Basic Prospecting for Insurance Agencies

February 18, 2009

Operating an Insurance Agency

We know from personal experience that internet leads are a great way to grow your insurance agency. When we owned our agency there would be times we received 100 internet leads in a single day. We’d have “lead calling pizza parties” and several staff members would stay until 8pm calling, quoting and selling insurance policies. Before you experiment with internet leads, you have to make sure you’re tapping into the traditional methods of selling insurance. Are you active in your community? Do the neighboring businesses in your area know you exist? When at social or family gatherings are you asking for business and handing out business cards? Do you have to order business cards monthly because you’re mailing them and handing them out on a daily basis or is the box you ordered 6 months ago covered with dust? The thing we have to remember is if you want your agency to produce millions in commission revenue, it takes consistent, persistent, relentless salesmanship and prospecting. When you go to a restaurant, leave a few cards after you sign the check. Asking every person you come in contact who they’re insured with is a great way to strike up a conversation. If you’re on Facebook or other internet networking sites, do your friends know you sell insurance? When you sell a policy, do you ask for referrals every time? When someone tells you they’ve decided to go with your competitor or direct writer, do you ask for referrals? When you have your car repaired, get your hair cut, go grocery shopping or buy a new suit do you hand out business cards and ask who they’re insured with now? Do you mail cards to State Farm and Farmers Agents in your area letting them know you can save them an account by taking the bad apple out of a risk they insure? Does everyone in your Church, PTA meetings, Little League games, Pop Warner Football or any other social event you attend know you sell insurance? This is salesmanship and prospecting at its best. If your office has 1,2, or 10 people, are they doing the same? Before the internet, this is how Insurance Agents built Empires and it still works. In fact, your sphere of influence can produce more business than you can probably handle. So in your next sales meeting, let your staff know you expect them to prospect business. Call Car Dealers large and small, Captive Agents, Life Agents, Health Agents, Smog Inspection stations and any other person or entity you think can refer you business. The key is consistency. Sales People will try this for a day or two and when they don’t see immediate results, quit. You need to make it a habit or a culture in your Agency and you need to follow up with your staff to make sure they’re practicing this on a daily basis. If you don’t follow up on their prospecting, your people won’t prospect. I worked for an Agency 20 years ago and they told me to bring my address book to work my first day. They had me call and quote every person in my address book and mail them business cards. Needless to say, I wrote a lot of business immediately and my sphere of influence knew I was the person to call if they had questions about insurance, wanted to buy a policy or had a friend that needed insurance. Many of us in the Personal Lines insurance business have been spoiled with incoming quotes but with all the competition, soft market, bad economy and increase in direct writers you have to proactively make your phones ring. Now imagine every CSR and Sales Agent in your agency prospecting as I explained above. All of a sudden, investing in internet leads will be a sound investment. You agency is habitually prospecting to generate business and that’s what it takes to succeed with internet leads. If you’re going to call the lead once, or send an email an hour after you receive it, don’t waste your money on internet leads. If Management isn’t willing to lead by example, and manage the people handling the leads, you’ll have a difficult time selling them. Build a sales culture in your agency and your personal wealth will follow. When you have a true sales culture in your agency, EVERY lead is handled as if it’s the last lead you’ll ever receive.