Showing Your Clients The Value Of An Independent Agent

Working with an independent insurance agent has a lot of benefits, and it’s important that your customers – and potential customers – know about them. You need to show them that independent insurance agents offer value that captive agents cannot. This will prevent them from seeking help from a captive agent, and from searching for quotes on their own. The more that people see the value in working with an independent agent such as yourself, the more they will continue to use your services, and the more likely they will be to bring others on board to use your services. Share the following benefits of working with an independent agent with your customers, so you can help them understand what you bring to the table and why they should consider doing business with you.

take it easy spelled out on blocks.
Take the weight off your customer’s shoulders by doing all the comparing of plans within minutes.

Ease

70% of people say they would rather research and compare plans themselves than speak with an agent. They don’t want to be hassled or given the runaround, and they think that, by cutting out an insurance agent, they’ll get a quicker, easier transaction. It’s your job to show your customers how easy it is to do business with you. Highlight the fact that you can compare plans from multiple carriers for them in minutes, without any obligation, and that you’ll take the weight off of their shoulders by saving them time and frustration.

More Choice

Make sure your customers know what it means that you are an independent agent. One of the biggest advantages of working with you is that you can offer more plan choices from multiple insurance companies. Make it clear that you have access to multiple plans to meet their specific financial and medical needs, and that you can get them the most competitive prices. Show them how you are able to offer an extensive list of comprehensive coverage options, affordable prices, and possibly even discounts that wouldn’t be available to them if they didn’t work with an independent agent. 

Personalized Servicetwo women sitting at the end of a desk with one in a business suit pointing at a laptop screen

Something you can offer your customers that other agents cannot is personalized service and unbiased advice. You work for your customers and not the insurance carriers, and can advise them to make the best choices based on their needs. Show your customers that you go the extra mile to truly understand their needs. Learn their names, treat them like a person, and thank them for their service. Customers might think that most agents just want to make a quick buck, but if you provide them with a more personalized approach, you’ll have a customer for life, and more referrals so you can keep growing your business.

Education

Insurance jargon is not easy to understand, but, as an insurance agent, you have the benefit of being educated on the subject. Let your customers know that you can thoroughly explain to them  exactly how their coverage works, that you can help them with the claims process, and that you can provide strategic advice all along the way. 

the back of a woman sitting down meditating in front of a sunset
Independent agents offer peace of mind by offering 24/7 assistance.

Peace Of Mind

Aside from convenience, the next most important thing to customers is peace of mind – they want to know that they’re working with the best agent and that they’re getting the best plan possible. You can provide this peace of mind by being there for them whenever they need help and by providing the best customer service possible. Tell them – and show them – that you are there to help 24/7, and that you are accessible through multiple channels. But also show them that you won’t overuse their contact information or harass them! Anytime they need help, make sure you are there for them. After all, without your customers, you wouldn’t have a business. Make them your number one priority, so you can keep your current customers and also gain new ones.

Building Customer Confidence

The secret to growing your business is taking care of your customers. You have to build customer confidence and trust in order to build a strong, dependable consumer base. At the end of the day, people buy from people that they trust, but it’s not always easy to get people to trust you when you’re selling insurance. The fact of the matter is, many people simply don’t trust sales people. Don’t let that discourage you! There are some easy ways that you can gain the confidence of insurance shoppers. 

Share Video Testimonialscaucasian hands on a laptop keyboard with "customer testimonial" on the screen

The saying “show, don’t tell” holds true in most situations, including in the world of customer service. People want to see great reviews of a product or business before pulling the trigger on a purchase, so don’t only show your customers the work that you’ve done or have them simply read reviews from your clients; show them video testimonials of customers you’ve helped. People want to know that they are dealing with someone who truly cares about and helps people, and what better way to highlight your personal relationships with your customers  than by sharing how they feel about you in their own words?  

Talk About Yourself/Build A Connection

Build a connection with your customers by letting them get to know you. Don’t try to rush into a sales pitch; instead, start by talking about yourself, your children, and your pets. If your children are in sports or any after school activities, talk about them and your involvement with the school or community. When you share these aspects of yourself, customers will feel a connection with you and will be more likely to look at you as more than just an insurance agent. They will feel more comfortable opening up to you, and in the end they will feel like they have spoken to a real person, not just a salesperson.

Offer Great Customer Service

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Be there for your customers when they need you and make them top priority.

Customer service means always being ready, willing, and able to help. When a customer contacts you, be sure to contact them back as soon as possible. Always keep them informed about any changes to their policies, and serve as a resource center for them. Find any solutions to their problems if you can, and take on their problems as your own.

