This post originally ran on InsuranceForums.com.
The beginning of a new year is always a good time for reflection; both about lessons learned from the past, and about what the future will bring. In that spirit, Insurance Forums has collected some thoughts from around our community about the challenges currently facing producers, given the insurance industry climate at present. While everyone has felt the acute frustration of the uncertainty that PPACA has brought over the past year or so, producers are also addressing challenges accompanying new technologies, complex product development, and competition. After all, what better way is there to solve a problem than by first identifying it?
We can get this one out of the way right away. There have been technological glitches, a fluid and unclear role for agents, and an annual enrollment process that hasn’t even been straightforward to the people implementing it, among other issues. PPACA has proven to be the number one headache for producers, of late. The agent who can educate and service clients, despite this complex set of rules and standards, within the given tight time windows, might just be a superhero.
2. Pressure to Produce
A producer’s gotta eat, and that’s why there’s constant pressure to make the highest sale you can, at the most lucrative price. But producers know that the most valuable client relationships are established through trust, and making insurance sales based around products and services, not pricing. “Selling based on price is setting the stage for failure,” one agent told us.
3. Lack of Demand
While business development is a constant part of any enterprise, a lack of demand makes it a much less rewarding prospect. One producer wrote in that: “Increased costs of ‘affordable’ health insurance is making it hard for consumers to spend money on ‘luxury’ insurance like life and disability.” The insurance market is rapidly growing, which is generally positive for people in the industry. However, due to economic strains and a lack of client experience, potential clients may feel that investing in “non-essential” insurance services is beyond the capacity of their purse strings at the moment.
4. Exclusion from the Sales Process
Since almost everyone has realized that the internet is here to stay, companies large and small are experimenting with ways that they can create efficiencies in their systems through technology and the web. Internet-based sales processed by major carriers, directly to consumers, may end up excluding independent agents from personal lines sales. Further, consumers now have more information at their fingertips, and might conclude that they have adequate knowledge to make solo insurance purchasing decisions.
5. Overcoming Stereotypes
Agents and agent advisors noted that overcoming the stereotypes associated with the insurance industry can leave lingering frustration. One agent advisor commented, “If you don’t have something that will truly set you apart from every other agent out there, you won’t leave much of an impression. Fact is – we all know agents that are out to sell a product.” Like any sales professional, producers have to overcome the idea that they’re out to make a quick buck and profit off of an unsuspecting “victim.”
6. Product Commodification
Even though many insurance developments are living, changing, adaptable products, the market has become more and more commoditized. One agent summed it up best by saying, “Once insurance becomes a commodity, all products have the same perceived value, and now it becomes, ‘If it’s all the same, then why should I pay more for YOUR insurance?’” It’s also harder to differentiate with such a crowded market and so many players, if the benefits of product itself are taking a backseat.
7. Keeping Up With Diverse Communication and Marketing Channels
It can be hard to get your message out there – in fact, what with large carriers, paid advertising and SEO tricks, and lots of competition – great marketing can actually like a hopeless impossibility. The most tech-enabled agents are combatting this challenge through using social media, newsletters, and other creative forms of copy to strengthen their business development efforts.
If we say nothing else of 2020, we can surely all say that it tested our personal and professional limits across the board. Whether you were forced to conduct business at home, on the fly, or you were forced to restructure how your business ran altogether, we all found new and improved ways to adapt around these trying times.
Some would say, "This year has brought so many challenges. Why would I tempt fate and risk going out on my own now, of all times?" Others might say that in a year where so much is already changing, maybe it's the best time to really make a change. The answer to that question is going to be different for every agent based on a host of contributing factors. Whether you think striking while you're already in a state of transition from 2020 is a good idea or if you think it's smart to hold on until things stabilize for everyone, here are the things you need to consider.
