What others say about you matters more than what you say about yourself. This is the new golden rule when it comes to running any business. This motto is especially important for an insurance agency.
Your credibility as an insurance agent lies in the hands of your clients -- your happy clients -- who can attest to paid claims, great customer service and good rates. If you already know your clients won’t feel excited about endorsing you or if you think their loyalty is tepid, you’ve got some footwork to do before focusing on expansion.
Retention is just as important, if not more important, than making new sales. Repeat customers are the bloodline of an agency, so to keep moving forward, you can’t lose these wheels. The more people you keep happy, the more leveraging power you have as a successful insurance agent.
Most businesses have already honed their marketing skills to churn out positive reviews on their websites, Yelp and Google Business pages, and even LinkedIn. Some insurance agents are also jumping into the game, some more successfully than others. We’ve got some tips to help you make all these ends meet so you can sell more insurance policies.
Before setting out to grow your base, you need to remember that keeping clients happy or turning around the ones that may quietly slip away is just as important as new sales. Otherwise, you’ll be spinning your wheels and never moving forward from where you currently are. It’s a juggling act, retaining and gaining new clients at the same time, but both goals are equally important.
The biggest mistake agents make is to watch a client’s rate rise dramatically over the years without trying to lower them, even a little bit, or to offer a better rate with another carrier. Certainly this is not possible if you’re a captive agent, but what you can do is be especially attentive, justifying the higher prices (if you simply can’t apply any discount at all). Check in regularly after a claim is filed and stay on top of the matter; make a personal call when a renewal approaches. Don’t leave it all up to automation with the clients you know are unhappy for one reason or another. Be their punching bag if need be. Just don’t lose their business.
Leveraging Customer Reviews & Testimonials
If you knock yourself out for the majority of your clients, it’ll show. If you don’t, the proof is in the reviews that they won’t take the time to leave on your business pages. If you don’t have any reviews but have some clients you know are thrilled with what you do for them, simply ask them to write a review! Don’t just mention it in passing either; send them a link to whatever page you’re looking to build up (Google? Capterra? Yelp?).
Once you have a few reviews to your name, add the best line or two from each one to your website (consult an editor if you need to, about condensing a quote without losing its intention). Ideally, you’ll have a whole page or tab dedicated to customer reviews.
There’s more: Don’t sit and hope that people will visit your website and see all the wonderful things your clients have to say about you. You’ll need to get your social media accounts fired up so you can share your happy customers’ enthusiasm for the work you do. Create colorful memes of a line here or there pulled from a review or testimonial. If you can get your client to give you a photo, even better, but always make sure that you use their names and photos with their explicit consent.
Social media is not the only place where your positive reviews can shine. You can share them in email marketing campaigns, to encourage other clients to write their own reviews or to turn around prospects who are considering buying a policy from you.
Create a Referral Program
An easy way to find people who will refer you is to just pluck out all the folks who’ve written positive reviews of the work you do for them. They were moved enough to take the time to write about you, so why wouldn’t they refer you, especially if there’s a reward involved! When sending insurance letters to clients, you’re pretty sure your message is being heard, so this is also a great way to keep pushing your referral-rewards program without much effort at all.
In email reminders and in your insurance letters to clients, add a little section about the rewards you’re offering for every referral. Be specific about whether or not the referral needs to get a quote or if the referral needs to sign on for your client to get a prize. It all depends on how generous you want to be.
What’s a Brand Ambassador?
Businesses often have brand ambassadors, even if that’s not what they are called. These people are excited customers, who are usually very social, especially in the relevant industry. They also have an impressive Facebook and Instagram following. Brand ambassadors’ posts are seen as more authentic than anything you may say on your social media channels. People believe what brand ambassadors have to say over what you have to say about yourself. This can be a really low cost way for you to leverage some happy clients, in exchange for a discount, gift cards, commission or whatever it is that you can afford to reward them with.
The incentive is important and should be well thought out. No one is giving you their time for free. Often business owners provide their services and products to brand ambassadors for free. While it may be impossible to give an ambassador free auto insurance, you may be able to forego a commission and give them an amazing rate. Free swag is great, but you need to go a few steps further in compensating a brand ambassador (cash never hurts).
How Do I Find a Brand Ambassador?
Go through your positive reviews and think of any clients, with whom you’ve had an especially good rapport, who may also have a following or standing in the community. Your brand ambassador doesn’t need to necessarily utilize social media but their social media accounts must not offend people (no risque photos, no cussing, etcetera). While controversy sells, it’s not the best image for an insurance agent or agency. You can be quirky, but sexy or profane won’t necessarily work for you in this arena.
Consider a brand ambassador who has interests that are relevant to the lines of insurance you sell. Do you offer great deals on auto insurance for new drivers or drivers with great grades? If so, teachers would make great ambassadors for you, because their students and parents respect and trust them. If you can borrow from that association, that’s great marketing. As you can imagine, however, it’ll take a really great and honest insurance agent to convince a popular teacher to represent them -- and that’s the whole point (no one said it would be easy!).
As challenging as the task of finding the right ambassadors is, the outcome will probably come to you in the form of phenomenal sales.
New Insurance Leads
Buying leads from a reputable lead company that gets great reviews is a good way to go when you’re ready to create some new happy clients. Utilize a sizeable portion of your marketing budget on health insurance leads, auto insurance leads, commercial insurance leads and home insurance leads (depending on what you’re licensed to sell). If you work with good lead generation companies, your return on investment should be strong -- it’s a numbers game, after all.
With leads, you should be jumping on calls as soon as they are transferred to you or as soon as the data lead lands in your inbox. You may not close every deal, but if you get in the habit of going through your list of pre-screened leads every day, as soon as you get them, you will probably sell many more policies than if you spent time generating your own. The best recipe is half-and-half: generate some on your own leads and buy pre-screened, organically generated insurance leads.