Choosing a career in insurance means making a commitment to hard work and doing what needs to be done to bring yourself a certain level of success. Whether you’re pounding the pavement and meeting with clients or sitting at your desk doing all of the administrative things that come with the job, you’re likely to be ALL IN in order to make it work. And as with success of any kind, this usually means some things have to be sacrificed and our personal lives are usually the first to take a hit.
But there are ways to give yourself more balance when it comes to tackling your career while still making time for family, friends and the things that really make your life whole. It’s just a matter of taking action to insure that you maintain that balance. For many insurance agents who enjoy their version of a healthy life balance, it began by making just a few small changes. Here are few suggestions that we’ve learned can make a big difference.
MAKE A PROMISE TO MAKE IT WORK
Imbalances between work and life will occur. However, committing to finding your life balance is a tremendous first step in reducing stress and enjoying the fruits of your labor. Let your partner know about your goal to seek balance and let them hold you accountable.
BE SERIOUS ABOUT BOUNDARIES
Clients are demanding, and so is your family. It is important to understand your personal limits and project how the commitments made today could affect tomorrow. Life balance begins with daily balance. Let your clients and prospects know ahead of time what they can expect. Many successful agents will use their outgoing email and voicemail message to let others know they will return all messages after a specific time in the afternoon.
LET GO AND LET OTHERS DO FOR YOUR
Insurance agents who learn how to delegate responsibilities are able to free up more time both personally and professionally. Seek to delegate routine office tasks as well as household chores. The additional time added to your day can be used to prospect for new business and spend more quality time with your family.
How you delegate is entirely up to you. For household chores, consider hiring a cleaning service or enlisting the help of your children in exchange for an allowance. At work, use technology to delegate and monitor workflow between you and your employees for daily operational responsibilities.
STAY CONNECTED VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
Between work, family, and taking care of yourself, it may seem there is no time left over for socializing. But socializing is very important in maintaining a healthy life balance. Visiting with friends in social settings allows you to drop your guard and share experiences.
Spending time with your social group also serves as a reminder you are not alone in the pursuit of balancing a career with your family. If you believe you do not have time for a neighborhood barbecue or a night out on the town, think again. Like anything else, make social time a priority in your monthly calendar and never miss out sharing the journey of life with your closest friends.
DON’T FORGET YOURSELF
Life balance is often thought of as a two-part equation: family and work. However, a very important third pillar exists that requires attention – yourself. Your mind and body need the opportunity to rest and recover. Perhaps the most important step in achieving life balance is to set aside time for yourself every day.
Close yourself off from family, work, social media, and the rest of the outside world for as little as 15 minutes and find a renewed self. Use this time to meditate, stretch, or any other activity that will allow you to stop and de-stress.
These are just a few of the ways agents can take control of their work-life balance to ensure they aren't tipping the scales too much one way or the other. Staying on top of the things that can pull you away from your loved ones and your personal life will help you create a balance that works for you in and out of the office.
There are few things more valuable than a happy client. If you’ve gone out of your way to do the best you can for a customer, chances are high that that customer is going to sing your praises in personal and professional circles. This is why customer service can’t be overlooked and should always remain at the top of your agency’s list of priorities. When you consider the ROI you can get from a happy client, you’ll be sure to make keeping them that way your #1 agency goal.
Your advertising and marketing efforts may go overlooked by prospects which means you could be overlooking the true value of referral marketing and making things more complex than they need to be. As an insurance agent, your job isn’t to get clients and to make and keep them happy so they’re more likely to get more clients for you!
Here are a few ways to make the most of your client’s experience.
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS
Exceed expectations by offering your clients service that they won’t get from your competitors. If most insurance agencies only contact clients during renewal periods, strive to check in with your clients several times throughout the year. This will help you to establish real relationships with them, and learn about their families and their likes/dislikes. Learning about your clients will allow you to better tune into opportunities for small ways to wow them. If you find out that they love chocolate and peanut butter, for example, and they live nearby, drop a few peanut butter cups and a little note in their mailbox the next time you find yourself in the area. For clients from out of town, don’t underestimate the power of a hand-written birthday card, or the power of remembering and recognizing a special milestone or anniversary.
