3 Keys to Getting Social and Gaining Prospects

3 Keys to Getting Social and Gaining Prospects

It doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself introverted or extroverted; the fact is part of running an agency means meeting people and making connections. Everyone has their own way, but being social is a critical piece of your insurance agency marketing. Here are three ways you can up your interactions, engagements, and ultimately sales.

Discover more ways to reach out and make connections with our post on “How Do Insurance Agents Get Clients?”

  1. Go where the people are

Never expect people to come to you – it is always your job to go to them. That means getting “out there” physically and virtually.

Engage with prospects virtually with a social media presence. Create and maintain profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, among other platforms. Use these profiles to build relationships by interacting with followers and establishing your agency as a local expert.

Engage in social media groups, especially on LinkedIn, and use your profiles to watch for life changes from certain prospects. A Facebook post on getting a new car or tweet about a child graduating give signals it may be time for them to re-think their coverage.

Use the right outreach methods for your audience – find out how in our Marketing to the Generations post

You also need to be physically present in your target territories. Spend time in local coffee shops, attend services at a community church, and have your car serviced at an area auto body shop. Each time you’re out and about is an opportunity to see a prospect or current customer and build a relationship through conversation.

Go one step further by volunteering with local service agencies and attending local events like sports games or festivals. Get your name out there by sponsoring events or hosting booths, helping people to connect your agency with community and service. Hold events of your own as well, sharing your expertise in areas like planning for the future and protecting your home from natural disaster.

Read more on prospecting in your community in our recent blog post

  1. Keep them talking

When you do get into a conversation (whether online or in-person) keep your goal in mind. That goal may be to introduce yourself as an agent or to find out more about their needs, but ultimately it will always be to keep your conversation going. That means determining a time when you can talk again; setting up a meeting or phone call. Whatever you can do to move a step forward is a win.

In your impromptu conversations, focus on getting to know the person and find out what they’re looking forward to, worried about, or other significant events in their life. This creates an opportunity to think about how you can protect the things they need protected and bring peace of mind to them and their families. Use this knowledge when you meet.

During your planned meetings, find out what prompted them to meet with you and/or what they hope to get out of the meeting. With the right questions, you can uncover their direct needs, making it easier to win them as a customer. At the end of your meeting, ask if there is anything you missed that could help them commit.

Are you asking the right questions? Find out in our blog on Prospecting Right

  1. Use the right tools

Talking and engaging with prospects is only one part of the equation. You need the right tools to document and help you continue the conversations. Texting is becoming more popular for agents and customers alike, and integrated texting can help you capture these conversations instantly.

Marketing automation is another essential piece for prospecting. Segment your client and prospect lists to communicate the right message at the right time, and more easily stay in touch using automated campaigns.

How do you manage relationships with people who are not yet your customers? All the data you collect should be stored in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to help you manage activity and analyze your efforts.

The final pieces you need for quality outreach and engagement are a branded app, client portal, and high-quality website. Each of these elements is essential to your online presence and customer service.

The app and portal allow customers and prospects to reach you wherever you are and get the information they need instantly.

Your website is your landing place – it’s where people will go after they’ve talked with you or to do research before a meeting. Make sure it is well-branded, easy to navigate, and an effective way for customers to connect with you.

See why your website is the key to cracking the insurance sales code

Effectively Engage with Partner Platform

Once you have new leads, you need to track, engage, and nurture each before they become customers. We’ve designed our Partner Platform agency management tool to do just that. Partner Platform offers an integrated Producer Results Manager CRM to follow prospect progress, and Marketing Automation Manager to keep contacts connected.  And, we’re introducing our Partner Connect customer engagement tool to keep prospects-turned-customers engaged for years to come.

Find out more about Partner Platform and how it can help you get connected, stay engaged, and boost sales: contact us at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or sales@sisware.com.

