In this Blog entry we are going to discuss the basics of insurance sales, how to establish a virtual agency, and discuss what the modern customer is looking for when they shop for insurance.
Throughout the blog we will discuss how the EIA network & platform is designed to enable licensed agents to become entrepreneurs and we are going to give you tips on how to keep your phone ringing with warm leads.
The Basics of Sales
In insurance sales, there are a few basic things that you NEED to know. And it doesn't matter if you have 1 day or 100 years in the industry; sometimes it helps to review the basics.
"This is why they came to you in the first place."
First, the majority of clients that you talk to will know less about insurance than you. Yes, you can broker a deal to save them money. Yes, you can explain the textbook definition of what the coverage limits are; but you are an expert and you can use that to your advantage. Treat each client as if you were holding a class and TEACH them about how insurance works and why we have insurance to begin with. Explain the transfer of risk concepts and allow them to ask questions about insurance. Share your knowledge and experiences even if they will not remember half of it; but this is WHY they came to YOU in the first place.
"Internet Users only read 20% of text"
Second, The industry is changing and we can all see it coming. But exactly how it will change and when it will fully change have been topics of debate for years. We have seen carriers like GEICO excel ahead of their time with technology while we have seen carriers like Nationwide cut their captive agents free and turn them independent.
Today we all have the internet in the palm of our hand. But did you know that the average internet user only reads 20% of text. Now that you know this you can communicate with your clients more effectively. Do not overwhelm them with boring text documents or multiple emails every day. Talk to them; like a human.
"Cool agent, professional agent, or relaxed agent"
Now, establish the identity you want; the cool agent, the professional agent, the relaxed agent. Once you establish your identity sell your insurance products and services THAT WAY because that is who you are. Use your identity to bridge the gap between the digital age and the traditional agency.
"Sell yourself not the policy"
And finally, do not fall into the traditional insurance loop. One example would be "sell yourself not the policy"; this was told to captive agents who were selling products that were not competitive on price. another example is "I saved so-and-so a lot of money, let me help you" and this has been the independent agents bread and butter for some time; but the industry is changing and even captive agencies are allowing for independent brokering of some policies.
It is now Agent vs. Agent
It is no longer captive vs. independent in your cities, it is now agent vs. agent inside your communities. Break free of traditional insurance loops and you will see a change in your quality of client, quality of sale, and the retention of your book of business. Sell yourself in combination with your products. It is no longer "we offer this product" because as an independent agent you are no longer representing a "we".
Change your approach to "i offer this product" and change your delivery to present your new brand image.
For example: "Amy, I have an automotive carrier that has coverage that is killing it with youth drivers. Shoot me a Facebook message and let me see if we can get in with them. You could save some cash or you could end up with some better coverage since your daughter is new on the road. Do you have accident forgiveness now?"
How the modern agent communicates
That is how the modern agent communicates directly with a client through a social channel and establishes their brand identity. Notice the relaxed speech patterns and the inclusion of using a social network for communication. Also notice that the message ends with a question to encourage the client to engage with the agent for further details.
Although it is pretty basic information that you may have heard before, we felt like it needed to be covered in order to set the tone for our blog as we move forward into the evolving world of insurance and risk management.
What is a virtual agency?
First, let's talk about how we got to the the idea of EIA. The founder of EIA, Nathan Quayle, had a vision that the landscape of insurance would be changing and although nobody is sure when or exactly how it will happen we do know a few things. Most importantly, many companies have tried to go fully digital and have had varied success in doing so. Nathan decided that EIA should pivot and allow traditional agents to bridge the gap between traditional insurance sales and the digital insurance era. This is what lead to the EIA Revolution.
An EIA virtual agency is a term we are use that describes the active agents on our platform using social media, websites, blogs, emails, texting and other forms of digital communications to quote and bind insurance policies. Although we promote the work from home idea we want our agents to be able to compete with traditional brick and mortar agencies. The virtual agency platform and brand identity you create will help our EIA agents establish themselves in their local communities.
We provide the tools, technology, training, and tips to allow all EIA agents to become virtual agency owners and with our marketplace (coming soon) we ensure that all agents are equipped to look the part and compete in their communities.
What the modern customer wants...
What is your customer looking for? Regardless of what part of the country you are in, insurance clients all share a few core beliefs. These beliefs have been instilled in them since they were young and EIA will help you navigate around these beliefs in order to convert them to EIA clients.
Local Agent They Can Trust
Customers want a local agent they can trust. They want an agent they can call with questions and someone who can help them in the event of a tragedy. However, many clients do not realize that in most cases the agent is not licensed to handle claims and does nothing more than facilitate transferring the claim call while remaining supportive even if the agent seems more involved than they really are.
The local agent does little to help navigate billing issues other than making the calls necessary and understanding the terminology used on the call. Billings issues are ultimately decided by management on the corporate level located in call centers. Also, a local agent typically does very little in terms of follow up and re-assessing risks for clients. Ask your clients when was the last time they heard from their agents and not just an employee of the agency.
"local agent" is nothing more than a marketing concept
Truth be told, the traditional vision that clients have of their "local agent" is a vision placed in their head by years of marketing. The modern client wants to know 3 simple things when buying insurance:
Is it fair priced?
Where is my money going?
Will it cover my loss?
Outside of those questions, everything else can be handled or facilitated by servicing agents, call centers, claims adjusters, and even smartphone apps. Focus on answering those 3 questions when you are building your brand identity and you will covert more clients than you ever thought possible.
The next blog post will be about fair priced insurance products and services. Look for it next week.