Improving upon successes and overcoming failures are just the start of becoming a truly successful insurance agent. Why wait for the new year to start your resolution when you can start putting in place new and more effective strategies today? Most people ritually make and break New Year’s resolutions so be different: start now.
Every single day is a chance to wake up and say, “Today, I’m going to shake things up, be better at what I do and see the ROI of my dreams.” What’s stopping you?
There are several areas you can easily improve upon as an insurance agent. To help you begin, we’ve compiled the 10 most effective ways to start reaching and surpassing your sales goals from this day onward!
TIP #1: Start a Referral Program
If you don’t have a customer referral program for the insurance you sell, you’re losing out on a lot of business. The best way to get a new customer is through word of mouth. There’s nothing more valuable than an existing client vouching for your professionalism and service. Nothing you say will ever be as impactful as what someone else says about you. For this reason, you’ll want to ask your happiest customers and offer a reward in return. A simple gift card may be just enough to get people to pick up the phone and convince their friends to give you their business -- or at the very least get a quote.
TIP #2: Time for a New Elevator Pitch?
Even if the one you currently use has paid all the bills, there’s always room to improve upon an insurance elevator pitch. If you’re a new agent, you may still be spitting out a script given to you during training and it doesn’t sound genuine. Just remember that scripts were made for ad-libbing. Be yourself when you’re trying to connect with people so they will do business with you. Dig in and find your voice in whatever script you’ve been following. Give it character -- your character. If you’re a veteran with a tried-and-true elevator pitch, you may want to refine your winning pitch. Maybe work on one that speaks to Millennials.
TIP #3: Start Listening
You always hear that insurance agents need to listen, but do you really listen? This is the best advice and one only the most successful agents fully understand. The psychology behind it is to take in all you can to fully understand how your client needs to be protected. It’s also a great way for you to sell more policies than you set out to sell. You may have assumed you’d only have auto insurance to sell and found out the driver is a business and homeowner. You just scored big, simply by … listening. Salespeople tend to love to talk, but choosing your words wisely and sparingly is more effective. Try speaking very little and see what happens.
TIP #4: Contact Quiet Clients
Don’t wait for a cancellation to remember a client who realized he/she can get better service elsewhere. People’s lives never remain static. Circumstances change and people make new connections every day. Keep yourself at the forefront of clients’ minds. This requires more than an automated happy birthday email. Make it a point to speak with each client at least twice a year and ask how they are. Ask if they’ve experienced any lifestyle changes that may earn them a discount. If they haven’t had an accident in three years, be an advocate and get them a price break. Deductibles may need to be adjusted. New cars may be in consideration. There may be children for whom they may be considering purchasing a life insurance policy. A client may quit a job and start a business. You need to shift your business according to everyone’s shifting needs, so become a small but important part of your clients’ lives.
TIP #5: Find a Good Leads Provider
Buy data leads continuously for continuous growth. Add a few live transfers calls a month for your best producers and train your new salespeople with less expensive shared leads. Keep in mind that buying leads is more than a numbers game. First and foremost, get to know the different return policies out there and take notes on each company’s offerings so you won’t be in for a surprise when your leads are not returned. SmartFinancial has one of the most generous return policies in the industry. As agents have testified, compared with other lead providers, SmartFinancial will honor your time and money.
Just as with any lead you’d earn on your own, expect to nurture some of these leads for days, weeks or even months. In fact, you may not earn this client’s business until an x-date six months down the line during renewal time. This is the reality of how long and hard you may need to work on a client before you make a sale. Not all leads are quick wins, but a slow win is better than a loss.
TIP #6: Follow Up Already
The most successful agents follow up with a lead for at least 7 consecutive days until they quote the prospect. Even when they don’t make the sale, they set x-dates during renewal to see if the client changed their mind. Not following up with a lead is no different from turning away business. One-call closes are rare and if you’re going to run your business based on a wish to only have those kinds of sales, you’re losing out on a lot of money! If you don’t keep following up, you’re wasting a lead and your money.
TIP #7: Utilize Technology
Having a proper lead management system streamlines your process and helps you keep track of leads and customers. You’ll also be able to pull any information and notes you may need within seconds. You simply can’t run an agency efficiently using the post-it method these days.
TIP #8: Work Weekends
Consider swapping out a Friday for a Saturday, which is when people wish they could take care of personal errands like buying or switching insurance. A simple change in your schedule may yield not only new clients but happy ones who will be thrilled that you’ll take their call on a Saturday, which is often the one day people can focus on their personal needs.
TIP #9: Be Honest With Yourself
Like all skill sales skills need honing, too. This takes effort, time and failure. Yes, failure is the best teacher, if you’re honest with yourself and look at your weaknesses in the eye. The best salespeople are very self-conscious, but not in a bad way. There’s always time for improvement in getting people to trust you with their finances, but one must be willing to work hard to overcome their shortcomings. In order to do this, you must begin to be self-critical and instead of feeling frustrated by your failures, use what you learn to leverage yourself.
Tip #10: Get a New Designation
For insurance agents, the competition in the insurance industry is steep. All you have to do is walk down the street and you’ll see a competitor insurance agent taking the corner. One way to set yourself apart from the competition is by getting more certificates. You have your license, but people are always impressed by letters next to someone’s name. It shows you’ve gone above and beyond the minimum requirements of doing your job. And that’s exactly what you’re doing if you take the time to add a certificate or two to your resume.
The Most Popular Insurance Designations Are:
- Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) This is the “CPA of the insurance industry” and only about 4% of insurance agents have this designation. If you’re interested, contact the Insurance Institute of America to find out about schedules and pricing. The certification program consists of eight exams on risk management, business law, insurance operations, financial planning, and property-liability insurance. If you’re a one-man or one-woman show, this certificate will make you look like an insurance wizard that you are.
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research offers the Certified Insurance Counselor designation. This program consists of five exams on personal lines, commercial casualty, commercial property, life health, and agency management. This certification course has been described as “practical and real-world education.”
- Certified Risk Manager (CRM) If risk management is what you advertise as your expertise, this designation, offered by the National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, is the right designation for you. Exams cover topics that include identifying risk, analyzing it, controlling and managing the operation and political/juridical risk.
- Associate in Risk Management (ARM™) Offered by the Insurance Institute of America, the coursework for this certification focuses on all aspects of risk management, with a focus on the science of risk management. There are three exams on topics that include risk management principles, risk assessment, and risk financing.
- Associate in General Insurance (AINS™) Administered by the Insurance Institute of America, this designation focuses on general property and liability insurance knowledge for personal or commercial lines. There is only one exam on property and liability insurance policies, one on either commercial or personal lines and one on your choice of insurance topics.
- Associate in Personal Insurance (API™) This designation counts towards CPCU and AINS designations. Offered by the Insurance Institute of America, it consists of three exams, two of which count towards the CPCU designation.