Increasingly, people turn to social media to get referrals for services -- and yes, even to buy insurance. One quick search on Yelp will yield dozens of insurance agent reviews for insurance brokers and agents in your area. Are you on Yelp? How about Google? Are you asking your clients to leave you reviews? If you aren’t, you may be losing out on many sound referrals.
Yes, reviews are referrals with far reaching powers. The same goes for negative reviews. However, the truth is that once you put up your Yelp business page (and we highly suggest you do), you’re also opening yourself up to negative reviews.
We all have those clients, the ones who insisted on the lowest limits and freaked out when they had to pay for some damages by reaching into their own pockets. And they will haunt you from time to time, but there is a way to handle these situations with grace and control. You may even come out seeming exceedingly kind, patient and professional.
Below, we have some steps on how to get yourself on the most important business pages. It’s easy to get started, but it takes continuous management to keep reviews coming so keep asking your clients to show you some love on the Internet. If you succeed, you’ll be amazed when, in a few months, you’ll notice your phones are ringing and the sales keep coming in!
There are lots of local listings online that you should get your business listed in but there are two giants that you simply can’t ignore: Google and Yelp. Both are powerful, in different ways. Ideally, you will have a presence on both and will actively chase after clients to churn out new reviews (yes, they can update an old review to make it fresh again).
It’s not easy but it’s imperative that you ask your clients to speak on your behalf. What people say about you matters so much more than anything you have to say about yourself. People listen more to others, it’s that simple.
How to Get on Google My Business
Setting up Google My Business is the first step in Local Search Optimization and will help you get found online:
Go to Google My Business
Click on “Get on Google”
Enter your business name and address in the search box. Your business may already appear if someone else has added it, but you can always claim your business so as to have control over the account.
Choose the right category for your business.
Verify your business (you may have to wait 1 to 2 weeks for a postcard with a verification pin).
Confirm your business
Set up a Google+ page.
How to Get a Business Page on Yelp
Your business may already be on Yelp. You can, however, claim your page and make it work for you by responding to every review that’s already there. Here are some steps to claiming a business page:
Search for your business at biz.yelp.com
If your business has been claimed by someone else, check to see if a colleague has claimed it. Yelp does not and will not share the name of the person who claimed the account due to privacy concerns. If someone has wrongly claimed your business and you are locked out, you’ll need to contact the Yelp Support Team.
Another reason you may be unable to claim a page is if it’s pending approval by someone else claiming it (again, speak with colleagues).
Set up your business page with contact information and photographs. With Yelp, note that you have two options in responding to customer reviews, private and public.
Staying on Top
You’ll want to keep an eye on your growing online presence, on Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! Local, but especially with Yelp and Google. It’s also a good idea to set up a Google alert, which sends a daily email with all the mentions you’ve gotten in a given day based on Google searches.
Unless you enlist happy clients to write reviews about you, you will only hear from unhappy ones, who find a place to vent about unpaid claims, rising rates, etcetera. Some people seem to make a full-time job out of writing negative reviews, and while most discerning readers are quick to note this (based on the user’s past reviews), you still need to show that your agency is listening and not ignoring complaints, no matter how absurd some of them may be.
Not only do reviews get the word out about you to others who may be searching specifically for you, but if you begin to accrue reviews, especially on your Google Business Page you’ll rank higher on Google, which will gain the attention of more people searching for insurance on the Internet.
Responding to Negative Reviews
Not only should you be checking what people say about you, but you can carve out time to respond to each and every review. This may be a time-consuming task but one that will be well worth it. Negative reviews, especially, need tending to. No matter how far the client falls off the handle, you must remain professional and show that you are listening. You also need to measure each word in your responses. Others will read a negative review and give it less weight if you politely and compassionately explain your side.
Often, a negative review will be taken down if you find a way to appease your client. Sometimes that means finding your client a new carrier, if you’re an independent agent offering other options (yes, you'll be the good cop!). One carrier’s policies may not suit your client’s expectations whereas another one might -- go ahead and express that. It's free advertising about the flexibility of your services. Or, you may be able to be the client’s advocate and help them out in public view. Both of these options often work well and clients will either take down a negative review or they will revise it, which puts an even more powerful, positive spin on the job you’re doing.
Leads and Growth
Don’t forget that the easiest way for you to grow your business is to invest in quality insurance leads. If you’re selling health, auto, life, home or commercial insurance, you’ll likely have a strong ROI if you buy insurance leads from a trusted source like SmartFinancial, whose search-engine-optimized content captures insurance shoppers at the height of their shopping experience.