ANSWER EVERY QUESTION
Insurance can be confusing to people who aren’t agents or brokers. Most applications and product information involves a whole lot of jargon that can be overwhelming and frustrating. Maybe even more so for clients who are looking to insure their businesses. Potential new clients (and current clients) are sure to have lots of questions. Thinking about your clients’ needs and questions ahead of time and answering them before they have to ask is even better. With each answer you provide and each coverage you break down, you’re creating a happy customer rather than a frustrated one. Avoiding frustration and negative experiences is even more important than providing positive ones.
OFFER GOOD PRODUCTS AND DO IT CONSISTENTLY
Insurance clients don’t get to “experience” the products they’ve purchased until they file a claim. They’re often reaching out to you during the most difficult moments of their lives. During these moments, it’s critical to provide the quality service that you know will back up the promises you’ve made. That’s why it’s so important to work with a managing general agent who understands the value of quality service and serves as a true partner.
Client retention is incredibly important to your agency’s overall success. The best way to keep your existing clients is to establish and maintain trust, and to make sure that they are happy. Yes, it’s likely impossible to make the outcome of every claim pleasing to every client, but that’s where exceptional service comes back in. It’s cyclical. A client who is loyal to you and trusting of you will understand that you’re doing the best you can with the situation and working to provide them with the best outcome possible.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR REVIEWS
Another simple but oh-so-important task. If you want good reviews from happy customers, ask for them. Send your clients an email letting them know how important their opinions of your agency are, and asking them to take a moment to leave you a review. Pop the link to your Google business page or your company Facebook page into the email. They’re short on time, too—so make it as easy as possible for them to do you this favor. Then, show your gratitude.
Clients who are treated fairly, have their questions answered up-front, trust you and believe that you exceed their expectations will become ambassadors for your agency. When their friends or family members need insurance for their own businesses, they’ll recommend you. And that recommendation will likely have more return on investment than any ad you could ever dream up. Word-of-mouth agency advertising is more powerful than anything you could purchase, because it’s free, unsolicited and authentic. Tap into its power by focusing on the 4 simple steps discussed above, and watch as your success continues to grow.
Just recently, Mike McCormick made an important announcement in our private Insurance Soup Facebook group (click to join if you haven't already) about Career Agent Concepts. If you're new to everything Soup, then you should know that Career Agent Concepts is our education program that teaches insurance agents the newest and most complete guide to social media marketing strategies, lead generation and agency automation.
Check out Mike's news about CAC below!
"We have been getting a LOT of messages in the general inquiries email about where Career Agent Concepts has been the last 2 months.
People want to join. They waited months to save up or get the bosses permission or to make a decision because they research and think things over a bit before doing anything... and were just not available to purchase.
Frustrating I know.
While its already been the most popular, successful, and longest running education and mastermind for Agents looking to learn automation, lead gen, and referral partner growth... we decided to shut it down.
Career Agent Concepts is NO MORE.
It is getting updated and upgraded with all new strategies and ads and approaches....
And incorporating every and ALL aspects of Agency life.
Its now an Agency Mastermind with a FOCUS on marketing and automation, but covering everything else such as hiring, firing, office culture, comp plans, carrier tips tricks and hacks, compliance, tech, sales, increasing profitability, and a slew of other conversations.
We took a step back and looked down Soup highway. Looked at what we offer. What the industry offers. What the audience wants. And once again, we put it together.
So all the marketing stuff you love from us is all STILL going to be very much available. Bigger, better, faster, and more in fact. But as a PART of an Agency Mastermind where our members will also be taking a more active role in sharing, participating, and in some cases even presenting.
We are retiring the Guru model and moving to a Mastermind model. We know a lot but, we don't know it all. Together, we get closer to knowing closer to it all. Or to having someone in our network that has the answer we need.
Keep an eye out shortly for presales and webinars. We will be offering the Mastermind at a less expensive price point prior to launch for the early action takers. Unlike CAC, this will give you an opportunity to bring your whole Agency in if you'd like.
CAC is rebranding, expanding, and evolving.
It will be back shortly. New name. Logo. Fonts. Colors. All the rebranded things.
Keep an eye out for presale webinars coming to a SOUP near you... SOOOON."
Businesses, especially small businesses like insurance agencies, need to have real insight into who their customers are. There are many different types of customers needing to be served —from companies that need large health insurance plans for a huge employee base to individuals of all income levels who need health, life, auto and property insurance policies. However, each of those potential customer groups have their own needs, their own insurance requirements, and their own languages—and there's not real way to target everyone at once.
