.
To put that into perspective, there were only half as many weddings in 2020, 1.2 million, as people had to postpone their nuptials due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Next year, couples will spend an average of $24,300, The Wedding Report estimates. That’s a substantial sum, so before saying “I do” to your venue and vendors, consider buying wedding insurance, says Esther Lee, senior editor at The Knot. “With everything that’s transpired during Covid, couples should be especially vigilant about taking precautionary measures as they plan their weddings,” she says. “This, in turn, involves wedding insurance.”
Even though Covid-19 related cancellations or postponements may not be covered by your policy, having wedding insurance “is still worth it,” says Dave Evans, a certified financial planner and the co-founder and president of 401kSleuth who has worked in the insurance industry for 40 years.
“Insurance provides a peace of mind recommended for all couples when planning a wedding,” says Lee. Especially since coverage is generally inexpensive: The average WedSafe wedding insurance policy, for example, is less than $200.
Here’s what you need to know about wedding insurance and what it covers, and why experts say it’s a good idea.
There are two types of wedding insurance policies
There are generally two types of wedding insurance policies: event liability insurance, which provides coverage for injuries or accidents that occur at a wedding, and event cancellation protection, “which can reimburse financial losses associated with the wedding,” says Steve Lauro, vice president at Aon Affinity, parent company of WedSafe, a seller of wedding insurance.
Liability insurance is often offered or required at venues like banquet halls, vineyards, or historical locations. “It can protect brides and grooms from financial losses due to injuries, accidents, or property damage during the event,” says Lauro.
Cancellation insurance protects a couple’s financial investment in the wedding. “The primary benefit is reimbursing for outright cancellation or postponement of the wedding due to some unforeseen issue,” Lauro says. Liability insurance might cover cancelation costs related to a venue going out of business, an extreme weather event, or a key person in the wedding getting sick.
Cancellation policies can also reimburse you in the case of damage to a wedding dress, for example, or if your florist or photographer don’t show up, he explains.
A basic insurance cancelation policy that covers loss of photos, videos, attire, gifts, rings and deposits usually costs anywhere between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage you want, according to The Knot. Liability insurance, which can cover up to $1,000,000 for accidents, costs approximately $185. But those costs can vary significantly, depending on the carrier.
"‘Most insurance companies are excluding Covid’“
Now, generally, everything I’ve seen is they [insurance companies] have typed up policies to exclude Covid,” says Evans. While there might be policies out there that include coverage of cancelations related to the pandemic, “I haven’t seen one and it won’t be cheap.”
In general, “most insurance companies are excluding Covid because it’s happening too often,” Evans says. “The premium is so small relative to the cost of cancelling a wedding.” Wedding insurance premiums that cost just a few hundred dollars expose insurance companies to high financial losses in the event that Covid-19 does interrupt a wedding.
Even if the policy says it includes Covid-19 related cancellations or postponements, the reality can be very nuanced. “They might say, ‘We cover Covid for the bride and groom, but does that include the family? Is it larger than the family?’ So you have to look for what’s excluded,” says Evans.
And be aware that if you wanted to cancel because cases were rising in your area and you were nervous about contributing to the spread, insurance likely wouldn’t cover that. “Typically, insurance would not cover ‘fear of’ something, whether that be contracting Covid-19 or other issues,” Lauro says. “Most coverage would be triggered when someone is affected, such as actually contracting Covid-19.”
Ask your policy provider “if there is an exclusion in the policy for a ‘known event’ and if the company interprets Covid-19 to be one or not,” Lauro suggests. “Some policies may still provide some coverage related to Covid-19 issues even though we know it is a known risk at this point.”
And when traveling for a wedding outside the U.S., it’s important to make sure your health insurance will cover any unexpected health-related incidents.
Ask questions about your insurance policy
When shopping for a wedding insurance policy, look for specific phrases like “force majeure, meaning an act of God, when signing,” says Lee.
If there’s a hurricane for example, the venue may say that was a force majeureand not reimburse your deposit, which is why you need event cancellation coverage, Evans says. So “make sure to find out what you’re responsible for and what they’re responsible for.”
If you’re having a backyard wedding or a destination wedding, there are a number of other factors to consider. If someone has too much to drink and gets into an accident, or if someone gets hurt in your backyard, you may be responsible for the damage as the “social host.” Liability insurance can help protect you in those types of scenarios, Evans says.
