There is an epidemic amongst the insurance agent community
An inability to really do well with social media. And it is really so easy if you know how.
Stay with me.
As the hosts of Insurance Soup, we see a TREMENDOUS amount of insurance agent activity on social media. With 30,000 in our free group, 4000 people on both our friends lists being agents, 4600 Agents on my Linkedin contact list, 8000 in our Linkedin group, and a horde of Twitter followers, our social media basically looks like it should be called LinkedInsurance or FaceBookofbusiness.
That said our news feeds are really bombarded with the messages Agents try and leverage to motivate and mobilize their audiences into doing business.
Here are 7 of the larger problems we see on the social platforms on a regular basis.
#1 – Lack of authenticity or fear of acceptance
This is problem numero uno for most Agents. The fear of being disliked online. Agents are so afraid that they are going to do or say the wrong thing that they wind up either staying very vanilla and opinion free OR do not really post at all and simply lurk and watch.
Understandable that you would want to keep your audience happy. But social media is a revolving door and you have the ability to build and craft an audience that falls right in line with all the things you are about.
Afraid that you have drastically different views than most of your audience but have a hobby or interest that you absolutely love? Use your platform to speak on that hobby or interest and join communities of like minded people and begin adding friends.
You are able to create an audience online that mirrors who you are… you do not need to try and mirror what you think your audience is comprised of. If you are trying to mirror your friends list you are doing it wrong. Your friends list should mirror who you are as a person and the audience is easy to build as most people at this point are open to new friend requests particularly if there are things or people in common.
#2 – Lack of original thought and content
This is an issue on multiple levels.
The first one really grinds my gears and I’ve addressed it in Insurance Soup.
Every now and then an Agent will have a tremendously powerful post. Perhaps theyre sharing a story or just driving an idea home in a way that just makes sense.
Its obviously an attempt at marketing to anyone within the industry. To a casual friend or contact it reads as a wake up call or reminder of something they need to take care of. People begin to show interest based on the post....
And then it happens.
A Rogue Agent will hop in the comments and comment “Stealing This!!” as an attempt to compliment the original poster. And the post comes to a screeching halt as future readers now look at the post skeptically and like the Agent was fishing for business and not sharing something thought worthy.
On the flip side, when Agents actually DO steal content or posts only to learn that oh it didn’t work with my audience.
Now normally these posts are the silly, off the wall, random posts and not the insurance related ones. These posts are to build edgerank.
Edgerank, if you are not familiar, is the momentum you have on the Facebook platform based on how much engagement and interaction you have. The more often someone interacts with you the more often they see your posts.
Low hanging fruit edgerank posts are not universal skeleton keys.
Think about it.
I am 40 and live in a liberal, white collar, upper middle class suburb. Do you really think that something my audience finds funny is going to be the same as yours if you are 25 and living in a conservative lower income blue collar rural area?
We are not the same. Travel the country a little. We live in different worlds. Different species of humans practically.
Utilize your noggin and put out your own stuff. Attract like minded people. Let people know who you are and what youre about. It goes far in building the know, like, and trust factor that most consumers are seeking.
#3 – Locking down their profile
Agents who do this make me scratch my head. I get it. You want privacy. You want to keep strangers away.
But you are also a business owner, an entrepreneur, and whether you like it or not, in a social industry that is forged with RELATIONSHIPS.
If you are on social media and trying to uncover opportunity and people come across you and your profile is locked down?
They aint going to work that hard to figure out how to get in touch with you.
We have tremendous capabilities to manage privacy on social platforms. Hell I have custom audiences for posts I do not want my family to see, posts I do not want Agents to see, posts I do not want anyone outside of XYZ circle to see…
Locking down your profile so no one can message you or send you a friend request is the quickest way to detur anyone from ever reaching out.
And yes ladies, I do know that you are bombarded with bullshit. You are solicited for dates, sent dick pics, and asked to do some really odd stuff by the creepers of the internet.
Unfortunately it is just part of what you signed up for if youre in the business and attempting to use social media for business.
Learn to love your block feature. Hell host a block party. Just do not avoid conversations online because some of them may ask for your hand in marriage if you would only move to Nairobi. I know I am writing about it more cavalier than how intrusive and offensive some of these requests and pictures you receive may be... but it is something that you just need to get past and understand that until society evolves a bit more its just a stupid thing you have to deal with that you do not like.