The surprising thing for most business owners to learn is that the more specific you get about your target market, the more business you’ll attract. This can seem counter-intuitive—after all, you’ll have to stop targeting some businesses and markets that don’t fit your focus. But if you appear to be focused on the targeted needs of a very narrow client niche, you’ll have fewer competitors—and be seen as the expert in that area.
Check out some very important questions that you can ask yourself to help identify your own target audience.
Do you have a natural connection to a certain industry?
Maybe you worked in the IT industry for many years before starting your own insurance business. Why not specialize in selling life insurance products to employees of tech firms? Or maybe your spouse, sister, and father are all teachers—and you have strong connections that would help you market health insurance policies to school districts. The more specific you can be about the industry you specialize in, the more business you’ll have.
Does the cost of your products eliminate some customers?
Maybe you specialize in selling auto insurance policies to the luxury market—in that case, you shouldn’t target your marketing efforts to a broad consumer base. Your messaging and marketing should be aimed at high-income prospects with a clear interest in luxury cars. If your selling point is affordability, however, you may do better marketing to lower and middle-income prospects.
Is there a concentration of opportunity in your community?
For instance, does your town frequently appear on “Top Ten Places to Retire” lists in national magazines? If so, there are probably plenty of retirees in your area—and you could do well selling Long-Term Care insurance to a local market. If you have a big manufacturer in your area, find out what their insurance needs are—and see if you can make your offer more attractive than the current provider they’re using. Being local gives you an advantage in your community—if you can find the right areas to target.
Is there a group your competitors aren’t targeting? Research the type of marketing your competitors are doing—in your community and in the types of insurance you specialize in. Who are they targeting—and who are they not talking to? It’s possible that if your competitors are only targeting a certain segment of their market as an afterthought, you could have an opportunity to move in and attract their potential customers—by being the insurance agent who specializes in what they need.
Insurance agents who can develop a highly-focused marketing plan targeting one specific, lucrative market are likely to do well. Do your research in determining the best way to position your business. Some agents have easy, natural connections to a certain industry—from a previous career or through family or professional relationships. Others may have to work a little harder to find the perfect market niche. But once you’ve identified yours, your business is likely to benefit from it.
This piece originally ran on Contactability.
The very best insurance agents know what it takes to sell insurance. The best insurance agents and agencies achieve superior performance because they follow the 8 secrets below. It doesn’t matter if you are an exclusive or an independent agent, as long as you follow these rules, you too can be a success selling auto and home insurance.
1. Be aggressive in everything you do.
Selling home and car insurance is hyper-competitive. If you and your team are not going to be aggressive in your sales, managing your team and relentlessly pursuing of new policies, you will not succeed. Being aggressive means having high energy everyday. It means not accepting the status quo and trying new strategies to drive your sales. Being aggressive means never accepting that things are “ good enough”. Being aggressive means buying insurance leads and calls so that you and your agents have zero downtime during the day, evening and weekends.
2. Outwork the competition.
If you and your team do not get the sale, it is going to your competition. To be successful, you and your team need to work smart and hard everyday. Get up early, work relentlessly through the day and into the evening. Consumers shopping for insurance have many more options than ever before, especially the most desirable ones. If you don’t reach an auto insurance lead on the first attempt, try again, until you reach them, email them or even send them a text. The days when insurance buyers had few options are gone forever. Remember to follow-up, follow-up and follow-up again.
3. Hire, delegate and hold accountable for results.
If your goal is to build a self-sustaining agency, that can out last any one individual, you need to hire staff, train, delegate and hold them accountable for achieving results. You can not do it alone. There is too much to do and too little time. When you have the right people, in the right jobs, you will achieve your desired results. Too many agency owners will hire their friends and/or family for open positions and then not hold them accountable for results. Doing this is a mistake. Set sales targets, revenue goals and relentlessly pursue them.
4. Focus on customer needs and wants.
Some agents try to “sell” a consumer what is best for them, rather than what is best for the customer. They will try to “sell” the policy with the highest commission and what they believe will make them the most money. This is shortsighted. Consumers may buy because you “sold” them, but they won’t stick around. You will make less money in the long run because they will switch agents the moment they find a better deal. Always remember to focus on the consumer and that will be rewarded with more sales and longer retention.