But great customer service is not just about the practical side of things. It’s also about showing  a genuine interest in your clients and in protecting them. Customers get tired of hearing sales pitches and feeling like they are being strong-armed into a sale. They want to know that you truly care about them, so take your time with them, and ask questions so you can better understand their needs. Over-explain and be empathetic while going over their insurance options, and be honest about what plan will best work for them and why. Be genuine, and your customers will pick up on that and appreciate it.

Build A Strong Reputation

Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Reputation is everything when it comes to gaining customer confidence, so you need to build a worthy reputation for doing the right thing, which means taking the time to genuinely help customers as much as you can without being pushy. If you don’t focus on customer service, you could end up with a bad reputation, and then you can forget about trying to convince a potential customer that you are the right insurance agent for the job. Never stop working on your reputation; if you do end up with any unhappy customers, always take the time to try and make things right if you can.

Make your customers your top priority at all times. Period. There are no shortcuts when it comes to gaining confidence from your customers and potential customers. Provide them with the best service you can, be honest and transparent, and don’t cut corners. In return, you will have loyal customers and boost your sales. It’s as simple as that.

How To Effectively Use Video Marketing

Did you know that YouTube is the second most-used search engine in the world? This makes sense: if you’re looking for a quick answer to a question, what better way to get it than by watching an engaging video on the subject? In fact, in a recent survey, nearly 60% of executives  said that they prefer watching a video to reading a text. If that’s not enough of a reason to start using video marketing, then consider these stats: only 20% of website visitors read an entire page, but 80% watch videos from start to finish. In addition, your chances of ranking on Google goes up 50 times when a video is incorporated into your website. Now that you know why video marketing is so important, let’s look at how you can use this tool effectively.

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Only 20% of website visitors read an entire page, but 80% watch videos from start to finish.

How To Create An Eye-Catching Video

There are many different kinds of videos that you can create, such as “Why work with our agency” videos, customer testimonial videos, videos that answer FAQs, videos that explain types of coverage, or even fun birthday and holiday videos. Before uploading a video, make sure that it is eye-catching, that it will keep the audience engaged, and that it will market your company well. Some tips to consider include:

  • Don’t make your videos too long. Videos under 2 minutes are the most effective, and  most people prefer to watch a video that’s only 30 to 90 seconds long. So if you’re creating, for example, a holiday video, keep it short and sweet by choosing an animated format. On the other hand, if you want to make an explainer video with lots of detail, try breaking the information up into smaller segments. It’ll be much easier for your audience to digest the information if they are only given a little bit at a time.
  • Consistency is key. When you are building your company’s brand, you have to be consistent in creating relevant content that helps and entertains your audience. Don’t stray away from your message and start creating irrelevant content, or your audience will get confused as to what you’re selling and what your brand is all about.
  • Be yourself. If you want to engage your audience, get to the point and don’t try to force humor or emotion into your content. Content that feels forced will just make viewers want to skip over your video to find the answer they’re looking for. Simply be yourself and state what you or your insurance agency has to offer. Try recording a non-scripted video so you seem more authentic.
  • Make your video look as professional as possible. You don’t need to have a high-tech camera, you can simply use your iPhone, but make use of editing apps to make your video look as professional as possible. And always film in landscape mode! act now on a yellow diamond sign
  • Add a call to action- Make sure that you give your audience a way to contact you or your agency. You can add a link to your website or phone number where they can reach you.

How to Market Your Videos

Once you feel comfortable with creating videos, it’s time to focus on how to get your videos seen. Try marketing your videos through: 

  • SEO linking – When uploading your videos on YouTube, add tags, an appealing thumbnail, and a compelling title and description. Make sure your agency’s name is in the title whenever possible.
  • Email – Include your videos in your email newsletter: when videos are included in emails, click-through rates increase by 200-300% and opt-out rates decline by 75%.
  • Scheduling sites– Use a social media scheduling site to make sure you post videos on a regular basis.
  • Social media– Run a video campaign on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter, so that   viewers are more likely to share and spread the word about your business and what you have to offer. Keep your video at the top of your Twitter feed so that it doesn’t get lost  among your new tweets.

    people with laptops and connecting, forming of a network
    Participate in online communities with the same interests as your business.
  • YouTube– Post your video on YouTube  to get it out there, to allow people to share it with others, and to allow them to comment and ask questions.
  • Groups with common interests – Target online communities with the same interests as your business. Participate in conversations or discussions while sharing your video on social media sites such as Facebook or Reddit.

Posting videos is a great way to market yourself and your business. By promoting yourself online you’ll be visible to a wider audience of possible customers. Effective video marketing opens up your business to endless possibilities, and will allow you to stay one step ahead of the game – and your competitors.