Simply eliminate those you do not like in your social sphere once you know who they are. Do not keep everyone at a distance out of fear of the occasional boogey man that you have the power to make disappear.
#4 Insulting Their Audience
This always perplexes me.
La-a (pronounced Ladasha), in a moment of frustration, throws out a post that is either a well-intended rant or a jab at something they just saw online.
Sure we can joke about it in Insurance Soup all we want. Its an industry water cooler. We all know the struggle and we are all fighting the good fight. A rant or jab at the consumers in a safe haven amongst friends in the trust tree.
But when it is done with your AUDIENCE?
It looks poor.
GO FUND ME IS NOT LIFE INSURANCE!
Think about that for a moment.
Youre just casually going through your newsfeed as a member of the public. And there it is.
GO FUND ME IS NOT LIFE INSURANCE.
Was not really sure what that was about but the insurance guy on my Facebook just yelled for some reasn.
Now imagine it if you are currently dealing with a loss and have a gofundme going.
That asshole just insulted me. Not going to work with him.
Even worse are the Agents who go on a rant about how irresponsible people are.
Will you get business from it? Will I get a comment on this blog post telling me that they yelled at people and got a policy from it?
A broken clock is right two times a day. That doesn’t mean it tells the time.
People like to feel good about the decisions they make and they like to feel smart and intelligent.
Guide and educate. Tell stories. But never insult someone that would buy easier if you were to make them feel good about taking the steps necessary to fix a problem then berating them for having the problem.
#5 – ALWAYS POSTS ABOUT INSURANCE
You know this Agent.
The only thing they talk about on social media is Insurance. How much money they saved someone. How many appointments they have today. Rates just went down. Im at BNI.
No one cares.
Don’t believe me?
Then look at your engagement. Conversation over.
#6 NEVER POSTS ABOUT INSURANCE
The opposite end of the spectrum.
One out of every 5-10 posts SHOULD be career focused.
The audience needs a reminder of what you do and if done correct will prompt many a quote request over the years.
Keep it light and fun. Tell stories about what happened at work or with a Policy Holder.
When you NEVER talk about your career on social media no one knows what you do… and that is just as big a problem as when you talk about it TOO much.
Do not make announcements about how much money you saved a fictional new client. People can not envision that. Tell stories about what the savings is doing for the new family. Tell stories about how you helped someone plan for the future or clean up a mess from the past.
“I just saved a man $116 a month on their car insurance! Whos next!” is not a real strategy.
It also attracts price shoppers. Our favorite clients.
#7 – The Group Spammer
You know this Agent. Hell maybe you ARE this Agent. Hopefully not.
Theyre a part of 217 groups… and once a day your notifications go off and you get all excited that there’s some new stuff to check out… only to find out Cletus is at it again posting the same post in 19 places the last 74 seconds.
Not only does Cletus get kicked out of several groups every single day that are ripe for the picking if he just knew how to navigate… but the ones he is NOT kicked out of are definitely not paying an ounce of attention to anyone that just walks into a group, screams something, and leaves.
Could you imagine doing this anywhere else?
Walk into your BNI next week and just yell that you’ve got some great insurance rates and helped one of their neighbors earlier today and walk out.
Go back to your office.
Report to me at the end of the day how many people did business with you from your announcement at BNI.
You need to get involved in your local community groups and be a resource. Honestly, we advise you go a step further and start your own community group and be THE resource.
What other things do you see Agents doing wrong on social media?
Chime in the comments section and let’s all work together to help one another not make big mistakes while navigating the social media jungle
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On to the show.
With the dawn of a new year and a new decade we are bound to see some pretty big changes in our industry the next 10 years or so.
I decided to whip out my crystal balls and make a few predictions for the decade to come… so here is my list of 7 things to expect in the insurance industry in the 2020's
1 – We are going to see a LOT of large, established companies from outside the industry join the fray.
We already know that Amazon is pushing into the market. Exploring both home and auto insurance, and a new emerging health insurance plan called Haven; it is evident that this is a space Amazon is interested in… but who else is thinking about jumping in the pool?
Well Walmart has jumped into the Health Insurance space partnering with Directhealth.com to bring plans to market.. and while already owning one of the country’s largest pharmacies
CVS and Walgreens already offer small-scale clinics in some retail locations and both have plans to expand those services.
Costco is already selling auto and home through Ameriprise.