5. Have a roadmap to where you are heading with your agency.
It is critical that you have individual, team and agency daily, weekly and monthly goals. These goals should be for both new sales and retention. You need to tie your compensation and rewards to achieving these goals. Goals need to be adjusted from time to time and should be achievable, yet also something that you have to push yourself to achieve. If you are over achieving your goals on a regular basis, the goal might be set too low. If you are not achieving it, it might be too high or you might not be working hard enough. Before lowering your goals, you should try harder to see if that makes a difference.
6. Invest in your sales.
How do the most successful agencies grow and make money? They are not afraid to invest resources into performance based marketing. They invest in programs that have direct measurable results. They buy car and home insurance leads and calls from leads companies that pre-quality the consumer. They know that relying on “referrals” or word of mouth, to grow your agency is like playing the lottery and hoping to win big. Many insurance agents will reduce their marketing when sales are down, this is the opposite of what they should do. When sales are down, agents should invest more in marketing, not less.
7. Establish and foster partnerships.
There is nothing more important that establishing and building a strong relationship with your home and auto insurance lead and call supplier. Many insurance agents approach their relationship with their lead company in an adversarial manner. This is a mistake. Insurance agents should build and nurture their leads supplier relationship to create a win-win situation. When you have your lead company on your side and working for you, you will be more successful.
8. Listen to your prospects, clients, employees and community.
You do not know everything. The more open you are to obtaining advice from successful people around you, the more successful you will be. The insurance industry is very dynamic and you should be always looking for ways to work smarter and shamelessly copy those that are doing well.
Michael McCormick isn't one to mince words. If you've been around the Soup brands for any amount of time, this probably isn't a surprise to you. So when it comes to his advice for a long-lasting, mentally, and emotionally healthy career in the insurance industry, he has a lot of great insights and he calls it like he sees it.
"Culture impacts production.
If you are in an Agency that is consistently toxic and negative you will not perform nearly as well as if you were in an Agency that is upbeat and positive. When you're weighed down by a bad environment your sales suffer. You are not as upbeat on the phone.
You are programmed to think you don't have a fair shot at the business because "our rates suck". You are less likely to try and cross sell because everyone is saying that no one buys anything.
You rarely smile and it can be heard in your voice.
You are shorter with your patience and temper.
We are lucky to happen to all be in an industry where a change of scenery is very easy to achieve as a producer. We are also lucky to own businesses where we can swap out a negative Nellie fairly quickly.
One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was hiring someone who had carrier experience because I was super nervous about my lack of understanding of technology, systems, etc., that was SUPER toxic. She at one point had the entire office against me and early on was telling people that she should be the Agent because she knew more than I did.
Honestly, at that point she did.
But she created an environment that I allowed where basically the other team members were at her beck and call and served almost like assistants to her despite being commissioned producers themselves. All because I was nervous to lose my "closer" who understood the systems.
One day one of my other producers shared with me how much shit this woman was talking on me whenever I wasn't around. Funny enough, she talked shit on all the producers to me privately all the time and had me fooled into believing she "had my back".
As soon as I canned her, within 60 days my two other producers absorbed her production and we were doing more policies and premium with less people and payroll and everyone was happier.
Your culture impacts your production.
Don't let it go south and never let a crazy run the asylum.
Leave if you are in an agency that is suffocating you."
There you have it. Simply stated, don't let someone come into your house, get into your head, and disrupt the delicate balance of people you've got working toward a common goal. Your business is too important for you to risk it by being afraid to speak up. And if you feel you're in an agency where your voice isn't heard. Where you won't be able to thrive, make your exit. There's an agency for every producer, you just have to make sure all of the pieces are the best fit for you or your agency.
If you're in Insurance Soup's private Facebook group, you get to see that Mike and Taylor are always popping on to talk about ways to help agents with whatever they need to make the most of their careers as agents. And if you follow any of the brands under the Insurance Soup umbrella, you know that Mike, Taylor, Brian, Matt and CJ are always talking about how important systems and processes are to creating a successful agency.
Last week, we posted a quick video of Taylor's tips for making the most of your work day but we want to give you all the details here. Check out how Taylor spends his day in the office and what he recommends to agents as the most productive way to structure their days.
Most agents let their day control them instead of controlling their day What does that mean?
When you are constantly being reactive, you have no control. You can not go through your day trying to squeeze in production time. It will drive you into a stage of being stagnant or to where your production starts to actually decline.
It only takes a few small tweaks to gain that control back. Structure your day down to every valuable minute. That doesn’t mean you have to be insane with it, but don’t let time be wasted.