DOLLAR BILLS, Y'ALL
Going independent and opening your own agency is the same as opening any other small business. Not only do you need capital going in to start your agency, you have to be prepared for your agency to take up to 2 years to begin making a profit. You'll also need to be prepared to invest the bulk of your time and energy into your new endeavor. This is often the main stumbling block for agents looking to branch out on their own. Things like financial stability and personal commitment to success are major factors that play into this decision.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
When deciding whether or not the time is right to forge a new future for you and yours, you've got to consider timing on more than one level. Certainly you'll have to look at your personal life. Do you have a family relying on you and how will this impact them? Are you solo but heavily in debt? Would it behoove you personally to wait a year or two? Or is the time absolutely right for you right now, and you may not have this shot again? You've also got to consider what's going on in your industry at the time of your new venture. Insurance is one industry that seems to have survived the clutches of 2020 but that doesn't automatically guarantee success for your new agency.
ACCESSIBILITY TO THE MARKET
This will be each agent's most serious hurdle when starting off on their own. You will need to research and decide what markets you need access to and how you'll go about getting access to them. Young agencies do tend to have a harder time gaining access to national carriers It has become extremely difficult for fledgling agencies to get direct access to the large national carriers due to the requirements they place on volume, so be prepared to get creative and find a way to make this happen.
HOW'S IT GOING TO WORK
This takes us back to dealing with the ins, outs and intricacies of the daily minutiae of running a business. What kind of overhead will you require? Will you need to hire staff, and if you do, do you have the capital to support them? If you aren't in a position to hire support, do you have the wealth of experience to juggle all aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, processing, service, and accounting? Deciding how to and who will run your agency requires lots of planning and consideration.
Branching out on your own is something that takes a great deal of thought, research, planning and preparation. Be sure to do your homework on your own financial stability and that of the market that you plan to support you. And most importantly, always be prepared to adapt to meet the needs of your own agency in whatever market you choose.
As agents or as professionals within the insurance industry, we know the importance of remaining compliant at all costs but you never know when a mistake will arise. Unfortunately, according to the law, negligence , whether it was intentional or accidental, falls on the fault of the agent. Period.
Here are some basics every agent and agency should know when it comes to negligence and trying to prevent it in your agency.
WHAT IS IT?
Insurance agent negligence is when your client believes that they're covered by a policy when they are not. Whether you mistakenly led the client to believe they were covered or if you simply weren't clear in your explanation of their coverage, you, as the agent, are still at fault. If your client makes a claim and is denied coverage, it can fall on the agent to compensate them for damages.
Your client is within the law to file a claim against you for the following:
• Failure to procure requested coverage
• Failure to obtain coverage
• Failure to properly advise clients of coverage
As with many things, the laws on agent negligence vary from state to state and are not nationwide. The specifics for agents are spelled out in more detail in each state’s codes or statutes, but there are many similarities across the board.
CAN CLIENTS SUE?
Yes. Your client can sue you if you're guilty of negligence and the client is able to prove any of the following:
• Duty - You had a duty to act or refrain from acting in a certain way
• Breach - You failed in your duty toward your client
• Causation - The breach of duty caused your client harm that you, the agent, should have foreseen
• Damages - Your client suffered actual damages (such as lost wages and medical expenses)
This is what agents must go above and beyond when it comes to compliance. The consequences to being sued by a client can be very serious. Not only could being sued cost you a lot of money, but it could also cost you your reputation and the reputation of your agency, however, the negative effects it could have on your client could be catastrophic. In a situation where your life and your client's life could both be very negatively affected by any potential wrongdoing, we strongly advise agents to be diligent when staying compliant.
HOW CAN I AVOID IT?
Staying on top of your everyday interactions and processes and making sure that all you do is done with great care and morality is our best advice. Mistakes and accidents can happen and whether or not the agent is aware at the time, the outcome would be the same. It's important to do your best to avoid that risk at all costs. Being 100% honest and fully transparent when explaining the details of your clients coverage is the best way to avoid this risk.
Although we're in a sales role as agents, making the sale can not be more important than doing your job properly and finding the best plan for your client. A good agent will be sure they've done their homework and exhausted all plans so they can offer their client the very best plan for them. Not doing so could be much more dangerous than losing a sale.
This post previously ran on ConfluencySolutions.com.
As a successful independent insurance agent, you're constantly asking yourself what you can do to attract new customers to your agency. The answer to this question obviously contains many different components, but when it comes to reaching out to your core market online, the most important tool you have is a professional looking insurance agency website that's easy to browse and encourages engagement.