With all these mega box and online retailers pushing into the industry and consumers looking for easy experiences and transparency do not be surprised if in the future you will be asked by your cashier at Walmart if you would like to put next month’s insurance premium on your card at the point of sale.
How will all of this impact the local Agent at the Agency level?
2 – The Rise of Data
Data has become a tremendously useful tool in calculating rates throughout the history of our industry but never has it been so abundant. Carriers large and small are all beginning to look at tons of data points that barely or did not even exist just 10 years ago. While your MVR, CLUE, credit report, and zip code may all have played factors in the past…. The future will consist of models that incorporate data received from smartphones, telematics, drone data, video monitoring, and more.
That data will affect underwriting in ways that are currently not easy to predict but many of the newer data points being studied show far more accuracy to pricing a risk than older models.
But the future of data is not simply in underwriting – There are programs in development already that are able to study algorithms on a mass scale to predict the future needs of your clients and when they are most likely to actually want those needs….
Imagine getting a notification that 5 people in your book are probably at the right stage to buy life insurance because they just turned 40, make over $100k a year, have a large mortgage balance, are the primary wage earner, and have a 13-16 year old child who will be starting college within the next 5 years.
3 – Self driving cars
Now I am not sure to what extent this will impact the roads by the end of the decade but my prediction is that the self-driving car will be relevant and on the rise by the end of the 20s. They will be available to the public but probably still very expensive.
It brings about a ton of questions as to how to insure, though. How can you be held responsible for an accident that occurred while you were not driving?
Does the liability fall back on the manufacturer?
Does the cost roll back into the sale of the car? Does it reflect in loan payments?
With new cars all coming equipped with WIFI and the manufacturers already able to run diagnostics on most newer cars virtually, will there be a “big brother” element that is introduced at a higher level than the consumers perceived intrusion of privacy of telematics that allows insurance companies to get a true idea of how everyone is driving whether they like it or not? The data already exists and the manufacturers have access to it.
Could it lead to a significant reduction in consumer auto insurance premium and if so how do Agents make up for this loss of income in their business?
There have been bold predictions claiming that cars of the future may not even be able to go over the speed limits as the car will not accelerate faster than the limit.
Self driving cars have implications far and wide in our world.
4 – Smart Homes
Smart homes are on the rise and the number of things your smart home can “do” to protect your home will only continue to increase. Imagine a pipe busting in your home and your house knowing to shut the water lines off. Imagine a fire breaking out in your home while you sleep and the house notifying the fire department at the same time your fire alarm wakes you up out of a dead sleep. Considering a small fire can double in size every 30 seconds that extra 3 minutes can keep the fire from becoming 4-6x as big a problem to put out... while saving that much more of the structure from peril.
5 – Weird new product types
With the rise of the digital age and there being so many industries that operate digital and virtual there will be a significant need for new products. Interesting and weird stat – 2 out of 3 kids growing up today will find careers in fields that do not even exist yet. One of the more interesting policies I uncovered while researching this article is from a company called Insurninja –
What does Insurninja cover? Virtual video game profiles and characters. With the amount of time, resources, and money many gamers put into building their stats online the losses have true real-world impact on financial stability and have become an all new coverage type that did not exist a short time ago. Ridiculous? You may think so but don’t go telling Chad. He’s got Deathknight all the way up to level 62 and it has taken him 3 years…..
6 – The rise of Insurtech allowing smaller carriers to compete better with the larger carriers.
While I have always believed that the captive model is being eroded every day simply by the amount of information available to Agents on social media these days.. the independent agent is becoming more and more agile and competitive every single day with the advances in technology that they have access to that the captive agent is not allowed to use.
As more Insurtech companies get their footings and deliver impactful services to the “small guy” expect the smaller carriers and independent agents to be able to deliver on many of the things that the large carriers are either doing extremely well right now that small agents are not… or to outperform the giants in niches that render large carriers irrelevant
Open APIs allowing technology and software owned by different vendors to communicate with one another will only expedite the closing of the gap as one of the largest problems facing independent agents and smaller carriers is getting all their systems to sync up and talk to one another. The mere elimination of manual data entry from one software or service to another is enough to provide smaller companies a nice amount of
Many smaller carriers and independent agents do not have the ability to provide some of the easier communication access points that the big boys all have standard but with automation, chatbots, a rising comfort in Virtual Assistants, and a reduction in cost around app creation, and the rise of social media… smaller carriers and independent agents are able to provide the same types and levels of service across the same communication channels as the big boys with ease.
