Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

101 Tips for your Insurance Agency for Sales & Marketing – Part 3

Published on August 21, 2014

101 Sales & Marketing Ideas for Agencies Part 3 of 3

From the Insurance Journal

Insurance Journal has listened to readers, spoken with experts, combed through columns and articles and even searched outside insurance circles to find the best sales and marketing tips for independent agencies today. Here are 101 ideas, in no particular order.

67 – ‘I Don’t Know’
Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know.” No one expects you to know everything; plus you now have the opportunity, and a reason, to connect with the client or prospect again. Not only will you know you have provided the correct information, you will have built trust.” – Christopher J. Boggs, Academy of Insurance, www.IJAcademy.com

68 – Keep Score
Become obsessed with being the best through performance benchmarking within your agency and within the industry. Top performers are motivated by winning. Encouraging competition internally creates a growth culture that helps you compete externally. – Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry

69 – Get Out What You Put In
Start small and strengthen over time. Put in the hours to build relationships with the media and your customers. Brand recognition does not just happen overnight. – Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency

70 – Hire, Hire, Hire
Predictable, sustainable growth is directly dependent on systematic reinvestment within your production staff year-over-year. – Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry

71 – Why Measure?
You don’t have time to spend on efforts that don’t yield results. You have to illustrate how your efforts increase brand awareness, create buzz and generate new business; otherwise you’ll never know what gets you noticed and what ends up being overlooked. Demonstrate growth and illustrate investment. – Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency

72 – New Client Thank Yous
Every new client gets a personally written thank you card with their agent’s information and a note that says: “We love referrals. Thank you for referring us.” – Trident Insurance Agency

73 – Total Agency Sales Culture
Producers are the quarterbacks of a growth team, but key technicians and high-level servicers are your linebackers. Employ quality people throughout the entire organization, not just within your sales staff. – Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry

74 – Make Your Value Proposition Valuable
Track utilization on all value added services, charge fees on top of commission, and have a communication process through stewardship reporting to ensure the client knows your value. – Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry

75 – Match Interests
Employees and producers have favorite charities to which they personally give time and donations. Choose one of those for your entire agency to contribute to by volunteering and/or a fundraising. It’ll build camaraderie, help the charity, and make your brand a little better known in the community. – Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance

76 – Institutionalize Your Relationships
Develop a long-term retention plan on large-scale accounts by introducing key agency executives to decision-makers. Involve quality service, loss control, claims advocates, and other value-added service personnel during the prospecting process to help diversify the relationship long term. This practice allows for better delegation of servicing responsibilities, sells the team, and helps transition relationships as employees move on or retire. – Tommy McDonald, MarshBerry

77 – All Aspects of Life
The bottleneck for selling comes from lack of activity. Turn your life gray and open the opportunity of prospecting with every part of your life. – Justin Berry, MarshBerry

78 – Take Chances
Someone will always say: “You can’t do that!” Just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it won’t work or that it won’t make a huge impact. You have to take chances to stand out. – Aimee Woodall, The Black Sheep Agency

79- Understand Customers’ Business
Do your homework. When the customer sees you’ve invested time into understanding his business, there is a certain level of trust established right away. – Sales and marketing consultant Barry Farber, as quoted in Entrepreneur magazine

80 – Be a Solution
Don’t sell product and features rather be a solution and new business will come to you – Justin Berry, MarshBerry

81 – You Can’t Do It All! 
Social media and blogging are becoming integral to a growing agency’s daily operations. Consistency is critical. It may be time to hire a part-time or full-time employee to do this. – Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Stuart Durland, Seely & Durland Insurance

82 – Expand Your Virtual Reach 
Try your vendor’s web-based consumer self-serve quoting functionality, so your clients can serve themselves for quotes. – Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Joyce Sigler, Jones & Wenner Insurance Agency

83 – Google+
Use Google+ for research and lead generation. With more than 100 million active users on Google+, it is a great way to search information. It’s a good tool for finding people in a specific demographic, occupation, employer, etc. – Valerie Foster, Monitor Liability Managers

84 – Once is Enough
With the use of a comparative rater, you can key once and realize multiple sales opportunities. – Real Time/Download Campaign co-chair Joyce Sigler, Jones & Wenner Insurance Agency

85 – Ask for the Sale
No matter what else is recommended, a salesperson ultimately must always ask for the sale. – Chris Burand, Burand & Associates LLC

