Non-owner P/C producers help drive the independent agency system. They account for a significant share of the commercial lines business written through this channel. Yet too often, these employees must find their own path in the dark forest of sales success.
That’s too bad because it’s good for everyone when management assists producers. There are myriad ways to accomplish this without over-sharing agency commissions. Options include representing competitive carriers, utilizing special programs, buying expirations and appointments, organic marketing assistance and more. This column focuses on: producer publicity.
Some agencies hesitate to publicize their producers separately from the agency for fear they’ll grow their books, at their expense, and then move on. It happens, but good producer relations and a solid employment contract helps to reduce the chances. Besides, with the advent of “free” social media, producers can make names for themselves without any agency financing. So management is wise to join in and help their agents – and the agency – for the same investment.
Give producers the latitude, ideas, and tools to promote themselves. Here are 10 ways to do it.
Start a department
“Promote” producers who focus on particular industries or policies to the head of that department. This department may consist only of them, but it’s good for their ego, business card, and LinkedIn profile. Send a news release announcing its formation to regional business and trade publications, blogs, websites, relevant social media influencers, etc. Include a photo of the producer that’s suitable for the given medium.
Encourage producers to establish individual LinkedIn and Twitter accounts plus their own business Facebook pages. Show them how to post self-authored (or acquired) business insurance information that’s relevant to their client and prospect base – along with some insight into their own non-work interests and personality.
Help producers record informative and entertaining insurance videos, starring themselves. Post the finished product to their LinkedIn profiles and Facebook pages [above]. Potential topics: Happy insureds praising the producer, a photo slideshow of his or her showcase clients, and a list of target-specific risks, read “with feeling” by the producer accompanied by dramatic background music. YouTube and super-short Vine and Instagram videos offer additional options.
Producers can also make audio recordings that ask and answer targeted or general insurance questions. These don’t have to be full-blown podcasts, just audio bites posted to various social media.
Active (but not over-active) participation in target specific groups helps a producer to become known by the membership. These are in addition to individual LinkedIn updates.
Blogs and online newsletters
These modern classics help producers to display their expertise. Populate them with the above-suggested content.
Invite targeted insureds and prospects to sign up for free business coverage or savings tips from individual producers. Use e-lists to drive web visits and to develop tighter connections via social media. Also send list members insurance-related surveys to elicit data worth sharing with external media.
Conducted by the agent and packed with practical tips and visuals, these online meetings are low-cost alternatives to in-person seminars.
It’s cool for agencies to buy ads in select trade publications to promote specific producers and their expertise, such as a “Q&A column” ad. Seeing oneself in print may motivate the agent more than socially posting to digital media. Ask your carriers about co-op cash to assist.
Permit producers to author brief insurance columns for area newspapers or magazines. And when they have the skill set, encourage them to be insurance guest experts on local radio and TV shows.