7 - The Decline of the Captive Model
Now I am not going to be so bold as to say it is going extinct. But the reality is as the world continues to get smaller and Agents continue to have access to more and more research, peers, and information the migration will continue to pick up speed.
Many of the captive carriers such as Allstate have expanded their offerings to now let independents sell their policies while others like Nationwide will be out of the captive game by July of this year. Farmers seems to be consolidating in many areas of the country as well with District Managers all making their way to the unemployment lines and Agents that miss their production numbers by the slimmest of margins being told to kick rocks and close up their Agencies.
Compound that with the smarter, savvier consumer who is able to do more research and pursue the type of experience they want out of their insurance and the cookie cutter, one product fits all, one culture fits all captive model will continue to struggle until they evolve.
That is not to say these companies will go away. My prediction is quite the opposite. As more and more enter the independent model system I predict that many of these companies will thrive more than ever before.
As a captive not being able to place turndowns anywhere means letting good business walk. Having a home for them while they fit the larger carriers mold a little better can keep clients unhappy with a carrier in house with an Agent until it is a good time for them to return.
8 – Health Insurance will remain a hot button topic with no clear path solution.
That’s all I am going to say about that to keep the comments section clean.
What kind of predictions do you have for the next 10 years in our great industry?
Weigh in below!
Also, if you haven’t already done so… get in Insurance Soup would you? We need your experience and your insight…. And with 30,000 of us already very active and talking shop… there’s a good chance you may need one of us, too.
Do you remember all the mistakes you made as a new Agency owner and entrepreneur?
The 30,000 Agents in INSURANCE SOUP – the FREE Facebook group for Agents, Brokers, and Team Members remember a lot of theirs.
I sure as hell do. I made a TON of them as I am sure you did or are currently doing now.
When I got my Agency I came from outside the industry.
I was trained to do the job. If I am being totally honest with myself I probably did not take the training as seriously as I should have. Opened my doors with a lot of questions and far fewer answers.
My employees were fresh faced kids out of college in need of training, guidance, mentoring, coaching, and more.
I decided that the inexperienced route was a good one to take as I was starting with a fresh slate and bringing zero bad habits to the Agency.
Well not having ANYONE besides myself capable of doing anything self sufficiently I quickly became overwhelmed. How was I supposed to train and manage 3 people at once while also selling, networking, marketing, and budgeting the business?
Then it dawned on me – I needed someone experienced. One of my employees made a quick move from my shop and left me with a hole to plug… but at the same time helped me avoid not having to fire her as she did not take the role seriously.
Hitting the online classifieds I began pulling resumes of people looking for work that were both experienced in the industry and experienced with my carrier.
And then she appeared. Almost out of thin air. An angel from heaven. Was she there to save me?
A VERY experienced team member with over 12 years experience with the carrier I represented with a whole brag book of production numbers that would make any new business owner a little hot and bothered.
We didn’t click great during the interview but wow was she impressive. Something felt off. Just a gut feeling... but she knew the products, systems, technology – could slide right in and help us start making moves.
I made the decision to not only bring her in but to have her come on right out the gates as the office manager.
Her very first day she closed 4 households herself. I think we only had a couple days where we closed 4 households in a day as an OFFICE to that point
The days turned into a couple of weeks and we were humming along.
Sales were picking up and this woman was as advertised.
And then it happened.
Out of nowhere one of my other original employees called one morning and quit out of the blue.
I started the hiring process again.
My Rockstar began referring people she knew in the district that she knew weren’t happy in their Agencies that were also, according to her, rockstars.
During the month that I was hiring again the chemistry and feel in the office began to change.
My Rockstar was becoming very confident in the office. Almost too confident.
I think she picked up on my ignorance to a lot of the systems and products and knew she had the office by the neck.
She began becoming very authoritative and disrespectful. Began making jokes in front of my other employee about how much she knew compared to me. How SHE should be the Agent.
She started pushing my other employee around. She was outperforming him by quite a bit and knew way more than him too. Somehow he began to migrate from being a sales person to being this womans office lackey.
She would tell him to pick up the phones, get her faxes off the machine, would have him go grab her coffee… she deferred all her service work to him as “the office needed her to keep selling”
A couple of weeks later my other original employee quit. I learned a few days after he left that he couldn’t handle working with this “Rockstar” that was in his way and preventing his growth.
