Micromanaging is not fun for anyone. It’s not fun for the agency owner and your staff will hate it too. However, you need to have some guidelines in place for how your staff handles a lead, whether it’s a data lead, a live-transfer call or an organic lead that came to you through your website or ad.
Each type of lead requires a different approach. A generic greeting with a live-transfer call, for example, can destroy your chances of giving a proper quote or even keeping the caller on the phone at all!
Training is everything and so is a system to check in on the progress your agents and producers are making on the leads. Leads are expensive, whether you bought them or invested advertising dollars into them. The last thing you want is for your own staff to unwittingly sabotage your plans for growth. We’re here to help.
Understanding a Lead
There’s a difference between cold-calling and calling a data lead. A cold call doesn’t have much to it in terms of a shopper’s intention to actually buy a policy. It’s a number, possibly of someone in the area, who presumably owns a car. A data lead from SmartFinancial is a high-intent lead, meaning that the consumer has every intention of buying or switching an insurance policy, if the terms of your product are to their liking.
There’s a big difference here that you need to convey to your staff. Otherwise, they will push through the list of leads you’ve spent good money on, as if they were calling random people from a phone directory.
It’s important to tell your staff how the lead came into your inbox. For example, at SmartFinancial, we create lots of informative articles about cars and homes, health and business and more. If a visitor decides to compare their policies based on the information we’ve given them, it’s because we’ve made a connection with them, and they believe that we will be helpful to them. Make your staff aware that they must then carry that torch, even by expressing that they work with SmartFinancial.
Once your agency gets the consumer’s information, the consumer has spent some time carefully (sometimes not so carefully) answering the questions we ask them about their home or car, their age and annual income, etc. They have already passed filters you’ve set, whether it’s by area code(s) or according to driving history. They are invested in switching or buying. Now it’s up to your team.
Understanding a Live-Transfer Call
A live transfer comes to you after being pre-screened by a live agent. The person has filled out a form and gone over the details in those forms with a SmartFinancial concierge. Only when that person is ready for a quote is the call transferred.
By the time you get the call, the consumer is anticipating a quote after the work they did. You need to train your staff to answer these calls differently than if they were simply answering the office phone.
All live-transfer calls from SmartFinancial come from the same number, each time. Your producers must be on the lookout for this number so they are prepared to say something along the lines of, “Hi, I’m Susan and I’ll be helping you with a quote.” Say something about the quote this person is expecting to get. If they hear “Hi, this is Susan from State Farms, How can I help you?” they will feel like they were just been bounced to a person who has no clue what they want or why they are on the phone. It’ll feel like all the work they just did was for nothing!
Not only should you communicate how expensive these calls are with your staff, we usually advise against having your calls sent to anyone but your top producers. They simply are not priced for you to train your producers.
However, if training is part of what you hope to get out of your experience of buying leads, the great news is that the calls with data leads are also recorded, so you can review what your staff is doing with your designated Account Manager. If you want to fine-tune your people’s phone pitch or if you are, indeed, micromanaging, you can hear what your employees are up to without them even knowing. This is also a great way to learn what works for your sales team so you can replicate the successes.
Prioritizing and Setting Time-Lines
There is a certain amount of urgency, for example, when a data lead falls into your inbox. There may be less of a time-constraint when it comes to calling Bob, who was referred to you by an existing client. As obvious as this disparity may seem to you, it may need to be reinforced in your training manuals or during onboarding, whenever you have a new hire.
In fact, you should urge your staff to contact a lead within the first 5 minutes of receiving it. The first agent to make contact has an upper hand and is more likely to make the sale then the next person who calls. Explain to your staff that leads are shared. At SmartFinancial they are only usually shared with 3 other agents (not of the same carrier as you) but there is some competition.
Set Expectations Right
Also, train your agents to understand that despite the high contact rate, you cannot expect to close a sale in the initial call. It may happen, but what’s more likely is that they will have to follow up, at least another couple of times. We have tips on how to successfully follow up with leads.