You need new customers to stay in business. It’s a truth all agency owners know, and one that plagues many. Identifying and closing leads seems like a never-ending struggle.
Often, these same struggling owners aren’t investing in insurance prospecting software. Therein lies ones of their issues. Insurance and sales technology has exploded over the last decade, and anyone that hasn’t adopted these technologies will be left behind.
What are these essential insurance prospecting tools? We’ve outlined a few must-haves below.
Check out our best prospecting blogs in our post on “6 Key Blogs for Insurance Prospecting”
Effective marketing is integral to sales, and marketing automation is critical in modern marketing. With marketing automation, you can set up campaigns to target different audience segments, schedule messaging to deliver at critical points in the buyer’s journey, and gain volumes of valuable data. You can use this data to personalize outreach, yielding higher response and conversion rates.
Customer Relationship Management Tool (CRM)
If you’re in sales, you need a customer relationship management tool (CRM). CRMs are designed with sales in mind, created to track and nurture leads. Marketing automation and CRM tools need to be connected, sharing data, and working together to qualify and convert leads. CRMs are your centralized place for all prospecting activity, showing you where you stand with each individual prospect and overall. This full picture can tell you what methods are working, which need improvement, and what you can expect from leads in similar segments.
Read more on the nuances of prospecting as an independent agency here
Mobile Management System Access
We’ve all got our smartphones in our pocket, and successful agents need their agency management system there, too. Sales happen on-the-go, so you need to be able to get the info necessary to close a deal no matter where you are when you need it. Mobile management system access allows you to look up contact info and view and take notes on interactions among other pertinent actions.
Integrated Text and Email
The more information you have on interactions with each contact, the better. When texting and email messaging are integrated with your management system, you increase that data gathering. Integrated texting and email guarantee every message you send links to that contact without any extra work on your end.
Get tips on how to find prospecting opportunities in unexpected places
This one may seem disconnected from prospecting, but a proposal creator, in fact, hits right at your prospecting goal: making the sale. With a proposal creator, you can quickly create multiple options for a potential client and move through the underwriting process faster. When it comes to making your pitch, time is of the essence, so the quicker you can get a proposal into a prospect’s hands, the better.
A Partner in Your Corner
Our goal at SIS is to equip our Partner Platform agencies with the tools they need to bring in more business. That’s why we’ve integrated all these prospecting elements into our robust Partner Platform agency management tool.
Each of these capabilities came right from our Partner agencies, through interactions with our community at our National User Conference, Regional Learnings, and User Groups as part of our Partner Agents community.
Find out more about this vibrant community at partneragents.com. And, see how Partner Platform can help your agency grow by requesting a demo today.
There are two significant factors consumers take into account when deciding where to bring their business: price and customer support. In fact, American Express found 90% of Americans surveyed consider customer service in their purchasing decisions. However, people will remember service before they think about price. In many cases, customers are willing to take a price increase as long as their service remains superior.
Independent agency owners know this well. Quality customer support is one of the major reasons why clients work with our Partner agencies. Below are some of the ways to improve your service, answering questions on how to get insurance clients and how to keep them.
Hear from SIS and our Partner agencies on what service means to us
- Reach out
Reach out to clients on your own, fostering a relationship. You want the client to think of you as more than just their insurance provider, but as a friend and trusted advisor. And, you want them to think of you whenever they hear about or think of insurance. With that positive correlation in mind, they’re more likely to refer you to a friend or family member regardless of their insurance needs.
It sounds simple, but asking questions and genuinely listening to answers on how you can improve is powerful. Your clients are smart and will tell you what you need to know to improve. From what services they like and which they wish you provided, to preferred communication methods, your customers are the best source of advice on how to better your service.
Get more tips on keeping your customers happy in our post, “Read This Post or Lose Your Customers”
- Take responsibility for issues
When your client has a problem or a suggestion, take responsibility to help find a solution. If the issue will take some time to remedy, continually update them on its status. Your customers will take note and spread the word about the effort you put forth, regardless of how and when their problem is solved.
