Whether you’re a fan or not, much can be taken away from the inspirational month-that-was in the world of sports. A humble twenty-one year old wins The Masters in dominant fashion and our Wisconsin Badgers make it all the way to the National Championship game. Two clear examples of how hard work and preparation combined with competitive perseverance can take you to the pinnacle of your craft. It’s no different in the insurance world.
No matter the role one plays in their agency it is imperative to be a consistent and reflective practitioner when evaluating the competition. What will it take for your agency to be successful in today’s market? What can I do personally to ensure this success? The competitive world of insurance continues to evolve and without constant reflection it is easy to fall behind. Being great at something and winning in today’s marketplace boils down to preparation.
How will you compete in the next decade to provide your clients with the very best products and pricing? How can we be better at protecting our client’s assets while remaining competitive in pricing? With so many competitors in our industry, including all of the direct writers, we need to prepare our agencies now more than ever.
Enter GOOGLE Auto Compare. At some point this could become one of the largest insurance agencies in America. Think about the amount of underwriting data they have already acquired on people in this country. The integrity of this particular issue, however, is better left for another article.
We need to clearly identify and understand our competition if we, as independent agents and PIA members, are going to compete. What is your agency’s strategy for success? Are we ready for automobiles that drive themselves? Did we really ever doubt that Walmart would be selling auto insurance after they sell everything else? How prepared are we for the unknown and the changes that lie ahead?
What is your agency’s mission statement?
"I have a Keener solution with every alternative"
There are real threats to our agencies and real competition coming down the pipeline. We must take off the blinders and not coast to the finish line. We love our clients because they are our friends, our families, our neighbors, our teachers, our police officers and our veterans. Let's show them we care and the trusting experience they receive with us is an element that cannot be duplicated from a large-scale company.
How ready is your agency for the next generation of consumers? It’s a serious consideration that must be part of your agency’s perpetuation plan. How trained is your staff on different buying techniques and behavioral traits of the Y generation?
Here are some things that I have done to help my agency compete and how I’m constantly trying to prepare myself and my agency to win in this marketplace. Maybe one of these can help your agency win an account:
· CIC- Knowledge is Power: People buy products they don't know about from people that can easily explain things to them. People who sound smart typically are smart. Education and more education will lead to more clients. CRM-CIC-CSR-CPCU. Whatever it might be, do something.
· Time is Money: Making the transaction as seamless as possible leads to great referrals. Consumers don't have nearly as much time as they once did with so many other distractions getting in the way. Have highly effective quote request forms right on your website for prospects to complete in just a few minutes
· Actively Market Your Abilities: Share your success with your clients, this will foster loyalty and help generate referrals. Broadcast on your social media pages what you have done for others, and continue to update your testimonials on your webpages. Plug in a link when you email out a proposal to a prospect you think might be on the fence
· Accessibility: Insurance claims, questions and concerns never sleep. Now this may not be for everyone but I like to have my office phone forwarded to my mobile phone when I’m not there and all of my emails coming to my smartphone so that I can be available to my clients 24/7. This is how I can win in this marketplace
· Make Insurance Fun and Engaging for the Consumer: I always thought the one agency that can figure out how to make 'purchasing a promise from an insurance company that if something bad happens to them they will be well taken care of' feel like sipping margaritas on the beach would be a billionaire. Have fun in your conversations and keep the mood light.
· Make Social Media Work For You: Put yourself out in the social media platform and don't be afraid to fail. It's better to have failed on social media than to not have tried. Your Google ranking will go up the more engaging you are on social media
· Get Creative With Your Website: Think about what people want to see when they are on the Internet. Make your website fun. Engage people on your website and BLOG on your website. You have the expertise and knowledge so share it with others.
· Educate Your Clients: Consistent emails and constant contact builds rapport as an expert in your craft and empowers the consumer to engage in the decision making of their future. Allow them to be in control.
Agencies that embrace competition and continue to be innovative will thrive and experience huge success. Agencies that can identify exactly what their competition’s next move is before it’s ever played will experience huge success. Agencies that have a well thought out game plan that encompasses everyone’s input equally from the owner down to the janitor will experience huge success. As the old adage goes, an agency is only as strong as its weakest link.
Let's prepare our agencies to outsmart and defeat our competition and show all insurance consumers exactly why independent insurance agents bring so much more. SELL IT BECAUSE WE DO