Most insurance agents understand the importance of having a website, yet they're unsure about how it can be used to optimize their online presence and bring new clients to their book of business. When it comes to capturing the attention of the modern insurance customer, the quality and functionality of your web design matters.
This means that it might be time to take a close look at your insurance website and consider whether it's time for a redesign. Not sure where to begin in your assessment? Here are five signs that your insurance website design is due for an overhaul.
It Has Been a Couple of Years...
There's a lot that can happen in a couple of years, especially in the realm of all things technological. In the past couple years, we've seen major shifts in the way consumers prefer to engage with businesses online. If your website is more than 3-5 years old, there's a decent chance that you're not meeting your target audience's expectations.
A current website is also important for search engine optimization - which is the key that unlocks your online visibility. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to keep up with technology and user experience expectations. An older site, which hasn't been effectively optimized for search engines, is going to fall flat in terms of performance.
Your Website Isn't Mobile Responsive
Several years ago, you could count on the fact that most of your website visitors were coming to you through a desktop or laptop computer. Today, this isn't the case.
A growing number of mobile consumers are looking up your insurance agency for the first time from their smartphones - 57% of all internet traffic in 2018. The next time someone visits your website, they likely will be using a phone, laptop or tablet. These devices are used in different ways, with screens sizes and shapes that are completely unique from each other.
Your insurance website design should provide a seamless experience, no matter which device your visitor is using. Responsive design accomplishes this, and it's one of the most important trends in web design.
Mobile responsive design automatically scales your website to fit the device that your visitors are using. This includes adapting your website to be mobile friendly for the smartphone user. Without responsive design you risk losing the mobile consumer, even if they're already a loyal policy holder.
The solution for older websites often was to have two websites, a simple one for mobile and a more robust site for desktop. This solution no longer works as Google has begun indexing website pages only on mobile.
Your Website's Ability to Meet User Experience Expectations Is Outdated
User experience is a term that's used to describe the overall experience a person has when they visit your insurance website. This includes everything from quality of information and content you provide on your website to usability factors like simplified navigation and call to actions that make taking the next step easy.
The expectations of the digital consumer are notorious for changing quickly, and your website's ability to meet them tells potential customers a lot about your agency. Stop and consider that the majority of insurance customers do a fair amount of research online before they'll even consider contacting an agency directly. This means that your website is where the crucial first impression is going to be made.
If their experience fails to meet their expectations in any way, there's nothing to stop them from backing away and connecting with one of your competitors who has taken user experience into consideration in their web design.
Need for Speed
How fast your website loads is a major component of user experience, but it's important enough that it deserves to be mentioned separately. If your website is slow to load, especially on mobile devices, you're going to have a hard time capturing leads and converting them into policy holders.
Attention spans have changed in the digital age. There have been some reports that the average attention span has decreased to the point that it's shorter than that of a goldfish. We haven't tried to engage any goldfish in conversation lately, so whether or not this is accurate remains to be seen. What we do know is that internet users have minimal patience when it comes to waiting around for a website to load - especially when they're in search of specific information.
The magic number of how long your website can take to load before visitors start backing away in droves is 3 seconds. When someone is looking for information about insurance policies or for a quote, they're seeking information that any other agency could give them just as easily. If your website isn't meeting their need for speed, it's past the time for a redesign.
It's also worth mentioning that page load speed isn't just a user experience issue confined to human users, Google measures page load speed as part of the search engine algorithm. Web pages that load slowly are presumed to deliver a sub-optimal user experience by Google and will negatively affect search optimization (SEO).
Your Current Website Is a DIY Design
There are a number of popular DIY website builders out there that make it incredibly easy to piece together a site and get it published. Nobody is going to argue that using one of these platforms to get your foot into the digital door is a bad thing. However, many of these DIY builders offer little in terms of what you need to increase your agency's visibility online and encourage more traffic in your direction.
DIY builders offer small businesses and independent contracts with very minimal resources a starting ground. Once you've built up a little traction, it's important to look at the differences that a professional approach to insurance website design can do for your agency.
