As a national specialty provider of collector vehicle and collectibles insurance, American Collectors Insurance has been privileged to work with thousands of independent agents in our 30 plus years. Some of them — just like their customers — are collectors of classic vehicles or collectibles and want to meld their business with their passion.
Others simply are leveraging the enthusiasm of collector customers to their best advantage.
Still others are just trying to close a single account.
Among all these agents there have been a good number whose marketing savvy and customer relationship skills are truly remarkable, and whose tactics are worth sharing here.
Follow the passion
Customers value an insurance provider who can speak to their enthusiasm for, well, whatever. So, if a business owner you are trying to woo is obsessed with his 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, brush up on your hog-speak. You don’t have to become an expert for him to appreciate your effort. Many agents we work with have made significant inroads into specialty communities with just a beginner’s knowledge of a subject. Don’t just insure stuff — insure passion.
Go with what you know
Some agents do have a hobby of their own — and have been highly successful in transforming that passion into commission. We know many agents who began selling specialty vehicle insurance because their car buddies needed help— only to find that their knowledge and enthusiasm were highly valued among other collectors. But this lesson can extend to many other fields.
The Pennsylvania agent who is leveraging his knowledge of horse racing to attract a large association in that sport. The New York agent who transformed his love of boats into a national program. The scuba diver who realized that scuba shops were an insurance niche he could service well. Think about what you love.
Fully engage your customers
Too many agents spend too much time and too much money chasing too few new business prospects when their existing customer base remains virtually unmined. But smart agents are using their existing client relationships to cross-sell additional coverages in all lines.
We’ve seen our agents use a single collector vehicle policy as the proverbial foot in the door. They’ll then point out that the savings realized by the specialty coverage could easily go toward the purchase of an umbrella policy. And sometimes there are additional collections in the same household that customers don’t realize need special coverage, such as figurines or holiday collectibles. And since collectors generally have high incomes, nice homes and multiple standard vehicles, it’s not long before an agent has wrangled the whole personal lines account.
Sure, we’ve all had that moment when we’ve wanted to toss a computer out the window. But, let’s face it, technology has transformed our business, and savvy agents are fully leveraging those capabilities. Every day, we see agents who are utilizing their agency management systems to generate compelling marketing pieces for existing customers and prospects. And, with so many Americans regularly accessing the Internet for research, purchasing and service, many agents also are seeing the value of online quoting and customer care.
Sell the service
We all talk about insurance being more than a commodity, but we don’t always emphasize the service component that independent agents deliver.
We know, for example, that consumers value choice of markets, customized policies and advocacy during a claim — so, smart agents talk to their clients about how they deliver on those priorities.
Have some fun
Life’s too short and the work day’s too long to be doing things you don’t love. The most successful agents we’ve seen are the ones having fun with their work:
The agent/car enthusiast whose biggest “business trip” each year is riding on the Hot Rod Power Tour. (Tough duty!) Or the Lionel collecting-agent who writes a national column about model trains.
It’s been a great ride so far, and we look forward to another 30 years of working with — and learning from — independent agents.