Insurance Prospecting as an Independent Agency

Insurance Prospecting as an Independent Agency

As an independent insurance agency, you have a significant advantage over the industry goliaths: community connections. No matter how hard they try, large insurance corporations cannot be part of a local community. You, however, have been a part of your community for decades – but are you a part of its fabric? Are you leveraging your community connection for insurance prospecting?

Leveraging Community Connections for Insurance Prospecting

There are a few ways you can get yourself known and capitalize on your place as an agent in your local community. A few examples include:

  • Pledge sponsorship. Get your name out there by supporting a local sports team, charity event, or organization. Sponsorship literally gets your name out there on event signs or team jerseys, and it also shows you have a heart for helping others. That connection resonates with potential customers who will see you as a concerned and caring advocate they can trust.

See more tips on how to engage in your local community on our blog

  • Share your expertise. Hold events at your offices to share free advice. Establish a social presence and comment on local happenings, sharing your thoughts on how to stay safe. Use these and other tactics to establish yourself as an expert and an organization that cares.
  • Stay seen. Be physically present around your community. Go to local coffee shops, bank in your community, go to church there, and say hello to customers and prospects around town. Don’t make all your conversations about business. Ask about their lives, catching up on happenings in their family and the community, to foster your relationship and show you care about them beyond their premium.
  • Get involved. Attend local events and festivals, whether as a participant or a volunteer. Showing your face at these happenings sends the message that community is important to you and your agency.

Get your agency involved and invested by joining industry groups like these

  • Ask for referrals. Though you don’t want all your conversations to be about business, at some point you do have to ask for referrals. You have a strong network to tap into in your community. When you’re talking with a happy customer, ask if they have friends or family that are in need, too.

What Community Means to SIS

Community is what we’re built upon here at SIS. Our Partner Platform agency management system is shaped, tested, and constantly improved by our community of independent agencies. We couldn’t be who we are without their influence and support.

See what it means to be an SIS partner agency by reading our client stories. Or, check out our post on what service means to us and our independent agencies.

Learn more about our Partner Platform community on partneragents.com.

5 Steps to Leveraging Agency Workflows to Improve Service

5 Steps to Leveraging Agency Workflows to Improve Service

For most independent insurance agencies, superior customer service is their bread and butter. Beyond serving your local community and providing a quality service to those in need, good customer service is also tied to better business. One survey recently found over 80% of respondents would pay more for a better customer service experience. There is value in bettering your customers’ experience, and you already have the means in your agency workflows.

These five steps can help you gain insight into customer needs and put them into practice.

Step 1: Identify Interaction Points

Take a look at the where you interact with customers: online, over the phone, in person – all of these are opportunities to gain information on what your customers want and care about. Once you know what matters to them, you can start putting them into practice in these existing interactions.

Get more insights on how to improve customer relationships on our blog

Step 2: Document Customer Interactions

Once you know where you’re interacting with customers, come up with a method to document each encounter. The more in-depth info you collect, the better. Management system mobile apps come in handy here as they allow agents to immediately document meetings and their details. Email and texting integration are also beneficial as each instantly captures an entire exchange and syncs to the customer’s record.

Step 3: Determine Where Interaction Documentation Lives

Once you have a way to record information on customer interactions, you need to have a place to put that information. Too often, agents and CSRs are keeping customer interaction data in siloed spaces. You need to find a spot to bring it all together. Ideally, your agency management system is built to address the needs of your service and sales teams.

Step 4: Establish Process to Follow Up on Interactions

Tracking customer interactions is only a piece of what you’re trying to accomplish. To truly improve these interactions, you need to follow up on conversations. In most cases, follow up comes from a CSR providing service to conclude a suspense, but not all conversations have such defined follow-up needs. Some interactions need a simple check-in to see how things are going and to get a feel of whether a customer was satisfied with the service they received. This can be via automated or manual methods or a combination of both.

