If you’re a new agent reading this article, you should know that it takes months, even years to build up a portfolio. But take heart: If you’re a good agent, you will slowly begin to rely heavily on policy renewals for a base income. But what about steadily finding new clients? Even seasoned insurance agents find that meeting new clients on a regular basis is the most difficult part of the job.
How do insurance agents find new clients? This is an age old question, and the answer changes every so often. Technology has changed the way people shop, but never as drastically as we’ve seen since the coronavirus pandemic began. But even before COVID-19, the truth is that shoppers had been buying their insurance without having to leave the house.
Convenience is important to shoppers. Gen X and millennials were finding deals comparison-shopping insurance well before the lockdown. There were exceptions then, especially when it came to older shoppers. But what the pandemic has done is get older people to shop online in record numbers. They are, after all, the most at-risk group that is in quarantine indefinitely.
These shifts in shopping behavior have forced insurance agents to revisit conventional ways of finding clients. Most people are responding to television ads and then researching the Internet for the best deals. We have some ideas on what to do to find new clients when meeting them face-to-face is becoming an outdated option.
What Is Your Territory?
The usual five-mile radius canvassing hasn’t been a strong enough strategy for agents to meet sales goals in a long time, except in Small Town U.S.A. Even there, agents are increasing territory. In fact, one of the smartest things some agents have done is to get multiple licenses in different states they want to do business in. Having a wider range only helps with the volume of leads you generate on your own or insurance leads that you buy.
One of the biggest mistakes agents make when buying insurance leads is that they narrow down the territory too much, maybe based on one or two zip codes. More often than not SmartFinancial account managers will tell them to increase lead territory. Otherwise, they may not get very many leads.
So, in a nutshell, agents have to scope out prospects over a wider range than ever. In fact, the best agencies cover all 50 states, even some territories.
This part of your job is not over. You still need to network, you just have to do it virtually. LinkedIn is a good place to start, but perhaps a little crowded with agents and not too many people buying insurance. But here you can find out about virtual seminars who need panel speakers. Yes, you! Why can’t you give a ten-minute presentation about personal finances?
Consider livestream seminars. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live and Twitch have some great options for you so start looking into which one will serve you best, maybe all of them. Your broadcasts will be served on your page, so begin growing your content on these channels, which are becoming popular to browse. You may even want to tap someone in your area who has a good following already and start a panel discussion in which you discuss the importance of insurance and how it works.
If you want something more interactive, consider video conferencing where you can host Q&As, workshops and networking events of all sorts. Webinars can be simple too, and effective (and free!), even when you have an audience of one. There are lots of ways to network digitally. You just have to figure out what inspires you the most.
Most successful agents are buying leads or they are supplied with leads by their carriers. It’s always a good idea to ask your company if they have cost-share programs so you don’t have to pay the total cost. But even if you do have to shoulder the entire cost for your agency, it’ll be well worth it if you follow your Account Manager’s advice on how to maximize your investment.
The agents who have trouble with leads are the ones who want to do things their own way. And while your way may usually work, it may not be the best way to go about certain leads from certain vendors.For some insurance products, contact rates are lower than they are with others. SmartFinancial Account Managers will
always be upfront with you on these matters and set you straight, if you have other expectations. Contact rates are very high with SmartFinancial insurance leads, overall.
Meeting expectations is important when you choose a lead vendor, so in today’s virtual world, it’s important that you do the right research before choosing a lead provider. You can check agent reviews on Google to see if they offer high-quality leads or bogus ones. Trust Pilot reviews, unfortunately, are not always to be trusted because they sift through and pull only the good ones.
Check to see what kind of credit and refund policy the vendors you’re considering have in place. This is important because a few bad leads always slip through the cracks. You want to make sure that the company you work with will honor your time and money by crediting you promptly so you can move forward.
Consider which types of leads you want. If you’re not sure, tell your Account Manager as much as you can so they can help you hone in on the right target audience and at a price that suits your budget.
As for budgeting, It’s a good time to shift some of your marketing budget into live transfer calls. These are leads that are verified by SmartFinancial’s contact center before being transferred to you. Contact rates on these calls are unbeatable and so are close rates. If your budget allows for it, these types of leads can really help write new business this quarter.
Read the Local Paper
You can look for engagement announcements, marriage announcements and new businesses that may have opened up. Yes, check the business section because people are pivoting and startups are popping up everywhere. And they need insurance. Marriages and engagements are great conversation openers about the discounts you offer married people who are seen as lower risk insureds.
Real Estate Is Not Dead
People are selling their homes and buying bigger ones now that they need a home office or two. People are leaving apartments and buying up the homes on sale due to incredibly low interest rates. The coronavirus has not stopped people from going on about their lives, so pair up with real estate agents, mortgage brokers as well as financial planners and accountants. These people are invaluable for forging connections through word of mouth.
We can’t emphasise this enough: referrals from existing clients are not something to put off. Referrals are just one step closer to buying a policy than a cold call who may or may not be curious about a quote. In a business founded on relationships, why wouldn’t you broaden an existing network instead of immediately looking outside of it? The best plan is to do both at the same time! So get started building an amazing referral program to entice your clients to give you a boost in sales!