Show up an hour early - this time is when you can accomplish twice as much because you have zero distractions. No email, no voicemails, no social media, nothing other than prepping quotes for the day.
The next 2 hours focus ONLY on selling. No answering phones, no email, no social media. This may sound crazy to some but if you were in a very important meeting for 2 hours, you would not being doing any of those things either. Anyone who called during this time, it’s easy to overcome it. “Hi Mrs. Jones, I apologize I missed your call earlier. I was in a very important meeting but I’m working on your X now...”
After that, get a sheet of paper and make two columns. Left side urgent, right side non-urgent. Go through emails and voicemails and put them in the appropriate column. The urgent gets done right away for the next 30-60 minutes. Not after lunch, not later, but right then.
By now, it should be around 11am for most people. Use the next 30-60 minutes to call who you didn’t reach during the first round or to set appointments for the afternoon/next day.
When you return, back in sales mode for the next 2 hours. Only focus on selling.
The next hour, work the non urgent items.
It’s now around 3:30pm and back to production mode until normal closing hours.
Your day isn’t done. Stay an extra hour to wrap up any loose ends. Dont put it off until tomorrow. Do them and get them done.
This schedule won’t work for everyone but if you’re currently in “reactive mode”, this will make a massive difference.
You just took control of your day! You dedicated 6 hours of your day to being in production mode and 3 hours to service.
By showing up an hour early and staying an hour late, you just opened up 25% more time if you were only working 8 hour days. That’s an extra work day a week you just opened up. That’s 4 extra days a month and 48 extra days a year you created.
Once you control your day, you control your production.
This post originally ran on SmartFInancial.
Did you ever wonder what really successful agents do that other people don’t? Do you want to establish a set of new habits, especially as the new year approaches? We’ve rounded up the 12 habits that top insurance agents utilize to sell more policies and retain a loyal base of clients. We hope these tips will rub off on you, too!
Creating Daily Routine
The best insurance agents don’t wing it. They have a set schedule and they stick to it. You can’t just take calls in the middle of playing golf. You need to be writing emails and texts, making follow up calls, buying leads and forging new relationships while nurturing existing ones. That means setting some regular hours to work-related tasks. You can’t watch television hoping that the lead you called last week will call you back. Get back to your desk and make the call. Keeping regular office hours will keep you organized and busy.
Setting Self Assessment Meetings
Whether you do this weekly, biweekly or monthly, it has to be done. Check in with yourself to see how you’re doing in comparison with last month, last quarter and last year. The more metrics you use the better, because you’ll see more of the big picture. Measure everything, from your closing rate and website traffic to your ROI on the leads you bought from SmartFinancial. Aim for progress by replicating your successes. But also look at your failures. Can you reflect on why certain deals didn’t work out? Can you learn from your mistakes to improve sales next week and next month? The best insurance agents learn from failures and tweak their approach along the way.
The insurance industry is always shifting and changing. Good insurance agents follow the trends in order to succeed. Future trends inform agents about changes they should make agency-wide based on shifts in the market. But insurance isn’t the only thing the best insurance agents are learning about. The finance sector is something else to follow. Some agents even go on to become financial planners. The more you know about finance and insurance, the better you’ll be able to manage your clients’ policies.
Surrounding Yourself with Other Successful People
Success is truly contagious. They say that if you surround yourself with successful people, you’ll probably end up achieving more success yourself. If you surround yourself with couch potatoes, you probably won’t be as driven. It’s natural that we compete with those around us, even if our successful friends have vastly different careers. We try to keep up, and that is a good thing. It only makes sense that motivation is something we glean from those close to us, so make successful friends.
Giving Everything Your All
If you’re a people pleaser, you’ll do well in insurance sales. If you have a habit of trying to help people, you’ll gain the trust of prospects. A genuine desire to fix situations and prevent disasters will give you an edge on the competition because many agents are only out to make a commission. Prospects will sense your earnestness and gravitate towards you. The more thorough you are, the more likely you will retain your well-protected clients too.
Are you the agent who never answers the phone or do you pick up, even when you’re on another call? If you’re the latter, you’ll do a great job in making as much contact as possible and making every client feel like they matter. No one wants to be in business with someone whose gatekeepers keep them at an arm’s length at all times. You should be accessible to your clients and available to chat, even if it’s to set a later appointment. Answer all emails within 24 hours or much sooner when possible. If a client doesn’t feel like a priority, they will be more tempted to switch for a better price.