- Leverage technology
Customers expect tech to be a part of your service offerings. Leverage available technology to allow your clients to self-solve their issues and quickly connect with you when needed. Client portals, integrated texting, and mobile website access are a few of the essential tech pieces to provide superior service to your customers.
Are you leveraging all the latest in industry technology? Find out here
Make Your Service Superior with Partner Platform
At SIS, we take our customer service seriously and that means providing our Partner agencies with the tools they need to keep their service top-notch. Our latest customer-focused addition to the Partner Platform agency management system suite is Partner Connect. With Partner Connect, our agencies can choose from multiple offerings, including a custom agency-branded mobile app, client portal, and updated agency website design.
Find out more about Partner Connect and our other Partner Platform offerings: reach out at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or email@example.com today.
Insurance retention is a critical piece of agency success. We all know the stats: it is far easier to keep a current customer than to search for a new one. Recent studies show it costs 5x more to hook a new customer than to keep an existing one. With stats like these, it’s easy to see where you can make the biggest bang for your buck: cross-selling
Cross-selling is the practice of selling additional policies to an existing customer. These could be adding home to auto or life to medical among others. It can also be adding an extra policy for a child, spouse, or another family member. Anything that tacking on to a customer’s existing policy is a cross-sell.
So, if cross-selling is so important, how do you do it? Here are three steps to help you spot, nurture, and close a cross-selling opportunity.
Get tips on how to improve your overall insurance customer retention here
Spotting an Opportunity
To make a cross-selling sale, you need to know what to look for in your customers. Start by segmenting your customers into groups by gender, location, age, and other defining factors. You can use these segments to look for patterns. When you successfully cross-sell to a customer in a given segment, start looking for opportunities with other customers in that segment.
Life changes are major cross-selling indicators. When a customer gets a new car, has a baby, gets married, buys a new house, or retires, they will likely need to update their coverage. Take these opportunities to introduce potential coverage additions. Leverage your CSRs and agents to gain information on coming life changes as they spend the most time talking with customers. Have a centralized place (like a CRM or agency management system) to track interactions to get an idea of who may be looking for coverage updates.
Customer content engagement can also be telling. Someone who liked a tweet on choosing the right vehicle for your family and attended a webinar on “The Ins and Outs of Auto Insurance” is sending signals. With marketing automation, you can track these engagements and spot an opportunity from a mile away. And, you can nurture this lead by sending targeted content on auto policies and an opportunity to set up a consultation with an agent.
See how you can leverage your place as an independent, community-based agency
Tracking and Nurturing
As mentioned, marketing automation is excellent for nurturing cross-selling leads. Utilize it to keep customers engaged with regular newsletters and holiday and birthday greetings, and nudge them along with customized content based on their interactions. One critical piece of custom content is an automated renewal reminder 60-90 days before a policy’s end date. This email should include info on possible cross-sell items based on what you know from your marketing automation data.
The other prospect management tool you need is a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) to bring everything together. When synced with your marketing automation, your CRM can tell you precisely the right moment to make the pitch. This marketing automation data, along with info on a prospect’s interactions with agents and CSRs, tell you exactly what a prospect is looking for and when they’re primed to make a purchase.
Find out how to improve your customer relationships on the SIS blog
Making the Sale
When it comes time to make your pitch, the most important factors are to give options and make it personal. You want the prospect to recognize that you understand their unique needs, and you want them to be in control of deciding what’s best for them.
That personal connection and ability to offer choice are what drive our Partner Platform Proposal Creator. This intuitive tool allows you to make high-quality, agency-branded proposals in minutes. With its ease, quickness, and professionalism, you can give your customers multiple custom proposal options well within your sales window.
Find out more about the Partner Platform Proposal Creator, and our Marketing Automation Manager and Producer Results Manager CRM, today at https://sispartnerplatform.com/contact-us/.
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?”
- 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
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6.