It’s December and most insurance agents are making the usual New Year’s resolutions that few will keep: getting involved in more community activities, networking more effectively, increasing their talk time on the phone, quoting 100 people a day -- you name it. But instead of preaching to yourself that you need to run around all year knocking down doors to give as many quotes as possible, maybe you should consider working more efficiently.
If you’re set on making a New Year’s resolution, make a book-end one for your career that you can keep for years to come, one that will prove to be most profitable year after year.
At SmartFinancial, we believe that the most important tasks for an insurance agent are to focus on gaining new business the first quarter of the year and contacting renewing clients in the fourth quarter, not just to ensure renewal but also to get referrals.
Some auto insurance policies are locked in for a full year, others every six months. Homeowner’s policies are always one year. Health insurance runs high end of 4th quarter. Keep this time-line in mind at all times!
Q1: On Your Mark, Set, Go!
When you sell a policy in January, you make more overall, the full year’s amount of premiums, to be exact. This is the greatest value of the first quarter, gaining new business with recurring revenue potential. Many consumers are setting New Year’s goals of their own, saving money being one of them. Whether you’re selling auto insurance, commercial insurance or home insurance, now’s the time to accelerate sales into overdrive. There’s less importance in doing this as the year unfolds. January is the month to push beyond your current limits and get some fresh clients.
Buy Insurance Leads
The best way to accelerate sales is to invest your marketing budget wisely. Set aside a portion of your budget for leads from a trustworthy lead company. You’ll want to buy enough insurance leads, taking your closing ratio into consideration, to be able to finish strong at the end of the quarter. Stay consistent for the next three months and you’ll see some very positive results. You’ll also be able to dedicate the second and third quarters to other pressing matters. For now, get as many leads as you can on the phone.
Research the Lead Company Before You Buy
When shopping for leads, make sure your lead provider has a good return policy. SmartFinancial has the reputation of being very generous with returning leads that have incorrect information or people not interested in receiving a quote. You can see what other agents are saying about a prospective lead company on the BBB and Google for Business.
Q4: Catch Up! It’s Renewal Time
Fourth-quarter is the time to slow it down and get back to your existing clients. Most P&C clients renew or switch in the fourth quarter, so make sure to contact every single one 45 to 90 days before they come up for renewal. Avoid sending paperwork into a void, which is a surefire way to eventually lose clients to a more personable agent. Add a personal touch and call. Have a real conversation and see what’s new in your client’s life.
Don’t count on auto-renew ensuring their business. Your clients may be getting bombarded with calls from agents who have marked your client as an x-date. They will be offering tempting savings and incentives. It’s a good idea then to be in touch, not just to ensure a renewal but also to review the client’s account and make any necessary changes and to apply discounts where they may apply.
It’s always cheaper to keep existing clients than it is to bring in new people, but you must do the work. While some clients may stay with you without any trouble, others may be baited into switching carriers so don’t take any of your clients for granted. There is no sure thing in the insurance business.
Make that Call Count Three or Four Times!
Retention and referrals should go hand in hand, so make sure to get at least 3 or 4 referrals from each client. Offer a gift card for each referral who gets a quote from you to make sure your clients make the effort. Just think, for the price of two cups of coffee, you may get scores of new business.
Putting your referral program into high gear is another reason to contact your clients closer to 90 days before renewal. It’s likely the referrals are also on the same timeline with their current insurer, so your chances of getting them to switch are greater.
Even though clients are refunded for the unused portion of their insurance payment, people like to make as clean a break as possible when they switch, which is why Q4 is a great time to grow your business. All you have to do is make sure you’re there when people are most inclined to make a change.
Here’s to a good year. We know these tips will make for some great New Year’s resolutions.