An agent can help you figure out how to make sure you’re covered based on the specifics of your wedding: “Talk to an insurance professional and say, ‘Here are our circumstances,’” he says. “Don’t try to self-diagnose.”
Make sure you look into policies early enough, too, Lee says: “Some policies will only allow you to purchase insurance within a certain period before the event date, so shop around and talk to several reputable providers about your options.”
Common sense would suggest that every person who owns a home would want to do their very best to protect their investment by being sure to secure homeowners' coverage. However, if you've noticed that you seem to be striking out when it comes to pitching homeowners' insurance to potential customers, you're not alone.
There are some substantial negatives that agents may not even be aware of when prospects go looking for a homeowners' policy. Check out the top 3 below and see what you can do in your agency to try to alleviate some of the stigma around buying homeowners' insurance.
#1 - INSURANCE HAS A BAD RAP
There is no such thing as a perfect customer satisfaction rating in the insurance industry. There is a paradox at work here as many people assume that their losses will be covered when they are not. The fact that insurance people sometimes behave poorly, incorrectly, and even illegally is not very helpful either.
This bad rap is also thanks, in part, to some insurance companies who low-ball their clients and make it extremely hard for customers to get what's owed to them in the event of a claim. Customers also complain that some agents claim to get big bucks for their clients when disaster strikes and then they cash their big checks while the customer is left holding the bag. After a while, people stop trusting the insurance industry altogether.
#2 - PEOPLE DON'T BELIEVE THEY NEED IT
Many people would rather avoid monthly expenses and go without insurance when there is no compulsion to buy it. There is only one time when homeowners' insurance is required: when there is a mortgage. And if there are first-time homeowners, they may not be aware of the very real risks involved with owning a home or the financial consequences of not being insured in the event of an accident or disaster.
Other homeowners, especially first-time homeowners, may understand the risks of not having coverage, but they may be in a position where they feel that that monthly or yearly expense would be better spent elsewhere, where this is a more tangible need. Unfortunately, as many agents know all too well, lots of people learn that they should have had insurance the hard way.
#3 - HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE AIN'T CHEAP
And for good reason. For most people, a home will be the biggest investment they ever make. Depending on where you live and several very specific details pertaining to your home, it makes sense that it would cost a relatively large amount of money to insure it but that doesn't make swallowing that pill any easier. And if people don't live in areas where they are likely to sustain weather-related damage, they're likely to think accidents like fire, flooding and or personal injury on their property simply won't happen to them. Agents see it all the time. A homeowner will roll the dice and then, unfortunately, have to pay the price when they're proven wrong.
At the end of the day, even though there will always be reasons for homeowners to believe that they don't need insurance, there is one REALLY good reason to do so. When disaster strikes, no one wants to be solely financially responsible for picking up the pieces. By convincing your clients that the alternative to paying for insurance is far, far worse than that monthly payment, you may just be doing them the greatest service of their lives.
I arrived early at my publishing job in midtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was around 8:50 a.m. when I received a call from one of my prepress operators whose office was high up in a building near the Empire State Building. He told me a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers but didn't seem overly bewildered by it. I assumed it was a small prop plane, not a Boeing 767. We talked about it for a minute and then spoke about business at hand.
While the office continued to fill up, coworkers with TVs in their offices turned them on. No one seemed overly concerned. And then, at 9:03 a.m., we heard screams come from the offices surrounding our rows of cubicles. Another plane had hit the towers, this time for all to see.
Everyone filed into the offices that lined our floor. We watched as camera crews scrambled to film what they could and as reporters speculated on what could have happened. And then, at 9:59 a.m., the South Tower crumbled into itself.
People knew people who worked there. My coworker's fiancé was a firefighter. She spoke to as he was on his way to the tower. He was not heard from again.
We cried. Men cried. People hugged. We were open wounds, watching the worst thing we'd ever seen. And it was happening a few short miles from where we stood.
After the North Tower collapsed, we were told trains and subways weren't running and we needed to evacuate our building. I lived on Long Island so essentially I was trapped in the city. A group of friends and I filed out onto 6th Avenue and began to walk north. Not sure where we were going. Just trying to get out of the shadows of the skyscrapers. Skyscrapers like the ones we'd just seen disappear downtown.