If you’re not in the habit of justifying the prices your carrier(s) charge for the insurance products you’re selling, you’ll have a hard time. The most successful agents touch upon value in their elevator pitch and set aside time later to express why their product is superior to cheaper ones out there. Explaining the claims process, albeit briefly, and explaining why it is important to go with a trusted carrier is essential.
Willingness to Fail
Do you put yourself out there even when the chances of succeeding seem slim? Then you’ll be great at talking to people who weren’t necessarily looking to switch or buy insurance. You have to be willing to risk failing by approaching people who are hesitant or don’t want to be bothered. You have to keep calling even when it’s not clear that you will have a sale with the prospect. You have to keep trying, be willing to fail and to get up and try again when you do. A failed sale may be a success as an ex-date at renewal! Build bridges, even when you don’t get exactly what you want.
Successful insurance agents are wizards at multitasking and juggling many clients at once. Your job is to form relationships, deep and lasting ones, if you want to retain customers. This means putting in the time. Just as you do with friends, you have to be there when things go wrong or if there are changes in a client’s circumstances. If your schedule doesn’t seem double-booked you’re not engaging your clients actively enough.
Mentorship and Delegation
The best agents have a knack at taking raw talent and polishing producers into great sales people. If you like to train young people on how to sell insurance, you can do so by buying shared leads in bulk. Delegating work is a must, especially if you hope to grow. You’ll want your business to be busting at the seams, and you’ll need help servicing all the policies you sell. The best insurance agents and business people know how to delegate responsibilities and mentor the right people into managerial positions.
The best trait in an insurance agent is persistence, the best habit is incessantly trying. A no really means not right now. Try again at renewal time. If you’re really persistent, you may even want to consider convincing the prospects that it’s not too late to change their minds. Keep pushing, even when people are not responsive. It often takes a while to get a lead to let his or her guard down. The more persistent you, the more likely you are to forge a relationship with this person, and that’s the first step towards success.
We’ve already covered how you need to constantly be checking in on existing clients, looking into discounts, writing emails all while nurturing leads. You’ll be making calls and having Zoom meetings, so you’ll be very busy and time management will be most important. There’s nothing worse than not calling when you say you will or not being at the Zoom meeting you set up! Of course, having a CRM that alerts you to when it’s time to follow up can be helpful. And that brings us to our final habit, using technology to your advantage. See below.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that spending one’s entire marketing budget on leads is not such a bad idea. Some agents have even found buying SmartFinancial leads to be more successful than past marketing campaigns of their own. Unless you’re capable of running digital marketing campaigns that will generate leads, you’ll have a hard time binding new business when people are not going out unless they have to. Their reliance on convenient methods of buying insurance, and just about anything, will carry over even when the pandemic is long gone. Using the right tools, having the right CRM to stay organized
While cold-calling is probably your least favorite part of being an insurance agent, if you're spending your hard-earned dollars on purchasing lists of leads, you dang well want to make sure you're doing all you can to turn those leads into clients. Sadly, in their haste to take the information on those lists and run with them, lots of agents make some very common mistakes that can leave many of those new leads wasted.
YOU'RE NOT CHECKING YOUR LIST TWICE
Not to get all Santa on you, but you need to check your list before you start reaching out. You need to verify that the leads on your list are real people. Lists are generically generated and can give you people who aren't qualified to speak to you, who aren't financially able to buy from you and who aren't interested in buying what you have to sell even if they were able to. Be sure that the list you have is filled with leads who have been specifically targeted to your audience.
YOU'RE NOT RESEARCHING YOUR LEADS
The quickest way to lose a lead is to ask a question that makes you look unprepared to speak with them. You can't always trust that leads are going to be perfect for your product until you've taken the time to get some background. Before making a call, make sure you can pronounce the lead's name. Nothing is worse than someone stammering over a name they can't pronounce and it's a dead giveaway that you're cold calling. Also, It's also extremely important to make sure you're asking questions that show you know the lead's background will make you appear prepared going in.
YOU'RE NOT WARMING YOUR LEAD UP
There's an art to cold-calling and a lot of agents aren't artists. No one wants to pick up a phone to an "aggressive" sales call. They. need to be eased into the pitch. Luckily for everyone involved, sales scripts are great for thoughtfully leading agents through calls so they don't hear a dial tone before the call even gets under way. There's plenty of great script software for agents to use. Do your research on which sales scripts would be best for you and start making calls the right way.
