Are you ready to take your agency to the next level? There are dozens of things you could do to grow your insurance company, some of them modern and technology-driven, some of the traditional and old-fashioned. A combination of growth approaches from each category is your best bet. Here are just a few that might work for you.
Innovated Strategies to Grow Your Insurance Company
This is the 21st century, so make technological innovation work for you.
It may not be your cup of tea personally, but you simply cannot expect to have a successful small business without a strong social media presence. Why? Because that’s where all the customers are. About two-thirds of American adults are on Facebook, and most of them visit at least once a day. Even more, Americans use YouTube. And statistics show only upward membership trends in other social media platforms – Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter.
Facebook AdsWhat are you supposed to do on all these sites? Run ads? Sure, you probably want some Facebook ads. But what you really want to do is engage with people in a meaningful and memorable way. Consumers expect businesses to supply useful information, clever commentary, and even humor, just like a friend would. There are plenty of corporations with killer social media presences that you can look to for inspiration.
Different Means of Communication
No one uses a telephone like we did even 20 years ago. You are going to have to up your communications game and embrace new ways of getting and staying in touch. Of course, you’re on top of the email, but are you available to your existing and potential clients via text? Skype? Facebook? Twitter? Unless your target audience is retirees, potential clients will assume you communicate like this and may dismiss you as behind the times if you don’t.
Upgrade Your Insurance Agency Website
In this digital age, having a website is a necessity,. So if you don’t have a website yet, create one. However, the key to it all is optimization. If you already have a website, you must upgrade your the technology to meet today’s user needs. Use updated and upgraded back-office tools. Make sure that you use a mobile-responsive website because a lot of people are accessing the net through their phones.
Get on Mobile
Nearly 80% of Americans own smartphones, and they are using them to access the internet. Is your website mobile-friendly? (You already have a fantastic website, right?) Have you noticed how it seems like every business now has a mobile app, even some of the giant insurance carriers? Maybe you should have one, too.
Track User Behaviors and Metrics
Be organized about all this technology. Not only should you map out a coherent strategy, but you should learn how to measure your efforts. Are those Facebook ads generating leads? Is anyone even opening the monthly newsletter you’ve been sending? Does your website lure visitors in and make them linger, or do your visitors just click right through? Data analytics is a burgeoning field, and if you are intimidated by it or don’t have time to learn it, you should hire someone to do it for you. You don’t need to throw things at the wall and see what sticks anymore – all that internet activity can be measured and evaluated to help you craft, refine, and execute a top-notch plan.
Business Tactics for Your Insurance Agency
Here are some other business tactics are timeless and worth remembering.
Be Warm and Engaging
Be a warm and engaging human being that potential and existing clients actually want to talk to. Yes, you’re a salesperson, and no, you don’t want to spend hours with any one client talking about their grandchildren, but every client appreciates the personal touch. Did you write an auto policy for a dad with a daughter in high school? Write that down, so that next time you talk (or email or Skype, etc., see above), you can ask if she’s headed to college. Maybe you wrote an umbrella policy for a client with a second home? Ask about their last vacation in it. You don’t want to sound like a stalker, but remembering one or two factoids will put a smile on the client’s face. A happy client is a long-lasting client and one who refers friends and family.
Hire Good People
Have the Right Staff. Your agency is only as good as your worst employee. Maybe you started out with your neighbor’s unemployed daughter as your receptionist, but if all she can do is answer a phone, she’s holding you back. Find a talented go-getter, someone who brings a variety of skills and a vat of enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter if they know nothing about insurance, because you can teach that. But you can’t teach motivation, eagerness, responsibility, trustworthiness, or conscientiousness, and those are traits you want filling your office.
Become an Active Member of Your Community
As a small local business, you have an opportunity to connect face-to-face. That’s an advantage the big firms can’t compete with. Does your town do a Fourth of July parade? Volunteer to hand out water bottles to the crowds (and better yet, donate some, too). Does your area Little League need sponsors? Is a local charity running a food drive? Get involved with these kinds of events, not because you’ll be handing out your business card (you won’t), but because, over time, people will get to know you. And then, when they need insurance, they will know who to contact.
Find Your Unique Selling Point
Figure out what makes you and your agency unique. Maybe you feel called to go the extra mile for veterans and active duty military members. Or you guarantee an answer to all inquiries within 24 hours. Maybe you love to work with young clients and always be the first insurance policy anyone has ever had. Once you know what your niche is, pursue it with a passion and don’t waste time on anything that isn’t that. If you want first-time policyholders, don’t market to an over-55 community – that’s not your specialty.
Every successful small business owner, whether insurance or otherwise, need to wake up each day excited to tackle mountains. There are so many balls to juggle – client relationships, sales, marketing, accounting, industry news – that you can’t just go through the motions. At the same time, be sure to channel that hunger into true productivity.
Sell Commercial Lines
Level up and start selling commercial lines. This might be a financial commitment on your part, but it’s worth it. The pay-off is greater and this means more investment. But don’t leap just yet. Plan first. Do some research on how you would recruit and maintain potential clients for your commercial lines. This might be a lot of work on your part, but this could definitely boost your agency financially.
If you use clean data and consistent metrics, numbers can give you accurate and detailed information about your business. There are some basics that a successful business simply can’t afford to ignore.
- Cash flow: First and foremost you need to know how much money is coming in and going out. Just like your checkbook, you can’t look at this one bill at a time. You need to know what your monthly expenses are and make sure you have the cash flow to pay them. A cash flow statement should also include items such as inventory and depreciation. An accurate cash flow statement gives you a clear picture of the state of your business. If you are spending more than you are bringing in, it’s time to cut expenses. If you are bringing in more than you are spending, you are in the black and things are moving in the right direction. Keep in mind, it never hurts to establish a 10 -15% contingency fund, because the unexpected happens.
- Profit and loss statements: You should review your company’s profit and loss statement every month. This statement will measure your total expense and revenue for a set period of time. Profit and loss statements show a company’s financial progress and gives you a great snapshot of how your business is performing.
- Price point: You need to know how much you pay for the goods associated with your business and how much you in turn need to charge the customer to make a profit. Your expenses need to be considered in their totality: payroll, product, taxes, office supplies, anything you need to keep the lights on and the business running. Once you establish that total number, determine what you need to charge customers to cover those expenses and turn a profit. Determining the perfect price point also involves some research. You need to carefully review the market and what your competitors are charging. You don’t want to establish a price point that is so high that you lose prospective customers unnecessarily.
It's easy to get consumed by the myriad ways you could grow your business. Resist the temptation to try as many as possible all at once. Instead, focus on one or two areas and set achievable goals. Success rarely happens overnight.
Join a Group and Build Partnerships
It helps if you join insurance cluster groups. This allows you to access and work on additional carriers and new lines. However, it is always better to do your research first. This is important because some cluster groups take control of your policies and impose theirs on yours. They make this as a condition before you can sign up. You would want to avoid joining such groups.
Moreover, you can grow your insurance agency this 2017 if you build partnerships with small-business owners in your area. Research on which business owners whom you can partner with. Make a list of your prospects, such as real estate agents, car dealerships and others. Focus on industries that might overlap with yours. Cut a deal with these businesses so that they can send clients your way. Remember, it’s a two-way street, so expect that they will need something from you in return. And lastly, don’t disregard your co-insurance agents. You can partner with other agents who specialize in lines or carriers which you don’t.
At ASNOA, we are insurance professionals dedicated to helping other insurance professionals realize their full business potential and we want to help you meet your agency goals. Give us a call or send us an email today to see what we can do for you.