People were running. People were crying. People were trying frantically to make phone calls, but cell service was out. We wandered up and into Central Park and eventually met up with a friend whose apartment was nearby.
We sat in her apartment and watched footage of people jumping from the towers before they collapsed. Jumping from the towers. I will never forget those people I saw jump.
Mass transit started to run again. I boarded a train back to Long Island. As the train came out of the East River tunnel and into Queens, I could see the skyline of lower Manhattan from the windows. Endless streams of black smoke trailed out across the sky above Ground Zero.
Nothing about any of this made sense. There were so many questions. And somehow... some things became very clear.
The train was packed. And silent. So many people were just trying to get home to their loved ones after the scariest day many of us had lived through up to that point in our lives.
There was a man in a blue business suit standing in the aisle. His suit was covered in the gray dust we saw on people walking out of the wreckage on the news. He had commuted to work just like me that morning. He'd gone to work. He had been down there. He stood. Another man stood up and offered him his seat, knowing what he had seen earlier that day,
He took the man's seat but didn't speak. No one spoke.
I got home. I hugged my boyfriend and continued to be rocked, like the rest of the world, by the events of that day. As I still am. As we all are. But here's why I'm writing all of this to you on an insurance marketing blog today.
The people I saw jumping from the towers. They'd just gotten up and went to work that day. That man in the aisle, covered in dust on the train. Like countless others in Manhattan. Like countless others across the world. Like me. Like you. Like we all did today.
This is what became clear that day on the train ride home - it can all be taken from us. The people we love. The things we do. Our peace of mind. None if it is promised to any one of us.
What I felt that day was human. I didn't feel like one, singular person. I was part of every other person I saw that day. One tiny unit within a giant organism experiencing all of the same things, at the same time.
This is why it's so important to be what you love. To do what you love. To offer someone your seat. To offer someone your heart and your hand. To respect another's feelings. To honor where it's deserved. To hold silent space for collective pain. To speak with love. And to be a source of goodness when everything is crumbling.
We all learned different lessons that day. And we continue to learn them. All I ask is that you stand for the "man on the train" today. Every day, if you can. Because even if you can't see it, we're all covered in dust in one way or another.
I have no idea the validity of the stats I am about to throw out at you. I literally just saw a couple of talking heads in an ad saying them like they're fact. Don't know if it is. I generally don't take too too much of what these two in particular flap their gums about when I see them, but it's what they were saying.
They claimed that despite Agents being so sick and tired of the internet lead companies, the internet lead companies saw an average of 40% YOY sales during the pandemic.
How frustrating must it be to be spending an average of 40% MORE with a company or family of companies that you already are ONLY paying because you feel there is NO BETTER WAY? Or because you DONT WANT TO TRY NEW THINGS?
In 2021, if you are not generating your own leads and automating your follow up and all things agency...
If you are not working on your systems and processes and creating uniformity in everything your team does and how they do it... you are making a conscious decision to eat away at your bottom line.
Generally speaking, Agents are aware that there are opportunities, softwares, technologies, and educations available that will free them of lead vendors and make them more effective, efficient, and financially sound. But the time, effort, energy, and ambition to actually do something different and outside their comfort zone keeps them driving along the Frustration Freeway.
Listen, I know, probably better than most in here, the frustration around learning and improving skill sets and figuring out technology and the like. My entire career behind the scenes is failure. You guys see the wins and the testimonials and the Agents super stoked with results theyre getting from what we teach. But what you do not see are ALLLLLLL the things we are doing that DO NOT make it in to our courses... our technologies... our services.
And the stuff that DOESNT MAKE IT in is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS more than the stuff that does. Because as guru-y as the leaders come across in here from time to time, the reality is behind the scenes we're just swinging the bat over and over and over and ONLY letting you guys have access to the times we hit home runs and can show you how to as well.
So I TOTALLYunderstand the idea of not wanting to be learning and implementing and trying and pivoting when there are alternatives, albeit frustrating solutions, already in use that are producing ehhh but not TERRRRRRIBLE results. The idea of rolling the dice on learning something new, when in your head you're thinking "Well if it ain't broke or causing me to go broke... dont fix it...." is a tricky one.