If you're like most of us, you take your work home with you at night in a regular 9-5 work landscape. Either physically taking calls and answering emails or ruminating about the work events of the day or professional things on the horizon. That's just work. We get wrapped up in it and it's hard to flip the switch at 5 pm, even for people who have that option. Throw in a forced quarantine pandemic with most people working FROM their homes and you have millions of people unable to detach because the lines between work and leisure are blurred.
These constant ties to work without a clear break can lead to stress, anxiety and depression making it crucial to have a healthy work-life balance so that your job AND your personal life don't suffer. If you're someone who has a hard time taking time away from your professional duties, here are some tips for you.
Obviously taking a vacation is number one on most people's lists of ways to get a break from work, but with the pandemic, most people are avoiding travel. That doesn't mean a getaway has to be out of the question.
If you and yours are "outdoorsy" and the weather permits, take a day trip or even a weekend camping trip to a nearby state or national park. If you're more of the indoor type, look into hotel deals in your area. It may not seem like a real getaway, but the change of scenery, the lack of cooking and cleaning and maybe even an indoor pool for the kids, can do wonders for your mental health.
If you're choosing to opt out of a typical extended, out-of-the-house vacation this year, there are plenty of ways to disconnect without going far. Setting up and sticking to a strict work/break timeline throughout the day can help. Commit to working for 50 minutes straight and then taking a 10 minute break whenever possible. Get up from the desk and move around. Take the dog for a walk. Maybe pop out of the house to run a quick errand. Even heading to a different room in the house where you can move around, get some blood flowing and put your mind on something else can give you a mental reset and make a big difference in your mood.
SET A WORK REWARD
This one might sound silly because we're adults and adults don't get rewards for doing what they're supposed to do, but we would argue that unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic and a dramatic shift in how people are doing their jobs would allow for a reward. There. We said you can do it, so you can do it.
If you feel that a daily reward such as catching a few more episodes of that show you've been binging, or a trip to Starbucks for a venti Frappuccino with extra caramel and whipped cream is out of the question, set yourself a weekly reward. Something like takeout from. your favorite place on Friday or ordering that new phone case you've had your eye on. Giving yourself something to look forward to, a little light at the end of the tunnel, can have a great positive effect on your mindset.
SET UP A PEACEFUL WORKSPACE
This seems like a small thing, but you'd be surprised how much more productive you can be when you're set up in an optimal work area. More importantly, making a workspace that's JUST FOR WORK means stepping away from work FOR REAL when you leave it. Don't work in your bed or on your couch since those places should be for relaxing and you don't want to associate them with work. If you're able to, make sure your daily chores are mostly done so that your mind won't be going to them throughout the day so that you won't be drawn from your work area until work is done.
We get that it seems backwards that creating distance between yourself and your work can help your work, it's true. If you find yourself stressed and in a state of constant work zone, you'll be amazed at the focus and motivation that a little break can bring. Taking care of yourself and your mental health will only benefit how you tackle your professional life.
We could argue that there's a difference between doing what you love and loving what you do. One thing we choose and the other we choose our attitude toward. You may not have grown up, gazing into the night sky and thinking of what it would be like to write homeowner insurance policies, but hey, some people are into weird stuff.
Most of the time we don't love something until we've done it and we can see how doing what we do makes us and makes others feel. I'm sure we've all had a job we didn't anticipate enjoying until we found out we did. Selling insurance is kind of like that. You don't expect to be continuously gratified by it until you start to do it and you see how it can help people and how that affects you, but in case you need a few other reminders...here they are.
PEOPLE NEED YOU
Say what you will about needy people, once they're gone you feel it. Any parent will tell you that they need a break because they're children are draining the life out of them, but as soon as their kids head off on the bus to Kindergarten, they're just a weeping pile of mess. This is because being needed is an exceptional feeling.
The average person simply isn't aware of the ins and outs of insurance and how it works. They need someone trustworthy to guide them. As an agent, you are their confidant and they're refuge in times of real trouble. This should make going to work something very special for you.
YOU GET AROUND - IN A GOOD WAY
Some people go to work and they sit in an office with the same 3 people for 40 hours every week. This, as you may have experienced in a previous career, can be soul-sucking unless you hit the lottery and land with 3 stimulating, non-irritating people who don't microwave fish for lunch.