YOU'RE MAKING IT ABOUT YOU
Not to be rude, but your lead is a perfect stranger and they don't want to know your life's story. You can introduce yourself but then the focus needs to be on the lead and asking the right questions to keep them on the line. What is important to them? What problems or issues would they like to solve? Let them guide the conversation. Use the cold call as a way to learn more about your prospect rather than pushing your product.
YOU'RE NOT TAKING NO FOR AN ANSWER
No one likes to hear the word NO and learning how to respond to a NO on the other end of a cold call isn't always easy for some agents. If you're asked the right questions, you'll know whether or not your product is right for the lead you're speaking to. Sure, some objections can be overcome, but sometimes, you have to walk away gracefully and not push the lead to the point of no return. You always want to be able to return to a lead some day down the line and unless you deal with their rejection properly, there will be no hope for that.
Learning how to cold call properly can take some time. You have to refine your sales style to be able to work with different leads in different ways. Our general rule of thumb is to always picture yourself on the other end of the line and make sure you're not treating the lead in a way you wouldn't want to be treated if you were getting the same call. Give yourself time to learn how to finesse leads where you can or to walk away gracefully when it isn't meant to be.
This post originally ran on Insureon.com.
American recreational marijuana use has doubled in the last 10 years, according to a new study from Jama Psychiatry, as reported by CNN. Considering that 23 states allow medical marijuana use and four of those states permit recreational use, maybe that increase isn't as surprising as the study's authors would have you believe.
Any way you cut it, attitudes toward pot are changing, and the laws of the land are following suit. And that shift has some implications for the business insurance world, too.
1. Pot and product liability
So here's a first for the marijuana industry: LA Times reports that Brandan Flores, a medicinal pot user, is suing the Colorado grower LivWell Inc. for using the fungicide Eagle 20 on its pot products. The report states the fungicide contains myclobutanil, a nasty little chemical that produces hydrogen cyanide gas when burned – not ideal for those toking up.
This product liability case brings up a bevy of insurance issues: will insurance cover the lawsuit? And if so, what policy?
Insurers have had their eye on the pot industry for a while, but they've been slow to warm up to legal recreational marijuana. However, in states where recreational pot use is legal, it is possible to find specialized insurance for pot shops and growers. In fact, Insurance Journal reports that product liability insurance is required for all recreational operations in Washington and Colorado.
Product liability insurance, typically part of a general liability insurance policy, can address lawsuits over defective goods that harm customers. It may help pay for:
2. High risk in the office
Claims Journal reports that about 20 percent of surveyed small businesses are cool with their workers using medicinal marijuana at work, and 42 percent don't have a written policy that prohibits employees from being under the influence of marijuana at work.
But if your employees are allowed to use medical marijuana and are high at work, they could injure themselves. Workers' compensation insurance typically doesn't cover medical expenses for injuries that happen while an employee is under the influence, but that application gets tricky when medication is involved. As a general rule, if medicinal drug use was the proximate cause of an on-the-job injury, workers' comp benefits may not apply, according to a report by Business Insurance.
Whether or not your business allows employees to use marijuana in a medicinal capacity at work, be sure your company policy makes employees aware their use might affect their workers' comp benefits.
But what about weed used to treat occupational injuries? Does workers' comp cover that? Property Casualty 360 notes that most states require workers' compensation to cover treatment that is:
It reports that most insurance companies currently don't think medical marijuana is an effective treatment because it's not FDA-approved. However, that may not be true in all cases. For instance, pot used to stimulate an employee's appetite if they have work-related cancer might be a necessary part of treatment and covered by workers' comp. However, case law is still ironing out those details.
3. Stone(d) cold cyber liability
The pot industry has considerable cyber liability exposure, especially for medical marijuana dispensaries that follow a "wellness center" model. According to the Colorado Health Care Law Blog, these centers likely store patients’ protected health information (PHI) rather than simply checking their medical marijuana cards, so they can be held liable for HIPAA fines if patient-customer information is stolen or exposed.
Cyber liability insurance could be a smart investment for these businesses because it may cover the cost of:
Some policies offer coverage for regulatory fines that follow a breach, too, but that depends on the provider. Again, ask your insurance agent for the whole scoop on your policy so you know what it does and doesn't address.