Everyone knows there are unique challenges to selling insurance whether you're a captive insurance agent or an independent insurance agent. Agents who've decided to go independent have certainly done so because they saw benefits to going it alone rather than being part of a national carrier, but that doesn't mean there are really easy ways to screw things up.
Whether you're doing back office work, meeting a client for dinner or sending out annual holiday cards, there are always dos and don'ts to be mindful of. Here are a few of the most common DONT’S that independent agents DO that make a sale go south.
#1 - BEING AFRAID TO ASK FOR REFERRALS
We know that asking for referrals isn't easy, but you're an independent agent now. Your bread is buttered with referrals and the sooner you find a comfortable and creative way to ask your clients to share your info with others, the sooner you'll see your business grow. Every time you DON'T ask for referrals, you can count on lost business. It needs to be an absolutely mandatory part of every sales call. PERIOD.
#2 - MAKING TIME FOR YOUR CLIENTS AFTER THE SALE
We know that closing the deal seems like the most important part of the sales process, and this means that once it's done, many agents think that servicing the client is also done. This could not be further from the truth. If you aren't making an effort to touch base with your clients from time to time throughout the life of their policy with you, you risk losing them at the end of it.
As an independent agent, you MUST strive to create long-lasting client-agent relationships. This is because the longer your client is with you, your chance at building a strong foundation of trust is greater. And we know that once your client trusts you, they're likely to do more business with you.
#3 - NOT REACHING OUT TO CURRENT CLIENTS BEFORE YOUR MEETING
Many agents see a meeting on their calendar and think that there's prep work that needs to be done in terms of client contact before it. There is SO MUCH to be gained by reaching out and having a brief chat before your meeting takes place. Asking a few questions before you're face to face with the client can have you on 3rd bade become the meeting even begins. It's the best way to find out what potential cross-selling opportunities you might have with this pre-existing client. If you're sitting down with a client who already trusts you and is pleased with your service, you're already behind the 8 ball if you haven't made time for a phone call beforehand.
#4 - LETTING SOMEONE ELSE SCHEDULE ALL OF YOUR CALLS
In the perfectly normal hustle and bustle of being an independent agent, it's easy to let an assistant or an office manager schedule your meetings for you. This seems innocuous in and of itself, but really the only way to make sure that your book of business is sailing in the right direction from day to day is to make sure your meeting schedules are full and the timing makes sense. The worst thing you can do is have someone else scheduling meetings that don't need to be meetings and wasting precious time for you and your client. If someone else is in charge of your schedule, make sure you're keeping an eye on them at least a week or two in advance so that you can determine whether or not you really need to meet face to face, or if it's something that you or someone else can handle over the phone.
We hope these few tips help you out if you're an independent agent finding your way on a new path. It can take time and energy to find what's really working and NOT working for you in your new agency. Hopefully, these few easy tweaks can make a big difference to the longevity of your business.