Every insurance agent can become a great networker and boost their business by following these six tips.
Ask any independent insurance agent about the most rewarding part of their job, and you’ll likely get the same answer: finding the perfect insurance solution for a client. Ask them about the worst part of the job and you’ll likely hear another common refrain: going to crowded, noisy networking events.
As hard as it may be, insurance agents do need to regularly network to make contacts and build their book of business. When you approach networking with the right mindset and a well-thought-out plan, however, it not only becomes much less painful; it can help you build important connections in the industry and ultimately generate revenue, as well. Here are six tips that will help even the most reluctant agent succeed at networking.
1. “Pitch” Perfect
Every agent needs an effective elevator pitch, a brief synopsis of who they are and what they do. Remember, you have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention at these events. Your pitch should be succinct, but also memorable enough so that the person you’re talking to will want to connect with you. When writing your pitch, a good rule to follow is to focus on what you can do for the other person rather than tout your agency’s accomplishments.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Many agents show up at networking events believing they’ll come away with several deals in their pocket. When that doesn’t happen, they leave disappointed, vowing never to network again. Don’t forget that the point of networking is to start a relationship with a person that will eventually result in a business opportunity. Rather than view networking affairs as a time to seal deals, target realistic and measurable goals, like handing out some of your business cards or providing your email to a certain number of guests. Concentrate on making connections, not making deals.
3. Broaden Your Networking Circle
Insurance agents shouldn’t confine their networking activities to just insurance-related events, or even the local chamber of commerce. As its name suggests, Meetup.com lists local get-togethers for business people. Alternatively, agents can volunteer in the community to get in front of prospective clients. Other professionals such as mortgage bankers and real estate agents have clients in need of insurance, so agents should attend their functions, as well.
4. Ask Questions and Take Notes
You’ll never know if the people in the room have a need for your services if you don’t talk to them about their challenges. After making introductions, ask them some basic questions you’ve prepared beforehand (“What line of work are you in?”), and jot down their answer on their business card. The questions don’t have to be about insurance; ask about their families and hobbies, too. Inquiring about the other person shows you’re interested in them and paves the way for a fruitful business relationship.
5. Bring a Colleague
You don’t have to go it alone. If you find networking by yourself too stressful, bring along a colleague to help you relax. Having an employee or partner at the event can only increase the number of connections you make in an evening.
6. Follow Up!
All the introductions, business card exchanges, and chats won’t count for anything if you don’t follow up with the contacts you’ve made. Soon after the event, send an email, connect on LinkedIn, or call them. Although you probably won’t seal a sale just by following up, you’ll lay the foundation for a continuing relationship that will eventually generate revenue.Networking can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Agents who enter networking events armed with these smart strategies will reap bottom-line rewards for their agency. Networking is one of the best ways to generate business, so start doing it now.