Something I should have picked up on but didn’t because I was turning a blind eye to it all because… well… production.
NOW…. NOW??? It was just ME… and the “Rockstar” that now had my Agency in a vice.
I quickly hired 2 new people. Probably too quickly. But as we trained the two of them it became even more evident.
With each snide comment about her abilities or joke about my lack of experience she was undermining my authority as the Agent and owner.
The two new employees got trained up and hit the floor but neither of them seemed too happy, excited, or driven.
They were not the people I interviewed.
I allowed the Rockstar to continue to perpetuate the poor environment because she was producing.
The new employees? They were not producing much. Did they suck?
All the while my emboldened Rockstar now began acting like she was my confidant and telling me about conversations that were taking place when I was not there or in my office.
I was not a big fan of the woman but she was keeping me in the loop on things I was unaware of and needed to know.
I decided at that point to begin circumventing my Rockstar and communicating directly with my other employees significantly more frequently.
They both told me they felt stifled and like this “Rockstar” was preventing them from really taking off.
She took more of the leads than the other two and I didn’t say boo about it. She was a closer.
But these new staff members needed reps… they needed confidence… they needed to know I had their back.
I redesigned my lead distribution to be equitable and wouldn’t you know it?
My noobs numbers started to rise and they were more upbeat, fun, and confident in the office.
My Rockstar was still in my ear about everything ugly she “heard” in the office and it was really starting to grind on me.
Then one day one of my other employees asked if he could talk privately with me. Of course I said yes and we headed into my office.
I learned that EVERY time I was not within earshot I was being crapped on by my Rockstar.
The same types of stuff she was telling me my staff were saying and doing… or not doing…
They were being told the exact same things about me… and none of it added up to them as they knew me very differently than she sold me.
I was furious – my “Rockstar” had been disrupting the whole office regardless of who I had there and was manipulating people to constantly be at odds or distrustful of one another.
But what the heck was I supposed to do? This woman was closing 40 households a month while my other 2 were each closing 10-15 a month.
I couldn’t afford to lose that kind of production. It would cream me and I was trying to earn a contract…
After some soul searching I decided to take my chances. I called her into my office and let her know I was aware of a lot of things that were being said behind my back and of a lot of things I was told that according to my other employees were never done or said….
She started getting very smart with me in what was originally a very calm conversation.
I fired her on the spot.
I went home that day scared. Very scared. I just lost 50-55% of my production with that move and had a couple of people who couldn’t even cover their seat.
They assured me they would step up and everything would be fine. That the Rockstar was the problem and things were going to get better.
I struggled to believe them but had no choice. I decided to not hire to replace right away as I needed a break from personalities and wanted to give the new kids a chance to shine.
Out of nowhere both my producers went from being 10-15 household producers a month to BOTH close 35-40 households EACH a month about 60 days later.
My Rockstar was completely replaced and my office was now doing the exact same numbers with $3500 a month less in payroll.
The victory was unexpected but tremendous.
Addition by subtraction.
Removing the Rockstar from my office saved me money, gave my noobs the confidence they needed to step up, and totally changed the culture of my office day to day.
From that moment on I decided a toxic employee had no home with me regardless of their talent level and from that day forward I have removed anyone that I have even suspected of being remotely cancerous to my culture and never look back.
Things continued to get better and better from there and my first year wound up being a million dollar premium year despite the first quarter being a pretty big disaster.
If you are holding on to a toxic Rockstar out of fear you need to cut them loose.
The damage theyre doing to your culture and other employees is immense and at best they are dealing with it and at worse they are underperforming due to it.
Cut the toxic staff from your Agency fast.
You know the saying….
Slow to hire… quick to fire.
Theyre wise words for a reason. Follow them and keep that culture positive and upbeat.
Rockstars are replaceable and theres a new one born every day.
Do not let ANYONE hold your Agency hostage because they are a Rockstar.
You win more that way.
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We hope to meet you soon.
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What is the best way to staff an Agency?
Well while there are obviously 100 ways to skin a cat there is one model that the majority of the more successful Agents out there will tell you is just the flat out wrong way to set things up.
The “Generalist” Model
It’s a model that typically new Agency Owners and lazy Agency Owners run with.
The newer ones because they do not know any better and the lazy ones because they started as generalists and do not want to “rock the boat” or change the culture of an existing Agency that on the surface is “doing ok” but nowhere near their full potential.