86 – Free Content
Tap into the insurance content – newsletters, emails, infographics and social networking shares – that carriers and wholesalers provide. Share it with clients and prospects on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, and in your email newsletter and on your agency website. This showcases you and gives consumers relevant information. – Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance

87 – Differentiate 
Make building your book easier and use your agency’s institutional and personal differentiation to build partnerships of new business. – Justin Berry, MarshBerry

88 – Set Aside an Employee Day
Pick a day once a year to honor and recognize your agency team with a surprise lunch or other special event that focuses just on them and the work they do all year long. Recognition works. – Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance

89 – Pop the Question
It’s amazing what people collect. Ask your next 10 clients or prospects: “Do you keep anything of special value or significance in your home or garage?” That opens up a new line of conversation, expands the relationship, opens up a channel for cross-selling coverage for collectibles or collector vehicles, and reduces E&O risk. – Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance

90 – In Their Words
Often, an individual can tell you what their primary concerns are in simple conversation. Have broad, open conversations with clients and prospect clients to learn about where they are in life. As you review their insurance needs, use that conversation as the guide for what your clients value most. – Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance

91 – Get the Experience of Partners
Ask for input from your business partners. Most will gladly pass along solutions that have worked for them in similar situations. It will expand your knowledge, strengthen your relationship and may even lead to additional opportunities. – Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance

92 – Find a New Way to Keep in Touch
Client messages related to annual reviews, policy anniversaries and birthday are common. Also consider special communications related to risks. For example, send an email to clients with classic cars or recreational vehicle coverage in the spring when the “toys” are coming out of the garage! – Laura Packard, American Collectors Insurance

93 – ‘Sales’ Is Not a Bad Word
Sales is often seen in conflict with service, but when this function is executed properly, it’s really the essence of good service. Proactive, attentive, needs-based sales in an insurance environment means that you are serving clients by looking out for their best interests, educating them about the need for coverage, and covering potential risk exposures. – Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance

94 – Set Your Goals
Goals should be set at both an individual and company-wide level. Be realistic but ambitious. Be measured but strive for the best. Your goals should be based on where you’ve been, as well as where you want to go. – Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance

95 – Mine for Specialties
Mine your agency management system to find out where you have a niche. If you have three or four restaurant accounts, then you have knowledge within your agency about restaurants. Ask your current clients about other restaurateurs who could use your expertise. – Insurance Journal

96 – Document, Document, Document 
Keep track of what you do and what you tell clients. It provides seamless service when a colleague follows up later with a client at a moment when you are not available to answer questions. – Maureen Boeing, Landmark Insurance Agency and past chair, ASCnet

97 – Multitasking Break
It is so easy to work on the computer while simultaneously talking on the phone. Stop. Commit yourself to focusing on the needs of the client with whom you are speaking. Dedicating that time to the conversation and lending full expertise to his or her situation will build stronger relationships and open the door to opportunities you may not have caught otherwise. – Jill Bookman, American Collectors Insurance

98 – Branch Out
Pick your best niche and expand it like crazy. Keep nurturing your existing book while you grow your new “branch.” A well-picked and “niche-branch” can outperform the entire agency. – Michael Jans, Agency Revolution

99 – Budget, Schmudget
I wish more agencies would “act like grownup” businesses and budget their money. And then, I wish they’d know when to throw that budget away. If you’re getting a positive ROI on a marketing campaign that is what every entrepreneur dreams of: free money. Don’t let accountants run your business. Good marketing means that the marketplace pays for your marketing. (Don’t let lawyers run your business, either!) – Michael Jans, Agency Revolution

100 – Agency Newsletters
A newsletter is an excellent tool to help educate customers on insurance issues, to make customers believe that they’re getting something extra for their insurance dollars, and to keep an agency’s name before its customers. – Mary Christiano, Professional Insurance Agents associations of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire

101 – Don’t Use Complicated Diction
When pitching, do not use complicated diction. Pride yourself on being able to explain the concept as quickly, clearly and simply as possible. The biggest problem in sales is client confusion. Confusion does not lead to a Yes. – Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, a N.J.-based “upcycling” and manufacturing firm, in a commentary in The New York Times

 

Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc. is a California wholesale insurance broker (CMGA) that has licensing and expertise to place business in both admitted and non-admitted markets for personal lines insurance and commercial lines insurance in California and surrounding areas. 

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