Insurance agents are hungry to make connections with people. The more adds on social media, the merrier. However, social networking can sometimes feel futile, especially if you’re growing your connections without a plan in place to leverage some of these relationships in a way that will help you grow your agency.
While you may be hoping to fish for prospective clients using social media, you may be letting even more advantageous relationships fall by the wayside because you’re not focusing on building strategic relationships. We’re here to help you refine an insurance business strategy and put in place a plan that works.
What’s a Strategic Relationship?
According to the Business Dictionary, a strategic relationship is an agreement between two or more non-competing business entities to conduct specified activities or processes to achieve objectives such as product/brand development, exposure or distribution.
For example, you may have haphazardly added the local florist to your connections on LinkedIn. She may have only seemed like a commercial insurance, possibly personal lines insurance, prospect to you but she may be a much richer resource than that if you look a little more deeply and ask yourself a few questions.
Have you seen the florist’s website or visited her business? Her clientele may be just the exposure you need to grow your business. How can you serve this person as a partner? What assets of yours does she need? Will she let you post an article on her website? Only after you are able to answer these question, can you really begin building a strategy upon which you can nurture (and milk) this relationship instead of letting a golden connection sit there in a pile of forgotten LinkedIn profiles.
Before reaching out: Never contact a prospective partner without a clear sense of what you can do for them. It’s not enough that you want her to share her valuable list of clients with you and help you gain more clients. When trying to build a strategic business relationship, you always need to be clear on your own value as a partner and what you can bring to the table. You’ll also want to be clear about what you expect in return.
Building Strategic Relationships vs Financial Planning
If your strategy is to increase the number of insurance prospects you speak with each day and you choose to buy leads, your financial plan is to allocate a certain percentage of your marketing budget to purchased leads or live-transfer calls as a cost-efficient portion of your marketing strategy. It’s always good to have a strategic plan before thinking about where to invest your money for a strong ROI.
Your financial plan may be diversified. For example, some of your marketing budget may go towards leads and another portion for content creation for your own website or to use for marketing materials in leveraging relationships with, say, the florist. Perhaps you can hire someone to create content for her website with backlinks to yours. If you sell wedding insurance, she’s the perfect partner for you (what’s a wedding without flowers?). Also, she’d be helpful in leveraging the perfect elevator pitch about getting new quotes after tying the knot: Marriage always qualifies people for an insurance discount so the couples this florist serves are truly the perfect leads.
Strategy and Insurance Leads
Some strategic business relationships are more formal than others. For instance, strategic relationships can sometimes be created with a business contract or a simple handshake, depending on the extent of the partnership.
Often a larger company will fund a project and help with product development, marketing, and distribution while the smaller one will supply a service and/or expertise. If you’re a captive agent, you always have a strategic relationship with the carrier, even when you own your own agency. You’re never in competition with that carrier (even if they can sell directly to consumers). You bring them more business and in turn they cover the cost for you to make a profit.
Large carriers have strategic relationships with insurance leads companies like SmartFinancial and so do carrier agents and independent agents. The only real difference is the volume of bought leads.
Insurance Leads: Strategic Targeting
Lead generation companies are often seeking brand exposure and bulk sales through partnerships with insurance carriers, agencies and agents. Working with insurance leads companies like SmartFinancial is the perfect win-win strategic relationship for both parties.
Not only does a vendor like SmartFinancial provide leads but it saves agencies precious time, human capital and money. The marketing budget allocated to a leads company enables agents to nurture and sell to leads as opposed to spending valuable time and money generating a phone number here, an email address there.
Forging More Strategic Relationships
Aside from lead generation companies and florists there are other potential partners in your list of LinkedIn connections. These people may be stationery suppliers, accountants, lawyers, financial advisers, cleaning companies, business coaches and so on. Go through your list and see which people have the most followers and begin asking yourself: How can I help this person? Chances are that if you come up with a profitable answer, you can forge a meaningful strategic relationship with this person.
Pick your leads partner and your business partners based on whether or not they serve your customer base. If a business somehow speaks to your target customers, they are a good choice as a partner. As for buying leads, the right leads generation company will appeal to your ideal insurance client.