The generalist model puts every single person employed by the Agency into the interesting position of being able to answer the question
“So what do you do in the Agency?”
The sales, the service, the marketing, the claims… you name it – if you are a generalist you are handling everything thrown your way.
You know what a generalist does NOT do?
Anything particularly well.
You know what else a generalist is also going to do?
Sink more time into activities they prefer or enjoy or are compensated more heavily for while neglecting their other responsibilities.
There lies another problem for the generalist in an office that is typically far more reactive than organized…
The inability to get into any kind of flow.
The generalist sits down.
Day starts. They check their email. Answer a few. Take a phone call. Does some service. Makes 4 calls. Gets a walk in. It’s a payment. 20 minutes gone. It was a chatter. Makes 3 more dials. Starts a quote. Tells the prospect they will call back in an hour. Has to call back one of the people they serviced earlier to let them know everything is good. Someone walks in and needs to change their address. The generalist tries to cross sell. Strikes out. Misses the time they were supposed to call the quote from an hour ago back. Oh a new lead came in 45 minutes ago. Well that things been called by 3 other Agents already. Good luck. Oh crap I had someone in my calendar for 20 minutes ago but I was changing Dolly’s address. Damn it. Voicemail. Hope she calls back. Back on the phones. Make some dials. Oh a claim is calling in.This should be fun. And the day continues on from there.
There is no chance to get into “the zone” that most of us like to be in when we are selling.
There is no real true effort to give the best service because the month is ticking away and they only sold 4 auto, 2 home, and ZERO life policies.
Why isn’t the generalist selling any life?
Ask them what they know about it.
Turns out the only life product they comfortable selling is term and they do not like selling life. They feel its intrusive and are not comfortable talking about death with strangers for gain.
What does the generalist enjoy doing?
What did their resume and career goals reflect when you hired them?
Turns out the generalist is sitting on a skill set the Agent is not even tapping into.
Their “zone of genius” has gone wasted.
And on and on and on it goes… and all the while there is turnover as employee happiness is lacking because no one likes to run around like a chicken with their head cut off all day every day.
Now on the flip side, savvy Agents know to specialize.
Specialists do what they like and are good at all day every day without interruption.
The P&C sales guy comes in and manages a calendar he can not be interrupted from.
Gets into the zone. Makes their dials. Gets their quotes. Closes their sales.
The marketer is able to consistently put together ads and events that keep the registers ringing and are not simply doing things “when theres time”
The Life Agent is handed warm intro after warm intro from the P&C sales person as the knowledge base for the agency on protecting families income and houses in the event of tragedy.
The CSR is able to deliver OVER THE TOP service to the people in need of help and not simply check things off or brush people away due to time or compensation restrictions.
And on and on it goes…. Each person performing a duty they enjoy and excel at to their hearts content, earning a fair wage for their effort, and staying within their zone of genius.
And magically the numbers in those Agencies are typically higher. Attrition lower. And the gossip about how that Agency is “probably cheating” hums along from underperforming Agents running generalist models.
If you are in a generalist model there are a few things you can do to mitigate the distractions but unfortunately you are currently in a situation that will ultimately inhibit your ability to earn and distract you from going all in on areas of the business you love but here are a few tips that can help you get into a better position.
Block off 3 hours a day for cold call / lead calls. 2 in the beginning and 1 at the end of the day. 1 hour to follow up on pipeline. 1 hour for marketing/social media mining. 1 hour for service and 2 hours at the end of the day that you let the day take you where it needs to. If there is a private office area available for you to get work done uninterrupted.... go... now... yesterday... and get into flow.
Defend it fiercely. You need it. It will allow you to get into the flow and check things off your never ending to do list.
Show Your Boss This Article.
Maybe they have never given consideration to a specialist model and reading this article may be the kick in the derriere they need to see the light.
Explain to them how you do not feel you are giving the Agency the best version of you with you bouncing around all the time reacting to whatever is going on around you.
Look at Different Agencies.
We are fortunate to work in an industry that has high turnover and constant hiring needs. If you are in a position where you feel your earning potential is limited there aint no one that can hold you down. This is ‘Murrica and in this economy jobs are abundant.
Be Your Own Boss
A lot of Team Members are surprised to learn that they are actually at a point in their career where they could move into ownership and actually be able to craft a business in their own image… and we all know that there are few people who have a more clear vision of how a business SHOULD be run than an employee in an Agency that is not being run well…
All that said, it can be difficult to navigate being a generalist in this industry.