Preventing Your Clients From Leaving

Your customers are the foundation of your business, so your number one priority should be holding onto your existing customers. New business is important, but customer retention is more important, especially when it comes to your bottom line. In fact, did you know that it costs 6 times more to gain a new customer than it does to keep an existing one? That’s right, so approaching customer retention with the attitude of “I’ll just find more leads and more customers” is not a great idea. graph of bars going upward with money signs on the first and last bar

When it comes to growing your business, sometimes it’s about quality, not necessarily quantity. You need a solid base of loyal customers. Once a customer is gone, odds are they are gone for good- about 90% of customers who leave a business never return. You can prevent this from happening by building strong relationships with your customers and by resolving any problems that arise – doing so will increase a customer’s loyalty by 30%. To improve your customer retention rate and prevent your clients from leaving, you need to look at what customers want and how you can give it to them. 

Why They Are Leaving

caucasian woman with her hand on her chin looking down
If you don’t tend to your customers except when its renewal time, then you will most likely lose them as a customer.

First, you need to look at why customers might leave your business. Most of the time it’s not because of the price of your product, or because a competitor lures them away. The number one reason customers walk away is that they feel like their agent does not genuinely care about them. 

Are you making this common mistake? You sign up a customer for an insurance plan, and then you don’t make contact with them again until it’s time for renewal, or until they need to make a claim. If so, your customers will feel like there’s no personal touch in your relationship with them; your relationship will feel like a mere transaction. Similarly, if you are not returning your customers’ calls or answering their messages in a timely fashion, that lack of communication will take a toll on your retention rate.

What You Can Do

In short, you have to keep your customers happy, and that means going above and beyond with your customer service. You need to:

  • Build a customer database – Collect information about your customers and keep it in a database such as a CRM. This will keep track of the contact that you’ve had with them, what you’ve spoken about, what they’re interested in, and any problems or complaints that they have.
  • Keep in touch – One way that you can keep in touch with your customers is by sending out personalized emails to let them know about any updates, or any new plans that you think would benefit them. Make sure these emails feel tailored to your customers, otherwise they will just come off like sales pitches. 
  • different apps on a cellphone screen.Offer different channels of communication – This is the most important thing that you can do to retain your customers. You need to give them multiple ways to reach you in case one way doesn’t work. Ask your customers how they prefer to communicate with you, so that you are ready to communicate in that way, whether it is via email, phone calls, texts, or through social media.
  • Thank your customers – People like to feel appreciated and that they are more than just another sale. Go out of your way to thank your customers for their business.
  • Resolve any issues immediately – What many business owners and agents do not realize is that customers who are unhappy don’t usually complain – instead, they just end up leaving. So, if a customer does complain, take that opportunity to try and resolve any issues as quickly as you can. Your customer will  appreciate your attention, and will be more likely to talk about you to others.

Having a lot of customers is great! That means your business is booming. But sometimes it’s not all about getting more new customers – sometimes it’s about keeping your current ones happy. Having a loyal customer base is a more sustainable business model than that of constantly finding new customers to replace the ones you’ve lost. Do your best to keep your relationships with your customers strong, so that they never get to the point of wanting to leave. After all, it is not about competitors or price – it’s all about communication, which is completely in your control.

How To Improve Your Business’ Customer Service

If you want to grow your business, then customer service is one of the most important things that you need to focus on. Each interaction that a customer has with your business will either build it up or tear it down. Great customer service leaves customers satisfied, and when they are satisfied they’re more likely to continue to do business with you, and possibly refer you to others. And bad customer service? Just remember that customers tell an average of 15 people about a negative experience versus the 11 they tell about a positive experience, and 51% say they will never do business with a company again after just one negative experience. No matter how focused you are on your customers, there’s always room to improve your customer service so that you can increase your sales performance.

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First impressions are everything when it comes to attracting a customer.

Your First Impression Is Everything

We have all heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And it holds true; first impressions are powerful and memorable. Within a few seconds of meeting you, a customer will have a solid impression of who you are. Studies show that 55% of first impressions are made by what people see (visual), 38% are made by how you speak (vocal), and 7% are the actual words you say (verbal). So if you are meeting a client, make sure you look professional yet approachable, and when speaking with a client, focus on both your tone and what you say.

Feedback Is A Plus

One of the best ways to improve your customer service is by asking your customers for feedback, and learning from it, whether it is good or bad. You can do this by asking your customers to complete a brief phone or email survey at the end of your interaction with them. Use the responses that you get to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can make improvements. 

african american woman sitting in front of a laptop, holding a cellphone to her ear and laughing
Customers want a personal connection with you, so make sure to build a rapport with them.