Selling insurance means you're hosting meetings, having lunches, networking and hearing new stories all the time. When a new client comes to you, you're getting an inside glimpse into their life and the opportunity to make a difference in it. This is a luxury not afforded to everyone in every job.
When you're able to provide a client with the perfect product that gives them and their family security and peace of mind, there's a sense of fulfillment you don't get in every field of work. You're representing your client's best interests because you're not just selling a product. You're selling protection for the people and the things they treasure most.
FREEDOM AND FLEXIBILITY
Working in insurance likely means that you're able to set your own schedule. This is a deal-breaker for a lot of people. You're not bound to a set schedule as long as you're hitting your goals and making steady progress. This means, as an insurance agent, you have time to actually have a life while you're making a living.
The best thing about having a career in insurance is that it challenges most agents. There's always a new problem for you to bring solutions to and when you deliver that solution, the reward is unmatched. If you're in insurance, remember this each day and be thankful that you're in a job you love.
This post originally ran on CombinedInsurance.com.
Selling supplemental insurance is really selling “peace of mind.” Making money is great—think uncapped income!—but the work is first and foremost about helping people protect their livelihood in the case of the unexpected. In fact, that’s why most agents get into the business. They understand the impact an accident, injury or serious illness can have on a family’s budget—and providing customers with the coverage for “just in case” feels good. And the fact that it earns them an uncapped income? Well, that’s great too!
1. POSITIVE ATTITUDE
We call this PMA: Positive Mental Attitude. PMA is a concept developed by Combined’s founder, W. Clement Stone, and it’s central to the company’s sales system-and corporate culture too. That’s because having a smile on your face and a can-do spirit can help an agent push through the fear of failure and focus on the potential to make a difference in someone’s life.
While no one wants to hear “no” from a would-be customer, it’s just one of the many obstacles faced in the day in the life of a sales agent. A positive attitude is needed to overcome adversity—and it works. And besides, who wants to work with an agent who’s surly and negative?
Insurance agents work with both internal and external customers every single day. From helping a sales prospect assess their risks to getting answers from a company underwriter, they’re wearing multiple hats—and communicating constantly! Having a naturally personable disposition is great, but it’s also essential to have effective listening skills and a “way with words.”
Part of the communications competency involves teamwork, too, because of the collaborative nature of insurance sales. Insurance agents are the hub of the sales process and have to manage several different pieces and keep everyone informed along the way. Thoughtful, timely and results-oriented communications help keep things running smoothly.
3. CUSTOMER SERVICE
Helping people, listening, creatively solving problems…that’s customer service! It takes more than building rapport, though. It takes putting the customer’s needs first and taking whatever time and energy is needed to ensure customers understand their options as well as feel comfortable with the sales process.
And it takes using their expert knowledge to do what’s right for the people who trust them to help meet their goals—even if that means recommending products or sharing information the client doesn’t expect, like “based on your present income, you really should consider more coverage than that” or “unfortunately, you don’t qualify for plan ABC, but here’s an alternative.” As such, an agent with great customer service skills is honest, professional and attentive, always making sure their customers are satisfied.
4. QUICK LEARNING
Consider the range of products a supplemental insurance agent needs to know (everything) about. Accident plans, sickness plans, disability plans, cancer and critical illness plans…plans that meet different needs for different reasons for different people. And plans that frequently evolve! Agents need to have a deep understanding of how the products work in order to best present the most suitable product to a particular potential policyholder. They also need to be familiar with how the application and underwriting processes work, how the plans are administered and what they can do to help troubleshoot and solve customer concerns.
And agents get up and running quickly! A new agent needs to learn “all of the above” while a seasoned agent needs to stay up to date and be always ready for change. This requires a student mentality, an eagerness to learn and the flexibility to try new sales tactics, usually while out in the field and on-the-go!
5. PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE
Anyone working in a sales career knows that these two qualities go hand-and-hand. Some customers are an “easy sell:” they come to the table knowing what they want and they’re ready to buy. Other customers need some convincing; maybe they know they need coverage but they’re not sure if “now” is the best time. Successful insurance agents respect that customers often need a certain amount of time, space and support in order to make an informed decision. They know how to guide (not push!) customers through the process so at the end of the day, if it’s right for the client, they eventually make the sale.