While the Agent is not saying it directly, maintaining a generalist model is the Agents way of saying
“Hey I want you to sell as much as possible but also do these other things that will prevent you from doing what I will probably judge your job performance on the most”
Without actually saying it.
Pretty ridiculous when its laid out that plainly.
While it may feel confusing… there are no generals in the Agency in the generalist model…
Only foot soldiers who receive no direction on how to really win the war.
If you are stuck in a generalist model know that there are ways Agents conduct business in this field that will allow you to go way further while being way happier.
You should be pursuing what makes you happy and what makes you money.
Without both in place your time remaining at the generalist Agency is eroding by the day.
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The year was 2016. Dave was in a period of transition in his career and decided to move from banking to insurance. A fancypants headhunter recruited him out and sold him on the idea of owning his own business and controlling his income and future.
There was one caveat though.
The carrier wanted the Agent to open in Ohio. Dave lived in Arizona.
It was a big decision for Dave and his family but ultimately they decided it was the right one and they moved across the country in pursuit of a lofty new dream.
The Agency opened as planned and Dave did everything as instructed.
Hung the sign. Bought the direct mail package. Bought the social media “ad package”. You know – the one that Agents pay for that brands the carrier but gets no leads for the Agent
Bought the “discounted lead program” that he was told to. Hired staff.
The phones did not ring. The people were not coming. It was smile and dial just like in previous careers.
The type of stuff that wears an Agent out.
He joined a networking group AND the Chamber of Commerce. Woke up early once a week to network with other business owners for referrals that were rarely provided and offered up by Dave as a new person in town, even less.
Tried to run for a position in the Chamber and got boxed out. Threw his hat in the ring at his networking group for some leadership and no one voted for him. Same incumbents won every seat.
The pressure was mounting. At home he was stressed. The bank account was moving in the wrong direction. His wife was giving him quite a few “I told you so’s” about the move. The carrier was also threatening Dave that they would pull his contract if his performance didn’t improve.
Dave was feeling like all may be lost. A move across the country to chase a dream that was quickly becoming a nightmare.
In a moment of desperation Dave decided to follow some crazy advice he had heard in Insurance Soup, the FREE Facebook group for Insurance Agents with 30,000 members across North America all in the trenches selling policies every day.
Something that did not feel natural….but enough people were saying it works well so he decided to give it a shot.
He decided to create something where HE was in charge and HE was the leader and main voice being listened to.
He started a Facebook group for the locals in his area and gave people reason to join.
Running point on all things going on in the community, the locals quickly flocked.
Steals and deals, recommendations, school goings on, events, charity – you name it – if it was going on in his town Dave was reporting and supporting it.
His few local friends that he made all invited their friends…. And their friends invited friends… and before he knew it Dave was sitting at the top of a community of people that were visiting his Facebook group very regularly to have fun and learn about what was happening this week around town.
And then it happened. On the 3rd week of owning the group with just under 400 members… one of the members asked
“Does anyone in here have a good Insurance Agent? My payments are out of control and I need to shop it.”
Well… Daves local friends all began tagging him. And as the owner of the group running the conversation and keeping people infotained regularly he was the obvious choice for a chance at the business.
Dave called the woman and was very competitive. Assuming that the prospect would need to shop around or think about it he did not try and close. New to sales and not confident, this was another major flaw in Dave’s game.
The prospect closed themself!
“What do I need to do to get started”
Dave COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.
This prospect that came to him in the group was a lay down sale – almost like a referral!
And then it dawned on him…. These people were all coming to hang in his community every day.. but at the same time they were getting to know, like, and trust him.
It then became his goal to grow that group as large as possible and to continue to infotain while lightly promoting his business.
Business continued to flow and as the group grew Dave now had other opportunities coming his way as well.
Business owners wanted to partner up. The top loan officer in town wanted to be an admin in his group. Several realtors too.
Before he knew it Dave had 1400 locals buzzing around his group daily and 4 referral partners that swore allegiance to him. Business owners were asking for face time in his group.
A myriad of lucrative opportunity opened up both insurance and non-insurance related.
Everyone wanted to be recommended by the admin of this little local social media community.
As the group grew Dave picked up more and more clients and they all came to his office at no cost.
He now hosts events with the locals.
Rents out movie theaters. Hosts Happy Hours. He’s invited to every local event and even MC’d a local parade hosted by the town mayor.
