Increase your book of business using existing clientele

One of the best ways to increase the size of your book quickly is by tapping into your existing base of customers. There’s almost always more business to be had with your existing clients. Start by doing a review of coverage with each client. Then sit down with them and ask the right questions to elicit and uncover coverage gaps you can offer to fill. Use that opportunity to make them more loyal to you when you offer to shop their coverage and find them better coverage at a better price.
Start with your top premium clients and work your way down – selling personal lines to commercial-only accounts, and ascertaining if your personal lines clients have businesses you could potentially write for them. You already have a number of P&C clients on your book. What better place to look to increase revenue, than the people you already do business with? Not only does this increase retention and loyalty, it makes less likely your client will want to shop and move their business elsewhere down the road.

The Key to Marketing Your Insurance Agency? Develop a Process, Follow Through, Be Accountable, & Get Help if You Need It

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The Key to Marketing Your Insurance Agency? Develop a Process, Follow Through, Be Accountable, & Get Help if You Need It
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

As an independent agent, it’s easy to get so caught up in your business that you forget to work on your business. But, if we fail to continuously develop and close leads, eventually, our agencies will suffer.

That’s why I encourage insurance agents to create a formal, repeatable sales process for selling and cross-selling all lines of insurance. With proper follow up and support, such a process can keep leads and prospects coming in the door.

Develop a formal, repeatable sales process.

As the state director for Smart Choice® MN, WI & IA, I offer my agents training on a marketing system that develops formal, repeatable processes for each insurance line. We start with defining an agent’s sales goals and then create a process to meet those goals. Specific action items empower agents to generate leads and close more business.

Here are some action items that have proven effective for myself and the agents I work with:

  • sending direct mail letters
  • tapping the power of digital marketing tools, such as social media and email
  • making follow-up phone calls and call scripts
  • using fact-finder sheets to guide the conversation in initial client meetings
  • cross-line selling other insurance products
  • sending thank you cards
  • requoting old leads

Whatever action items you choose, write down your process and review your steps to make sure it’s repeatable.

Follow through with your sales process & be accountable for each step.

Even the most thoughtful and efficient process is ineffective if you don’t put it to use. Now that you have the steps in place to develop your agency’s prospects, you need to follow through. Block out time on your calendar to complete every action item. Ask a staff member to remind you to work through each step. Consider delegating tasks to staff members, too.

Get help if you need it.

Sometimes, relying on staff just isn’t enough to make your process successful. If this happens to you, consider calling in some outside help. A business coach or mentor can be a helpful partner in the sale process. So can a formal marketing system.

The Art of the Close: Ask Questions to Get Insurance Clients to Buy on Value, Not Cost

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The Art of the Close: Ask Questions to Get Insurance Clients to Buy on Value, Not Cost
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

Most of the time, “all people are created equal” is true. But unfortunately, not everyone enjoys a natural talent for sales. Some agents struggle to make $35,000 to $50,000 per year, while others make earning $1 million a year look easy.

When I asked the top agents in my region what made them such successful salespeople, they shared with me that a professional sales presentation is their top priority. “Ad libbing is for amateurs,” they say. They rehearse every presentation for every client.

For an artful close, ask the right questions

Focus on making your presentation the most valuable and comprehensive it can possibly be for your clients. You’re not just selling insurance, you’re consulting with your clients on the amount of risk they’re willing to accept. Your job before and during the presentation is to determine your client’s current coverages and current needs based on their risk tolerance.

How you determine what your clients need sets you apart from the typical insurance agent. I encourage agents to use a presentation template that prompts them to ask questions about what’s important to their clients. How much risk are they willing to accept with their auto and homeowners insurance coverages? Life? Health? Business? If you design an effective presentation template, by the end of your meeting, you’ll have:

  • set high expectations for the level of customer service your agency offers.
  • determined appropriate coverage for auto and homeowners or renters insurance.
  • assessed your client’s interest in life, health, and retirement products.
  • discovered if your client requires business insurance.

An example of closing on value vs. cost

Asking questions about acceptable risk and offering solutions tailored to your client’s answers eliminate the price objection almost every time because you’re selling on value, not cost. Their own answers to your questions make them aware that they need much more than basic liability.

If your sales presentation had not uncovered their needs, all you’ve done is compete with their current agent on cost. An effective presentation identifies risk tolerance and offers solutions. It allows you to compete on value. It earns you the right to ask them to pay a little more each month for insurance because it explains where the extra cost is coming from: a more comprehensive insurance program.

Essential Office Supplies For Your New Insurance Agency

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Essential Office Supplies For Your New Insurance Agency
By: Michael Miller, Smart Choice® State Director

The paint’s fresh, the sign’s new, and you’re anticipating taking your first client phone call over your new phone system. You’ve got your staff trained on your new agency management system and remembered to purchase E&O insurance before you opened your doors. Your new agency is off to a great start!

Having these basics in place is no doubt important, but don’t forget the little things: pens, printer paper, sticky notes, highlighters, staplers, scissors, file folders, desk organizers, and even presentation supplies for when you host your first client meeting. These products seem inconsequential, but they are vital to keeping your agency running efficiently.

Here’s my shopping list for essential insurance agency office supplies.

Buy in Bulk

  • Copier paper
  • Envelopes
  • File folders
  • Hanging file folders
  • Ink and toner
  • Legal pads for taking notes
  • Pens and highlighters
  • Presentation folders for client meetings
  • Staples and paper clips
  • Sticky notes

Buy for Each Desk

  • Desktop tray or other organizer
  • Desk or wall calendar
  • Easel and easel pad
  • File sorter
  • Scissors
  • Shredder
  • Stapler

Buy for the Agency

  • Dry-erase board for your conference room
  • Filing cabinet system
  • Projector for your conference room

If you’re thinking the cost of these supplies adds up, you’re right. It’s common for agencies to spend thousands of dollars a year in office supplies. Wouldn’t it be great to get a discount and free shipping? Some office supply companies will provide discounts and free shipping on orders over a certain amount. Make sure you ask!