Never forget to follow up – get reminders through Partner Platform’s Marketing Automation Manager

Step 5: Ensure You Have the Right Tools to Get the Job Done

For any customer interaction to happen, you need to provide ways for customers to connect with your agency. The essential customer connection tools are 1) an easy to use and understand website, 2) customer-facing mobile app, and 3) branded client portal. Each of these tools face out to the customer and give them an opportunity to connect with you.

We’ve brought all three together in our latest Partner Platform addition, Partner Connect. Partner Connect is a multi-faced customer experience for users to enhance customer communication with agency-branded tools. With multiple offer levels to fit your agency, Partner Connect provides all the tools you need at the right price.

Find out more about Partner Connect and the Partner Platform agency management system – contact us at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6.

Syncing Your Sales: Integrated Systems for Insurance Prospecting

Syncing Your Sales: Integrated Systems for Insurance Prospecting

Insurance prospecting can be intimidating, even for the most seasoned professionals in the industry. Finding prospects can seem a daunting task, much less making the sale and moving them to customer. But, with the right tools and perseverance, insurance prospecting is not as impossible as it seems.

Tool #1: Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

You’ve heard CRM thrown around a lot – but what exactly is it? A CRM is a tool that allows you to track leads, prospects, and current customers, reviewing and adding information to see where they are in your sales cycle. Think of it as the modern day little black notebook full of relevant data to help you nurture leads, keep track of customer needs, and stay organized in your sales process.

CRMs are essential information hubs. They store contact information, meeting details, follow-up attempts, and even website visits and interactions for each constituent. All that data in one place gives you an accurate picture of where you stand not only with each customer or prospect but overall as an agency.

Tool #2: Integrated Communication Tools

What you say and how often you interact with prospects and customers is a critical piece of the sales cycle, yet it’s almost impossible to remember to note each interaction. That’s where integrated texting and email come into play. These synched up communication tools make it easy to feed your customer and prospect interactions right into your CRM, so you never miss an entry.

Find out more about Partner Platform’s email integration and integrated texting offerings

Tool #3: Social Media Scheduler

Regular action on social media is now a required part of your insurance prospecting. Customers and prospects alike will look to your social presence to get a feel for your agency and to see what others think of you. You need to post regularly to steer the conversation. Frequent posting also shows you’re active and engaged and brings you top of mind to those searching for a provider.

A social media scheduler can help you keep up with regular posts by allowing you to simultaneously post to multiple platforms at once. And, true to its name, a social scheduler lets you plan ahead and schedule posts for weeks and months in the future. That means you won’t need to take time every day to remember to post but can dedicate a time to schedule ahead and avoid the interruptions.

Tool #4: Marketing Automation

Marketing automation brings social and other communication scheduling together in one system. With its email features, you can schedule regular e-newsletters, birthday and holiday greetings, and renewal reminders to customers. You can also set up customized prospect outreach messaging to send at different intervals, including an automated first message sent to those requesting a quote or filling out other forms.

For social media, marketing automation tools can schedule messaging and track data like shares, likes, and comments. Plus, messaging can be tailored by audience and synched up with your email communications for an all-in-one outreach messaging and tracking hub.

See how Partner Platform’s Marketing Automation Manager can help your agency improve prospect outreach and customer retention

Tool #5: An Integrated Insurance Management Platform Experience

While each of the insurance prospecting tools above can boost your sales, together they can exponentially improve your outreach and client retention. That’s why we created an all-in-one integrated prospecting experience with our Partner Platform.

The cloud-based comprehensive system includes our Marketing Automation Manager, which creates customizable, automated workflows and mass campaigns for client and prospect communication, and our Producer Results Manager for a complete customer relationship management solution to convert prospects into lasting clients. That’s a winning combination you can’t beat, and just part of what the Partner Platform has to offer your agency. See more Partner Platform capabilities and view a demo to see how the Partner Platform can change the direction of your agency.

Insurance Agency Marketing for the Generations

Insurance Agency Marketing for the Generations

We’re on to part three of our look at insurance agency marketing to the generations with an analysis of the oft-stereotyped Baby Boomers. Born between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s, Boomers number an estimated 75.4 million in the U.S. Many are looking forward to retirement and have big plans for an active future.