All as someone who moved from Arizona to Ohio to a new town where he knew no one, Dave was now writing 4-5 policies a week for free from the group while also pulling a nice amount of referrals from his new referral partners… and the group continues to grow and prosper.
Dave will be the first to tell you that he now looks at his Facebook group as his virtual and digital “agency”. And his "Agency" has thousands of people in it every single month - just about every single day!!
And his digital “Agency” currently boasts 4700 people with over 250 households in his book directly coming from the group itself and an untold number more coming over from his referral partners who also are highly recommended in his community.
All because in a moment of desperation, a transplant from across the country decided to follow the advice of some strangers that were praising the idea in Insurance Soup.
If you are struggling to pick up momentum in your town, we strongly urge you to create your own online community.
Following the Blueprint laid out by Career Agent Concepts in the mini course “Growing Profitable Groups on Social – The Definitive How To” Agents across the country are closing a ton of business without spending any money on marketing – all while having fun and gaining credibility and clout in their community… and monetizing in a number of manners that are truly outside the box and fun.
If you are not in Insurance Soup you need to be – 30,000 of your peers are having conversation about how to win and every day there is something being dropped in there that is a major a-ha golden nugget moment.
Click here to join Insurance Soup
Interested in learning how to build your own thriving community on social media that will do business with you and look to you to be the leader they need?
Grab a copy of Growing Profitable Groups today! Follow the link at the top of the page! $197 one time payment gets your thriving community off the ground!
It is very easy when you bring on a new team member to fall in love with them.
Make sure you are falling in love with the actual person you hired and not the person you FEEL like you THINK you hired.
The honeymoon stage in an employer / employee relationship is as real as it is in a romantic one. That hot and steamy first few months where the new staff member is trying to impress their new boss generally wears off.
It is easy to get caught up in the idea of "potential" or production numbers boasted from previous offices.
By the end of the first two months you should be seeing more than just a glimmer of the person you thought you hired.
If you do not... you should begin thinking about cutting bait.
Slow to hire.
Quick to fire.
Do NOT fall in love with the person you INTERVIEWED....
or the person you THINK you are getting...
Examine the body of work they show you once they start, independently.
Fall in love with the results; when they deliver as advertised and ARE the person you believed to be hiring.
Many of your hires are the product of being in a great or poor system with good or bad leadership.
The environment and culture created in YOUR office will also be a determining factor in your hires' success.
Make sure you are providing them absolutely everything they need to be successful and watch your new hires soar.
If you are not already a part of Insurance Soup we would love for you to join the family!
If you follow along in our free group, Insurance Soup, you know that I like to poll the audience of 17,000 Agents, Brokers, and Team Members that hang out with us daily. The broad range of industry experience and carrier representation in conjunction with our efforts to keep corporate suits and vendors out of the group generally gives us some good and honest feedback when we ask tough questions.
We recently asked our group to rate the training they receive from their carrier partners in 3 different areas.
Product Training... Sales.... Marketing
The results from this impromptu poll sadly did not phase me. It did however make me a little sad.
One of the hardest decisions we are forced to make in this business is when to stay open and when to close during inclement weather and national disasters.
One one hand our business is our baby. Closing our business means not feeding our baby and a hungry baby is not a happy baby.
Before we even jump into this article did you know we are giving away a CRUISE on New Years Day, 2018 to a licensed agent?
Anyway on to a controversial conversation! Who doesn't love disagreeing with someone on the internet!
Recently we asked two questions in our public Facebook group, The Insurance Soup with a little hidden agenda. One thing we have learned is that when you pose questions separately that sometimes you can better gauge how an audience really feels than when you pose them together.
The first question we asked was, "Do you believe that Insurance is still a relationship based industry?"
146 comments on the post... Most of them resounding YES!!
It's 2017! It's time to start marketing like it.
Now days there is so much technology out there that will accomplish the same task that even just 5-10 years ago would have cost agents hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to do. Say for example an agent wanted to send out a post card to wish their book of business of 2000 households a Merry Christmas. They would have to not only pay for the postcard itself but also the stamps. Those bad boys are 49 cents a PIECE! You're talking almost $1,000 in stamps alone. Now add in the fancy postcards and it's getting pretty pricey.
What if I were to show you a way to accomplish the same thing but on a more personal level, that's a fraction of the cost and allowed your clients to feel like you care more about them than a 15 cent postcard?