Eggs, juries, roses, even doughnuts– many good things come in a dozen. On the theory that more than 100 of anything seems like a lot to consider, but a dozen seems doable even on the busiest of days, here are 12 out of the 101 sales, marketing and management ideas for 2017 collected by Insurance Journal Editor-in-Chief Andrea Wells for her annual feature report in Insurance Journal magazine. These 12 were randomly selected from 101 in the full report. Where no contributor is credited, the idea came from an Insurance Journal staffer or a shy friend of the publication.
Learn, judge, enjoy, digest and share:
- Break the Mold. It’s common to hit a “sweet spot” in terms of what works in agency management and stay there, focusing on the “sexier” sales side of the business. It’s fine to keep what works, but it’s important to always evolve the management processes for a competitive edge. — Mary Ann Cook, The Institutes
- Use Technology. Better utilize comparative raters, agency management systems or marketing automation to help the agency be more efficient with repeatable tasks. Track lead sources. Know exactly where leads come from. This helps the agency know which marketing dollars are working and which are being wasting. — Laird Rixford, ITC
- Constructive Tension. Adding “constructive tension” to the relationship can indicate the true interest of the prospect. Ask the prospect for something you’ll need later — early on. Continue this with every interaction, setting a mutually agreeable “due date” for each of the next steps. A prospect who agrees to a timeline and delivers accordingly is engaged. Avoid “x-date blues” of working hard on an account only to find the prospect won’t take your call on the inception date. — Steve Pearson, ISU Insurance Agency Network
- Forms Matter. Read your forms and do not assume that because you learned something studying ISO forms that the applicable forms read the same. This is where agencies earn their commissions. — Chris Burand, Burand & Associates
- Welcome Committee. If your community does not have a service that welcomes newcomers to the neighborhood, then start one.
- Area of Expertise. Nearly all million-dollar producers have three to five well-defined niches. What industries are you an expert in? — Jim Wochele, unit manager, sales performance, MarshBerry
- TV and Radio. Host your own local radio or cable TV show featuring events and people in your community. Many local cable and radio operators are looking for content.
- Incumbent Loyalty. Ask prospects one question before you go: “Do you know why people who have a long relationship with their agent still want to talk to me?” We have seen that a long and loyal relationship can lead to: 1) Agent apathy — Agents no longer worry about losing their clients business. 2) “Slow drip premium increases” — each year they are too small to notice but given time-add up 3) “Lack of marketing” — who benefits from a lack of competition? The prospect’s current provider does. — Todd Heller, The Nitsche Group
- Workshopping. Commercial and personal lines producers or agency principals can put on workshops for local businesses to discuss how to promote business locally by leveraging social media, Yelp, email marketing and other tools. Local chambers and realty groups are always looking for quality content in their meetings. This will help with new business and build referral relationships. — Stuart Ganis, Ganis Consulting
- Best Friends. What percentage of your customers own dogs or cats? They might welcome advice on training, local regulations, dog parks, not to mention dog bites and liability — or pet insurance, whether you sell it or not.
- Safety Tours. Arrange for a risk management/safety tour of an iconic building, stadium or event for customers and prospects.
- Get Bored. When you give your mind nothing to do is when the greatest of ideas can emerge. — Alicia Frye, NFP