Agents don’t need superpowers to be a hero to their clients — they just need to follow these five tips.
As the bulk of insurance processes migrate online via innovative insurtech platforms, independent agents may believe their role in the insurance sales process is diminishing. If consumers can purchase policies via the internet, is there really a need for an agent?
The reality is that the demand for agents is alive and well. J.D. Power’s 2016 Insurance Shopping Study suggests that 50% of consumers still finalized an insurance purchase with an agent, even after doing online research.
That’s because successful agents know insurance isn’t a one-off transactional game; it’s a business centered around developing long-term, personal relationships with clients. To grow their book of business, the most successful agents aren’t just great salespeople — they’re true partners to their clients. Here’s how they do it.
1. They Take the Time to Get to Know Their Clients
The best insurance agents out there don’t want until renewal time or the annual review to reach out to their clients. They check in on a regular basis to see if their insurance needs have changed: Did the client recently expand his or her business? Do they have a baby on the way?
When they meet face-to-face with clients, successful agents learn about the person through meaningful conversations, which are, as marketing consultant Maribeth Kuzmeski of Red Zone Marketing, Inc., writes the “bedrock of relationships. The act of listening — the other half of having a great conversation — shows people you care.”
2. They’re Knowledgeable, But Don’t Use Jargon
Insurance agents have a wide variety of products at their disposal that they can offer to clients. By understanding the unique circumstances of each individual client, they can recommend those best-suited to meet their needs. However, successful agents never slip into jargon or overly technical vernacular that might disengage the client. Rather, they relate highly complex insurance terms into language the client can understand.
3. They Provide Great Customer Service
After a client suffers a catastrophic loss, a successful agent doesn’t refer them to an 800 number; rather, they’ll contact them personally to offer guidance and support in their time of need. Just as importantly, the best agents never make empty promises. Nothing builds trust more than following through for the client — and nothing destroys it more than failing to do so. In today’s digital world, customer service has many touchpoints. Answering inquiries via Facebook and Twitter and other social media channels are great ways to interact with clients and extend customer service outreach.
4. They Provide Real Value
Savvy consumers never buy products based on price alone — instead, they conduct research and try to attain the maximum amount of value on their investment. Successful insurance agents convey that value by fostering deep relationships with their clients, providing excellent customer service, and always putting their client’s needs ahead of their own. When your client is confident he or she is getting a good deal, that bolsters loyalty and retention. According to Christian Bieck, Global Insurance Lead for IBM Institute for Business, value isn’t based on price, but other factors such as quality and transparency.
5. They Actively Market Themselves
Successful insurance agents market themselves on a daily basis. They set aside time to send out fliers, build their database, ask for referrals from current clients, and email or call prospects. During their marketing efforts, some agents may find they assist many clients in one industry, so they market their services to that niche. They promote their business by joining local civic and professional groups and speaking before organizations about insurance issues.
While marketing themselves, successful agents present a professional demeanor and emphasize how they can help people protect their assets through insurance. Marketing to a successful agent is all about touting their expertise so prospects and clients want to work for him or her. In other words, successful agents know it’s not about them — it’s all about their prospects and/or existing clients.
Becoming an insurance hero grows from building trust and loyalty with insurance consumers. Agents don’t need superpowers to succeed. But they do need to provide great customer service, communicate effectively, and offer top value.