The insurance industry’s internal pendulum moves each time the economy shifts. But not always the way you assumed it would. For instance, life insurance sales, which were low since 2019, rose because of the coronavirus pandemic, despite income losses. Health insurance sales are projected to be big come Open Enrollment (huge, as they say). Car insurance premiums are falling, making your profit margins smaller (it’s okay, just sell more policies). But how small businesses have fared is another story, and much of that is intertwined with how or if their commercial policies covered income losses. All of this stuff affects your relationships with clients. Forging ahead is the way to go. Whichever line of insurance you sell we have some ideas on how you can get ahead this last quarter and possibly make up for some lost income during lockdown.
1) For struggling agents who are used to shaking hands and looking clients in the eye, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling life insurance, home insurance or car insurance, you need to start replicating your in office visits on Zoom or FaceTime if you haven’t done so already. Some customers are just too scared to walk into your office. So, get comfortable inviting existing clients and prospects to a video chat. All the cool kids are doing it, and their grandparents too. So, isn’t it about time? You may hate the idea but what’s better, losing a relationship? It’s actually not so bad once you get used to it. And it’s definitely more convenient for your client. And if it all works out, you may be able to make your office fully virtual and forgo paying rent.
2) Buy leads. Get an auto dialer if you need to, or better yet, hire hungry college graduates and train them on very affordable shared leads. Weed out the ones who just aren’t getting it. You’ll be able to round up a nice group of winners by the end of the quarter, and hopefully you’ll have some sales to show for it.
3) You simply need to sell more auto policies than you did in the past due to falling premiums and premium credits. There are fewer accidents so your clients are reaping the benefits. Which means it’s time to hunt down referrals. With the money you’re saving your clients they will be more apt than in the past to sharing your information with friends and family. Trust goes a long way. And the timing is right, so just ask!
4) Buy live transfers for yourself or your best agent or producer(s). These calls are too expensive to train folks with, and you always want to be on alert for the number to appear (live transfers always come from the same number at SmartFinancial). If you miss a call, follow up right away. Don’t bother leaving messages. Call until you get someone on the line. Be pushy about hearing a voice on the other end, but back off once they answer: Be personable, not pushy at all.
5) Buy commercial insurance leads. If you sell business insurance, your clients are struggling to keep their businesses alive. Some won’t see their business make it. It’s important to look at all the ways you can be of help to your client, and see if you can keep their business. And keep in mind that premiums will be smaller as they scale down to prevent drowning. You may be able to negotiate with carriers to get the best outcomes despite limited growth in 2020 but it’s going to be a slow crawl so look to quote as many commercial prospects as possible, especially commercial auto clients now that deliveries and trucking are on the rise. These are great industries to explore now and in the future.
6) Be supportive of your staff. Many will be afraid to come back to the office. Others will not be able to return because of auto-immune issues or they live with a vulnerable individual. If these employers are valuable to your agency, find a way to get them working from home. Many agencies are doing this and are seeing successful outcomes. It may take a little bit of investing to get everyone equipped to do it, but this option may be more cost effective than losing your prized employees.
7) Go digital. Take this time as an opportunity to revamp your website if you haven’t already. Is it mobile friendly? Does it show who you are and why people should trust you? Do you need some help bringing it up to speed? There will be a lot of re-allocating of funds with all the major shifts in the industry, and this is one area that you should consider reinvesting your money in. People will see your website before they see your office. Consider expanding your social media presence while you’re at it too. Interns are great for these sorts of things because college students still need to build a resume. And they can work from home, which they will absolutely love!