Those big plans mean Boomers are prime consumers. Baby Boomers’ spending is estimated to increase by 58 percent over the next 20 years, while Millennials and Gen X will only increase spending by 24 percent. And, they’re doing more of their shopping online, spending more on average per transaction than Millennials.

These facts point to the same conclusion: Boomers are a powerful buying force. How do you harness that force for your agency?

Read Part One in our series: insurance marketing to the rising Generation Z

Get Personal

A recent study showed over 65 percent of Baby Boomers went for one-on-one meetings when seeking insurance. Boomer’s preference for personal interaction doesn’t stop there: the same study showed Boomers preferred any “live communication” during the purchasing process. Live communication includes over the phone and online chat – any method that gets them in touch with a real person in real-time.

Treat Them Well

It’s critical to provide great service to all customers regardless of age, but it’s especially important to Baby Boomers. They are the most likely to write off a company due to bad service. And, they’re loyal to good service. One study showed 54 percent were “very or somewhat likely” to stick with a business if their patronage was valued. Only 33 percent of Millennials agreed.

Take a look at Part Two on our series, focused on marketing to Generation X

Be Mobile Ready

Half of those 60 to 69 and almost 75 percent of people in the 50 to 59 age range own a smartphone. Yet, Boomers still face a persistent stereotype that they’re not tech savvy. Don’t be fooled. Boomers also own 1/3rd of all tablets purchased in the U.S. Suffice to say Boomers expect websites to be mobile accessible.

Get Social

Social media continues to rise in popularity for Baby Boomers, with 82 percent belonging to at least one social platform. Though LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter are all in play, Facebook is by far the most used social platform by Boomers, coming in twice as popular as the rest. And, Boomers like to share what they find on social – they’re 19 percent more likely to do so than other generations.

Find out how to get your agency to Boomer’s scrolls in our post on Getting Your Website Seen and Heard

Use Your Words

Contrary to most marketing trends, Baby Boomers are reading what you write. They’re more likely to look at print and read whole articles than Millennials or Generation Z, so give them something to take in. When it comes to writing, Boomers look for straight talk and facts. They’ve been marketed to for years, growing up during the advertising boom, and are almost immune to gimmicky and salesy language. Be clear and honest, and avoid spelling and grammar mistakes as many Boomers take note of these small errors.

Avoid the Age Gap

Don’t call Boomers “old.” Just don’t.

Marketing to the Generations

If you’ve read the other posts in our series, you’ll know each generation is different and responds better to sometimes contrasting marketing methods. Such duplicity means you need varied marketing tactics, segmented to target each group individually.

The Partner Platform Marketing Automation Manager (MAM) is designed to tackle just this issue. With over 50 sample campaigns and 100 pre-built customizable outreach templates, Partner Platform’s MAM makes it easier to craft and send your agency messaging to a variety of audiences.

Get specifics on what MAM has to offer on our website. And while you’re there, sign up to view a demo of the system in action.

Marketing Automation: Your Key to Omnichannel Insurance Sales

Marketing Automation: Your Key to Omnichannel Insurance Sales

One communication channel is no longer enough to get your message out for insurance agency marketing. Different generations of customers respond to different things, each prospect uses some but not all available communication modes, and technology is evolving at a rapid pace. That’s why 87 percent of retailers recognize an “omnichannel” approach as vital to their marketing success.

Omnichannel means reaching out via multiple communication channels at once (i.e., phone, email, and social media). It’s a lot to take on. In fact, a recent report showed more than 21 percent of insurance agents acknowledged they need to “stay in front of their network” with marketing, but they simply didn’t have enough time.

What’s the answer to too much tech and too little time? Marketing automation. Below are four ways your independent insurance agency can leverage automation to reach wider, engage better, and still make it home in time for dinner.