Build Rapport

All customers want to feel like they are more than just a customer. Build a rapport with your customers by showing them that you care about them. Use their name often and try to build a personal connection with them. Don’t just focus on automated email responses or run-of-the-mill check-up calls. Make your meetings more personal by showing sympathy with and empathy for your customers. Listen to your customer’s complaints, allow them to get it all out, and show that you care while being respectful. If it is something that you can help them with, then make it your problem so you can help them find an appropriate solution. Use phrases like “I’m sorry to hear that…” or “I can understand how frustrating it is to…”

Respond Quickly

Make sure that your customers can easily get in touch with you, and make sure that you respond to any messages within a reasonable amount of time. In a world of advanced technology and social media, there is plenty of opportunity to connect with your customers faster than ever. Return calls within a reasonable amount of time (88% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes), follow through, and always establish the next steps, so that your customer knows what to expect and when they can expect to hear from you.

Communicate Clearly2 women sitting across from each other talking.

The insurance world is a complex one, and it has a language all its own. Customers are coming to you to find the best deals, but they are also coming to you for help translating that language, or because they don’t fully understand the process. Simplify the process as best you can and make everything as clear as possible for your customers. Always end your conversations with a question like, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” or “Is there anything you would like me to go over again?” This gives customers an opportunity to ask questions so they are not left lost or dissatisfied at the end of the conversation.

Admit Mistakes

If you make a mistake, always own up to it, even if the customer hasn’t noticed it yet. This not only builds trust, but also restores your customer’s confidence in you, and  allows you to control the situation. After you correct a mistake or solve a problem, be sure to call and follow up so that your customer stays satisfied with your service.

thank you note surrounded bu flowers, macarons, and a pen
Thank your customers so they feel appreciated.

Thank Your Customers

Always thank your customers for entrusting you with their business. Make them feel appreciated and thank them after they provide you with a new referral, or give them an incentive for providing a referral to you. There are different ways you can show how thankful you are, such as buying them a cup of coffee or sending them a thank-you note. A little appreciation can go a long way.

Getting An Appointment With A Direct Carrier

Whether you are a new insurance agent, or an established one, getting an appointment with a direct carrier is critical to your success. Getting an insurance carrier appointment, or being appointed by a direct carrier, means that you have authorization from the insurance company to act on its behalf. It allows you to have access to the carrier’s products, discounts, and other exclusive deals. It is pretty much everything you need in order to grow your business and revenue. It definitely takes effort on your part to secure an appointment with an established carrier, but we’ve got some advice for getting you there as quickly and as easily as possible.

paper with analytics on it and another piece of paper with resume on it on a table
You need to be prepared with a solid business plan to present to the carrier you want to work with.

You Need a Business Plan

In order to show carriers that you’re serious about selling, you need a solid business plan that shows how you plan to progress over time. Showing carriers that you have goals – and ways to attain them – is a great way to make you stand out from the crowd. Use a template or other online resource to write your plan if you’re not sure where to begin, and keep revising it if need be. 

You Need Good Marketing 

Most carriers want to see that agencies and agents have a solid business plan, but they also want to see that you have a proven track record, experience, and good marketing. They are looking for agents who will generate more business for them, and not simply move one or two customers over to them, so you need to show promise, growth, and profitability. Make sure you are able to produce records to back everything up. Remember, priority is given to those who can demonstrate long-term profitable alliances with carriers – the more appointments you get with direct carriers, the more desirable you will look, so keep trying to build on your successes. 

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Joining a network will give you the ability to get associated with more carriers.

You Should Consider Joining A Network

As the saying goes, “there is strength in numbers,”. This saying holds true for agents. It can be easier to get an appointment with a carrier when you’re part of a large network, so joining one is worth looking into. Joining a network is a great option for new agents who may be worried that they don’t have the proven track record to attract carriers.

You Should Look Into Wholesale 

If you do have problems getting an appointment with a direct carrier, then you should consider a wholesale carrier. Wholesale carriers are more open to working with inexperienced or new agents. Once you get some experience, and you have built up your business with a wholesale carrier, then major carriers will begin to consider working with you.

You Should Research The Carrier

Most carriers will provide a list of requirements on their website that they expect you to meet in order to obtain an appointment with them. Do your research and make sure that you meet all of the carrier’s requirements before beginning the process. african american man writing down in a notebook with a laptop in front of him

Getting an appointment with a direct carrier can be a long and sometimes difficult process, but it’s a necessary step for growing your business. Securing an appointment with a direct carrier will open up many doors for your business, and lead you towards success and profit.

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