BUT, understand that suffering through mediocrity because the idea of possibly trying to improve would require work - that doesn't necessarily promise you a net positive gain. That suffering is also dragging down morale, results, chemistry, and more and it's causing you to leave so much money on the table and has you probably SPENDING more money than you have to for the pleasure.
All this said, it is time for you to check out the Collective Agency Council.
Hundreds and hundreds of Agents sharing what and how they do everything within Agency.
Drastically reducing your learning curves.
Drastically speeding up your results.
Drastically educating you on potential pitfalls and problems you do not see yet with your ideas and providing you with DATA DRIVEN, PROVEN, and IN USE processes, approaches, and strategies.
The chances of what you are learning, using, trying NOT improving your Agency are slim to none. If you know you OR your staff need to improve and you're willing to put in the work in your Agency to do it, The Collective is for you.
Gone will be the days that you feel stuck doing ANYTHING just one way in your business because that's how you've always done it.
Ushered in will be a flood of education and data-driven conversations around how to more efficiently and effectively do anything and everything in your business.
Hop on an upcoming call and check out what close to 1000 Agencies are quickly learning inside our new environment. That as good as each and every one of us are individually, The Collective allows us to become the best we can be.
Prospecting isn't something anyone in the insurance industry would describe as a walk in the park, no matter how long they've been in the business. Finding successful leads has been a moving target for people in the insurance industry for decades and even with all of the technological advances we have to take advantage of. When agents search for prospecting tips online, they typically find that most are outdated and/or ineffective.
In the past, people knocked on doors and visited local businesses in their attempts to create successful business relationships. They might have made 100 cold calls a day. They might have sent letters. It's debatable whether the old strategies still work, but we probably are missing the point entirely. Now is the time for insurance professionals to rethink prospecting and how certain actions fit into the picture.
The following tips might just help you step up your cold calling game. Check them out!
TIP 1 - KNOW WHICH METHODS TO USE WHEN
For starters, each agent should have a defined sales funnel that includes a comprehensive list of lead generation sources, affiliates, and networks, as well as a basic understanding that insurance solutions are sought out differently by different target audiences, for example. Prospecting tips for insurance agents often miss the mark when it comes to understanding subtle changes in customer behavior and how to take advantage of them.
The sooner you understand how your target audience behaves and what things in their lives trigger their specific needs regarding your services, the easier prospecting becomes. Similarly, in terms of how you should reach out to a prospect, it depends on where they are in the buyer's journey.
TIP 2 - DOING YOUR RESEARCH IS IMPERATIVE
Closing new business should be more straightforward now given the tools available. Insurance agents from the past would kill for the information we have available now. Having access to prospects' personal, business, and social information has never been easier for the average insurance agent thanks to social media. Additionally, CRM tools make it easy to manage all of this information, keep it organized, and make sure that it is used properly.
Create a list of the prospects you want to reach. Then look up emails. Obtain phone numbers. Social media platforms are a great way to reach them. Participate in events where they are. You should make sure that every prospective client knows who you are, what you do, and how you help them achieve their coverage needs.
TIP 3 - HAVE REFERRAL STRATEGIES READY
No agent will deny that referral programs are valuable. It's likely that if you had steady referral business, you wouldn't be searching for insurance agent prospecting tips. So how can you increase referrals by enhancing your approach so that your clients will actively refer you to family, friends, and colleagues? Processes can be automated. Make it easy for referrals to find you by creating an email that automatically sends upon closing a sale. Also, provide a form that customers can fill out with their references' information on a referral page you add to your website. Always be sure to send out follow-up emails and make calls to your referrals.
TIP 4 - INBOUND MARKETING CONVERTS WEBSITE TRAFFIC INTO LEADS
Many people look online for information, reviews, and websites about different insurance agents when looking for insurance. This means you're going to want to greet new visitors to your website appropriately.
Treat your website like a digital storefront in the virtual shopping plaza. Are you the type of business where someone walks in, browses the items, and leaves without saying a word? The first thing you need to do is greet people with a chatbot to ask questions so you can identify their needs and wants. Question everything. Share information about your business that could be valuable to them. and always ask for their email address as this is the best way to gain permission to market to your "visitors".
With these customer prospecting tips, we hope you'll see a change in your quest to find successful leads so you can start closing deals at a more rapid pace. Good luck!