The first step to marketing is establishing your brand. See what four questions to ask to define your agency brand

1) Social Media

Social media is multi-channeled in itself. Your customers and prospects may use one form or social media and shun another, while a different segment does the opposite. To keep all parties engaged, you can schedule posts via social media marketing automation. The key is to post enough to stay top of mind, but not too much that you’re spamming customers’ feeds.

When posting manually, insurers too often forget to post for a while and try to make up for it with a post-storm all at once. This method is ineffective and possibly damaging if followers get annoyed and walk away. According to a recent Forbes article, posting once or twice daily on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn is sufficient. Twitter moves at a faster pace, so up to 30 well spread out Tweets per day is okay.

Remembering to post even once a day on your personal social media seems impossible, hence why scheduling posts via marketing automation is a life-saver. Pick a time at the start of the week or month to schedule out postings in one block. Be sure to review them again as posting day gets closer, and make space to follow up at least once a week on any messages or replies. These small but consistent conversations help you bring in leads, endear customers, and boost your brand presence.

Make sure your website is as on-point as your outreach – see how to make your agency website a sales and service resource

2) Email

At this point, email is the most seasoned form of customer outreach. Since it’s been around the longest, email has seen multiple iterations. A one-size-fits-all email blast is no longer acceptable. The key to email engagement is audience segmentation and customized messaging. Recipients now expect each message they receive to speak to their interests, their place in the buying process, and other personal preferences. You’ll need to create multiple email templates to answer each of these expectations.

Another part of email communication is setting an effective cadence. Sending emails too close together can turn a prospect off while spacing them out can mean losing the sale to another agency. Cadence will vary by prospect or customer, most notably around their place in the buying journey.

Email analytics through marketing automation are a huge asset. The data you gain shows you what’s working and what’s not. These analytics are critical in helping you determine the best messaging and cadence.  Such information is pivotal to shaping a successful email marketing campaign.

Hit all generations with your marketing – read about how to market to different generations

3) Texting

Automated texts are similar to email messages but shorter and more direct. Texts serve more as reminders or small nudges to move prospects along in the buyer journey. For example, you could schedule texts to be sent to customers reminding them it’s time to renew their policy. Or, you can set up a cue to text prospects who have asked for a quote but haven’t taken any action within a week.

The beauty of text is it’s more direct than social or email. You can almost guarantee the person will see the message since it’s sent right to their phone. But, this directness can be a danger as well. Too many texts or texting too soon into the buyer’s journey can turn prospects away. Reserve texting for hot leads and current customers only, and use it sparingly.

Before you text, check out these dos and don’ts on texting for your insurance agency

 

 

4) Human interaction

Texts, emails, and social posts work to keep your agency top of mind, but your personal connection with customers is what keeps them coming back. Utilize marketing automation to nudge you to take action. Add reminders in as part of your various automation campaigns, ensuring you’re firing on all cylinders.

Such connections can be a phone call, a personal email, or an offer to grab coffee or lunch. Though marketing automation can do a lot to keep your pipeline moving, facetime is invaluable. It’s these in-person interactions that customers remember and share, furthering your reach and solidifying your agency’s good reputation.

Hear from SIS partner agencies on how Partner Platform helped them connect more, and better

Find What Works for Your Agency

One of the most significant benefits of marketing automation is its customization – all content and messaging can be crafted to your agency brand and your words, coming from your social media profiles and email. That human element is what makes it meaningful and engaging to prospects and customers.

At SIS, that personal engagement is what drives us. We engage on an individual level with each of our partner agencies and actively reach out to find out how we can help them do more, better. It’s these interactions that prompted us to add our Marketing Automation Manager (MAM) to the Partner Platform. Our MAM system not only provides personalized, branded, marketing content and campaigns, it also integrates fully with our Partner Platform agency management tool for streamlined messaging and data analysis.

Find out more about MAM and Partner Platform’s other capabilities – contact us to schedule a demo at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6.