This piece originally ran on Hometown University.
Prospecting is one of the most important ongoing tasks of an insurance agent. It’s like exercising—you may not always feel like it, but it sure feels good after you’ve finished, and it’s the only way to keep yourself healthy in the long term.
When it comes to prospecting for new insurance clients, it may be helpful to think about it both in terms of how you can make your daily sales efforts successful and how can you get better at prospecting over time.
Short-Term Prospecting Tips
1. Use Fresh Leads
Unlike other important consumer purchases, people don’t normally shop for insurance over the course of a couple weeks. Instead, the timeline is only a couple days. They’re either unhappy with their current insurer, know their old policy is coming up for renewal, or they may have a specific immediate need, like buying a new car that needs to be insured. Getting a foot in the door right away can make all the difference for you, so the fresher your leads, the better.
2. Script and Practice
Once you get a prospect on the phone, you need to know what to say. It’s normal to fumble for words when you’re first starting out, so creating and practicing with a script is key. The two most important parts of the conversation are your introduction (making the first impression) and anticipating objections and how you’ll handle them.
More experienced agents may only need an outline for reference, although it never hurts to create a script each time a new insurance product or regulation is introduced; the process of writing out the words you want to use will help organize your thoughts about how to best present the new information.
3. Check Your Mindset
Before you begin making calls, spend a few moments getting your head in the right space. You may have called hundreds of prospects in the last several months, but you don’t want to come off like a robot. Visualization, deep breathing and verbalizing affirmations are all quick ways to reset your energy and intention between every call you make.
Long-Term Prospecting Tips
1. Ask for Referrals
If you don’t already have a process in place to ask current customers, family, friends and others for referrals, create one. Schedule an email ask every six months or hold an annual contest with a giveaway for the person who sends the most referrals your way. And make it part of your on-boarding process that as soon as you’ve got a new client set up and happy, you politely ask them to refer anyone else they may know.
2. Stay Active on Social Media
Being an active participant on social media is a creative way to drum up prospects. Create a profile for your agency, seek out connections and participate in online discussions. Sharing expertise will build your credibility, and you can create a lot of impressions (the number of times your name is seen by others) in a short period of time for free. You can discover a lot of prospects online.
3. Find a Mentor
Learning from others is one of the best ways to avoid mistakes and pick up good habits. Develop a relationship with an experienced agent and, if you can, watch them in action. You’ll be able to pick up all kinds of tricks from someone who has been in your shoes! While it’s flattering to be asked for advice, be cognizant that someone is doing you a favor if they agree to mentor you; be respectful of their time and show sincere gratitude through small gifts and kind words.
A special note to experienced agents: You’re never too old to have a mentor! Be open-minded to the possibility that you could learn a lot from a mentor who is younger than you.