25 Ways to Grow Your Independent Agency in 2013

By | December 17, 2012

As the calendar flips to 2013, growth-minded independents must decide how to build their agencies over the upcoming year. The options are endless, and they straddle both the physical and digital worlds. Here are 25 ideas for growth. There are plenty more, as well.


Establish a full- or part-time position tasked with managing the agency’s digital and traditional marketing programs. Hire a marketing major straight out of college, or reassign a sales-driven CSR with solid communication skills.

Add an inexperienced producer. Hire an aggressive greenhorn or attract a skilled salesperson from another industry and teach them the business.

Open a sales-only office in a neighborhood or town where you want to grow.

Hire a veteran producer away from a competing agency when it is legally and fiscally feasible.

Establish quarterly prospecting and production goals for all seasoned producers and track their results. Don’t let costly veterans sit on renewals and sell only by referral.

Accept quality brokerage business from carefully selected producers when your carriers are agreeable.


Open a virtual office where you sell exclusively online. A company service center (or a dedicated team of in-office CSRs) handles client service.

Open a sales-only office in a neighborhood or town where you want to grow. Perform most service functions through your main office or a company service center.

Buy a local agency and roll its book of business into yours — or maintain it as a separate operation.

Web and Social Marketing

Evaluate the contemporary nature of your agency website. Update its appearance and content as needed. Consider adding visitor-centric features like real-time personal lines rating and all-hours client service.

Establish a viable and continuous social media presence on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Post creative and interesting content that leads back to your website.

Have every agency producer activate a LinkedIn profile, post meaningful updates, and explore the network for viable new business leads.

Record brief informational and promotional videos, and post them on your own YouTube channel.

Don’t confuse random social networking posts with actual marketing. It’s merely a feel good activity that takes scarce time away from more productive efforts.

In-Office Marketing

Promote personal lines sales to commercial lines-only accounts, particularly to your top clients and their management teams. This adds business and helps keep rival agents at bay.

Offer flood insurance to every eligible homeowner and commercial property insured.

Establish an actively monitored program to promote personal lines CSR lead identification, cross-selling and upselling. Feature direct mail/email/social media campaigns to attract “missing” auto and homeowners policies.

Routinely request referrals and testimonials from quality insureds.

Systematically re-solicit desirable lost policies and failed new business proposals.

Run contests between CSRs and producers to see which group uncovers more salable leads.

Organize a renewal review program for personal and small commercial lines. Use print and web-based client-completed surveys, in addition to face-to-face and voice-to-voice reviews.

Start or expand your financial services department. Cross-sell life insurance to every salable insured, and offer retirement planning to baby boomers.

Additional Marketing

Promote umbrella policies to new personal lines prospects. This sells umbrellas plus gathers marketing information on the person’s underlying policies.

Open the doors of new commercial lines prospects with undersold but important contracts like cyber-liability, data breech and flood.

Match up viable commercial target markets with specialized programs and policies. Engage and attract prospects in conjunction with supportive carriers and managing general agencies.

Take full advantage of company co-op advertising programs. Don’t waste this generous subsidy.

About Alan L. Shulman

Alan Shulman, CPCU, is the publisher of Agency Ideas® sales and marketing newsletter (free basic subscription at www.agencyideas.com/join). He is also the author of “500 Sales Ideas for Commercial Lines Producers” among many other P&C sales resources. Email: alan@agencyideas.com. Website: www.agencyideas.com. More from Alan L. Shulman

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West December 17, 2012
December 17, 2012
Insurance Journal West Magazine

New Players (New insurers, brokers and vendors that are less than 2 years old.); Buyers Guide