As we round the final stretch of the year and begin to button things up in 2020, many agents and agencies are beginning to focus on their goals for next year. Most of us, exhausted from riding the roller coaster of 2020 and likely realizing our own abilities to pivot and produce anyway, are probably saying that we're prepared for anything that comes our way in 2021.
While our newfound adaptability is one bright spot from 2020, it's nothing that any of us should be relying on going into the new year. In fact, if it has taught us anything, it is that agency preparedness and realistic goal setting are two important factors in next year's success. Here are a few tips that should help you plan ahead.
DETERMINE YOUR OVERALL BUSINESS GOAL
You'll want to start this process by determining what youth overall business goal for yourself or your agency will be for the coming year. This is a great way for all of the additional goals you set for yourself to stay in line under one main umbrella.
You'll want to consider how many clients you'll aim to serve, the amount of policies you'd like to write and/or a percentage of revenue growth from the previous year. You can also set goals around creating new positions, hiring and bringing on new products.
Be sure to look at the past few years and determine what is a reasonable goal to set for yourself. You're also going to want to keep in mind any competitor business and how those are faring as well.
DETERMINE YOUR SALES GOALS
Your sales goal is next and while it seems like your sales goal should be your main goal, there are a lot of other factors that go into it, which is why it should be treated as its own entity. Sales goals can be broken out into weekly, quarterly or seasonal goals and should then be tracked or monitored accordingly.
Some agents find that organizing goals out by product, service or new/returning customer works best for them, but ultimately that's for each person or agency to decide for themselves.
Be sure to keep your sales goals within the realm of possibility. OF course we all want to shoot for the stars, but setting a goal that's far too lofty can be terrible for morale.
SET MARKETING GOALS
With social media, more agents than ever have begun taking on their own marketing services, or at least have a hand in them. If you're used to marketing through old channels like newspaper ads or word-of-mouth referrals, you've got to be sure you're prepared to market in the social world. There's a lot more opportunity for agents to discover online.
Setting goals in terms of expanding your audience or finding new ways of generating online is a great motivator for agents. Whether you're looking to work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Youtube, make sure you're getting in the game and finding new ways to integrate them into your sales plans to help you hit your goal.
SET GOALS OF OPERATION
This tends to be an area that gets left out in the planning process. Operations are the heart and soul of your agency. They include the strategies and processes that affect your customer experience and the consistency of service you and your agency provide.
Make sure that there is a solid understanding of what's expected in terms of time management, administrative processes and duties and the daily execution of those things from the people on your team. These things slip through the cracks because they aren't thought of as big ticket concerns, when in reality they can have a massive impact on your business.
Ultimately everyone in your office wants to look ahead to a successful year. Taking these steps to plan out and detail what you're striving for and being up front about how you plan to get there is the best way to hit your mark.
As an insurance agent, it's likely that you're in and out of meetings all the time. When you're bouncing around from one meeting to another, it's easy to start to shed some of your finesse for the sake of time and energy. While it may not be easy, It's important to treat each client conversation with the right attitude and preparation to get the most out of it. So whether those meetings are in person, over the phone or via Zoom as has been the case for the last 10 months for most, you want to make sure that you're prepared for success going in.
When you consider the opportunities that a one-on-one meeting offers an agent in terms of finding ways to add value and cross-selling to a client or prospect, you've got to go in ready to learn everything you can and find ways to build trust and create a solution for your client's needs. Here are some ways to get yourself ready.
SEND MEETING REMINDERS
This seems like a no-brainer but if it gets missed and there's agent/client confusion on time and meeting location, you've already started off on the wrong foot. Always assume that your client's time is equally, if not more, important than your own so youR first step should be making sure all is in line for the meeting to get off without a hitch. Remind clients, prospects and staff members when and where the meeting is and what they need to bring to it (if anything).
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
If you're going into a meeting blindly without doing your research on your client, you're adding time and struggle to the meeting. Prepare yourself by going over prospect referrals and checking in on current client status before the call takes place. This way you're already aware of the client's needs going in and the ball is already rolling by the time you meet.
