Like putting together a championship team, growing sales is something every insurance agency owner wants, talks about, and works toward. But, comparatively few are adept at achieving and sustaining growth.
How can you boost insurance sales and become that winning team?
Step #1: Planning
Often, the first stumbling block is having a solid plan. As renowned salesman Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” You need to identify a path to conversation. Once you get the ear of a prospect, you can activate your process to make the sale (more in step #2).
How do you get to that genuine conversation? The good news is you already have an in. If you’re not playing in each of the below, you’re leaving portions of your market untapped:
Get tips on how to break out of your sales slump from our parent company, NuGrowth Solutions
- Lost Quotes – these are prospects you talked to previously, even quoted, but for some reason or another did not write their business. The best agents go back to these prospects periodically to try again.
- Win Back – these are former clients. If you’ve changed service providers before you know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. They were warm once, why not check back in with them?
- Location – many independent agents depend on community involvement and having a local presence to drive business. Do you target businesses and neighbors of your current clients? It’s a good way to open the door to a genuine conversation.
- Referral – perhaps the best segment for win-rate. Referrals are gold. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to develop a referral program.
Check out these tips for going beyond customer retention to get referrals
- Differentiated Expertise – admittedly this segment can be hard to define. These are accounts for which you have a strategic advantage or specific ability to service. A unique offering to truckers, for example. Or a special relationship that leads to expanding business. Where can you leverage special knowledge or expertise?
- Digital Leads – these are from your online presence. Make sure your website and social media sites are optimized to generate leads for you. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good site. If your site is appropriate for your audience and has good calls to action, you’re in a good place. Many agencies also partner with a referral engine such as Rocket Referrals to help automate reviews and referrals online.
Find out how to drive sales by making your website a great sales and service resources
Step #2: Process and Methodology
Next up, you need a process: a set of steps you follow to reach your desired outcome. You’ll also need a methodology: a way to approach doing the steps.
Lack of discipline trips many up at this point, both individually and organizationally. For many agencies, writing business has no rhyme or reason. The method is to hire a producer, throw them out there, and wait for results. No championship team is built on such randomness. Winning results come from analyzing past successes and failures, and coming up with a system that works.
Other potentials problem areas to watch out for are:
- Internal communication: Agency teams struggle with sharing where a particular prospect or quote is in the process. Have a process, have a way to track that process, and make that tracking visible to the whole team. This transparency will enable your agency to do more together.
Get tips on how to improve your agency communications with our recent eGuide
- Process execution: How you execute your process critical. It’s the “special sauce” for many agencies. When speaking with prospects, don’t focus on features your prospect may or may not understand. Translate the meaning – what they get and why it matters. Check out Patrick Wraight’s recent blog Stop Speaking Insurance to get to the heart of the matter.
- Time management: Correctly prioritizing prospects and activities can make all the difference. Part of the secret is having the right mix of opportunities. Larger deals are lucrative but tend to move along more slowly. You need some smaller ones to fill out the pipeline. Another mix to pay attention to is “net new” versus follow-up. Don’t neglect either!
Step #3: Tools
Cool gadgets or tools on their own aren’t worth much. Tour de France competitors race on the highest quality bikes, but using the wrong bike for the course or one that doesn’t work for their body can lose them the yellow jersey. Picking the right tools – ones built by partners who align with your strategy and methodology – are key to achieving your sales success.
Does your agency have the right tools to boost business? Find out here
The most critical tool you need is something to track sales activity. It should be effective, yet simple enough that producers will use it. While many owners pay close attention to what premium is being written, surprisingly few owners know what the overall pipeline looks like nor can they reasonably forecast what is coming. Gaining this level of predictability will make your sales process much less stressful and more successful.
The tools you choose should also integrate with your current systems. Choose ones that work well with others. If you don’t, you’ll be duplicating your work and expending extra effort.
More Sales Resources from SIS
With the right tools, a solid process, and disciplined methodology you can see further into the future of what will close and when. This predictability builds confidence and security, allowing you to loosen your grip on sales and focus on building other areas of your agency.
Like all skills, sales requires continual practice. Keep up your training regime with resources from SIS and our parent company, NuGrowth Solutions. Get SIS sales resources here.
While you’re there, check out our client stories to see how SIS and our Partner XE agency management system have helped dozens of independent agencies improve their sales and services. Find out more at [email protected].