OPEN EARS, CLOSED MOUTHS, CAN'T LOSE
This is selling 101. The more you listen to your client and absorb what they're telling you, the greater your chance will be to create an offer that will specifically meet their needs. Ask the right questions and take notes, only offering useful advice or comments when it's necessary. This will also show the client that you're there to focus on THEM and how to help them, not to make a sale.
HAVE YOUR YOU-KNOW-WHAT TOGETHER
If you're bringing any kind of marketing materials, sales documents or forms to be signed, make sure that everything is tightly organized and good quality before you present it to your client or prospect. Pulling a wad of crumpled papers with old receipts and gum wrappers out of your briefcase while your client looks on is NOT a good look.
HAVE "THE TALK"
By this point in your meeting, you should have gleaned enough information from your research and your conversation to respond thoughtfully to what your client has told you. Most agents are equipped with a decent level of sales training. Some of that training should include how to have a proper conversation with a client. If your agency has scripts available to use before you're comfortable with "free-styling" on your own, definitely take advantage of them because there are definitely wrong and right ways to conduct sales conversations.
AFTER YOU'VE WRAPPED
After this all that's left is to wrap it up. Once you've finished your meeting it's IMPERATIVE to follow up. This is something that many agents overlook and it's a huge missed opportunity. Never assume that your client is going to reach out to you. Be sure to have strategies in place to touch base with your client or prospect to go over the meeting and offer your assistance again.
Meetings can become old-hat after you've been selling for a long time but it's important to treat each one like a unique experience since each client will present you with unique opportunities. By following these steps, you should be well on your way to making a sale and creating a client/agent relationship that will last.
Being BUSY is the theme of the holiday season. You're busy. Your clients are busy. Santa and his elves are busy. Still, the holidays are ripe with opportunities for creating fun content and connecting with clients over social media so you and your agency would be smart to make some time to capitalize on some of those opportunities.
The term "creating content" makes most non-content creators very uneasy. They worry that they need high tech audio visual equipment or that they need to focus on back end analytics to get the most out of their content and it couldn't be further from the truth. Social media has made it easier than ever to make fun videos and posts that are simple to make and sure to engage your clients
CREATE A HOLIDAY VIDEO
We've all seen tons of viral videos made by businesses over the years. Videos are easy to make straight from a phone and can be uploaded to social media feeds quickly. We're not saying that your aim should be to get 1 million views, but a video is a great chance to get creative and show your agency's personality. Whether it be something funny like a parody of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" or your agents dressed as reindeer with someone at the helm dressed as Santa, clients love seeing a business that isn't afraid to show their personality.
CREATE A THEMED SERIES OF POSTS
Carefully thought-out themed posts are a great way to get clients responding on social media, especially this time of year. Posts can be serious in nature, like a weekly highlight of a local charity and how your clients and followers can help. Or posts can be nostalgic by having staff members highlight their favorite Christmas memory and asking followers to share their own in the comments. Posts can be silly too! You can run polls on your page by asking different holiday-themed questions to see what people submit for answers, like "Who would win in a fight? SANTA OR FROSTY?"
CREATE POSTS FEATURING STAFF CHRISTMAS LISTS
You can choose a staff member to list their holiday wish lists or favorite holiday gifts and ask clients to post what they're hoping to find under the tree. This leads to other, longer post topics like having staff members write about "The Best Gift You Ever Gave Or Received" or creating lists like "The Best Gifts For Moms and Dads" as chosen by your staff.
STAFF HOLIDAY MOVIE PICKS
You'll quickly find that people like to weigh in as soon as you or someone in your staff calls something "THE BEST". Everyone has their favorite holiday movie tied to their own memories of growing up and they're usually passionate about it! Having each staff member pick and highlight their favorite holiday movie and why will create buzz in the comments and lead to some lively conversation.
These are just a few ways to get some funny and creative out there and to stay in touch with clients over the next few weeks. Only you know what your clients will respond to best. Put some thought into it and don't let your feeds go silent because you're overwhelmed with the rest of the holiday rush or you could be missing out on key opportunities for making great content.