Archive for the ‘Insurance News’ Category
Why Upgrade Your Selling Skills?
With all the advances in communication technology, our ability to access information 24/7 has never been greater. It would follow that it MUST be easier and quicker to make a buying decision. I submit, that in many instances, buyers face information overload and decisions are delayed or put off because the decision making process has become more complex. Additionally, the recent economic downturn has made buyers more careful with their available financial resources.
As the buying decision grows more complex, it is essential for those that sell to upgrade their selling skills. To achieve long term growth, you must constantly evolve and improve as a salesperson.
The sales environment has changed. All of us face compressed time issues. We wear multiple hats at work and spend more time interacting with work thru email and text messaging on our mobile devices, which equates to more hours of work! Not to mention normal family activities and functions, that result in a busier 24 hour+ hour day! Maximize your points of contact with a client, don’t waste their time and they will appreciate it and be more willing to listen to your message in the future.
Prospects are more savvy. They grow immune to the same old worn out phrases, expressions and pitches; at some point it just becomes background noise. Find a way to brand yourself as a unique resource, an industry expert and person that provides value and a solution to their needs.
It requires multiple contacts to get the prospect to a point to make the buying decision. Your competition is out their working too! It can take 6-10 points of contact over an extended period of time to get the sale. Utilizing a customizable Drip Email Campaign provides timely, consistent communication with a prospect as they work through the decision making process.
Contact us at AgencyIQ and let us assist you with designing a unique, powerful drip email campaign for prospects, cross selling to existing clients and higher retention ratios for long term customer relationships.
Young Agents Speak out on Generation Differences and Technology Needs
Young agents talk about the generational differences among agency employees and consumers and point to ways in which the generations can work better together and how they can help their agencies attract more young customers. They speak to the inefficiencies in current agency technology and the need to have improved automation to meet their customers’ expectations for a real-time response. The young agents also discuss additional value added services their agencies could provide their customers, as well as urge carriers to provide readily available underwriters.
Check out the full article here…Independent Agents and Brokers of America
Top Online Marketing Trends for 2012
If you don’t have an online presence, 2011 was the year for you to make the move online! If you still don’t have an online presence, things let’s get focused for 2012 and review the list below to see how you can maximize your impact with online marketing.
- Social media marketing goes mainstream. Corporate use of social media has reached a tipping point and will continue to grow inside organizations, especially in customer service. Social ad spending has grown from $2.52 billion in 2009 to $4.26 billion projected in 2011.
- Gone mobile. The evolution and adoption smartphones has taken the market to a very mobile environment. Over 30% of cell phones are smartphones and that category is growing. While email remains the dominate use of smartphones, the explosion of mobile apps creates a tremendous opportunity for mobile marketing. The ability to search on the go is providing a huge marketing opportunity for those willing to participate.
- Online retail is gaining traction. Online retailers continue to take market share from the traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores. While still a small percentage of total retail revenue, it is projected to grow from $166 billion to $235 billion in 2013. Social media will continue to expand its influence due to its ability to target and appeal to consumers early, often and in a cost effective manner throughout the decision making phase.
- Intergration is a reality. Social media marketing is no longer a nice afterthought or “toy” to play with. The new paradigm is a total marketing plan that incorporates social media, mobile, email and traditional methods (TV, print, radio, etc…). All of these methods will mesh together to present a new comprehensive marketing environment.
- Measuring the results. As the dollars invested in social media marketing increase, tracking, measuring and analyzing results will be required. Better social media metrics will be developed to justify the financial investment based on ROI,
As you begin your marketing initiatives for 2012, keep these trends in mind and incorporate online, social media and mobile device marketing campaigns in your plan.
New Year – NEW FEATURES in 2012!
Happy New Year 2012! A new year brings new OPPORTUNITIES…. and AgencyIQ has rolled out New Features that will have a positive impact on your marketing in 2012. The best news is….. they’re FREE!
*Upgraded Email Certificate – promotes improved deliverablity and open ratios for emails to your prospects and clients….FREE!
*Newsletters - send a monthly Newsletter to up to 2,000 recepients per month….FREE!
*Mirrored Emails - receive emails to any email address outside of AgencyIQ… great for mobile applications or remote use and keeps a record of all of your correspondence…FREE!
ALL of these New Features are fully integrated into the AgencyIQ workflow platform and create a fully robust Marketing System for your agency!
Check out these new features in our “Lunch-n-Learn” webinars on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00pm CST. You can also learn more about Newsletters by clicking on the following link Webinar Schedule
Developing Lifelong Customers
As a business, we invest a lot of resources to find, develop and sell new customers. Once we obtain the gratification of a sale, what do we do then? Hope they come back? Maybe buy from us again? Don’t let that treasured client disappear! Follow the steps outlined below and maintain that relationship for life!
- Deliver on promises – sounds simple, but by following through with a commitment, you show your integrity, that the customer is important, and that you have their best interests in mind.
- Exceed expectations – don’t do the minimum! Take the extra step to put an exclamation at the end of their customer experience. Make them think “WOW!” when they walk out the door.
- Make the Customer #1 – don’t sacrifice a long term relationship for a short term profit gain. Do what is right for the customer and keep the door open to additional business opportunities. There is a great deal of truth in the old adage “the customer is always right”.
- Nurture your staff – they are the face of your company! Keeping a loyal, happy, empowered, long tenured staff is one of the single best steps to keeping lifelong customers. Treat your staff as well as you expect them to treat the customers….
- Choose the right lifelong customers – I know this seems crazy, but some customers are just not worth keeping around. Knowing the cost to keeping a customer long term is essential. If you are putting more resources into keeping the customer around than you can ever hope to recover in revenue, it’s necessary to cut them loose. Re-invest those resources into customers that a good fit for your business.
Monitoring your customer’s experience with your company and listening to what they say will help keep you on track in your efforts. Informal surveys, personal observation and simple conversations with clients will provide invaluable clues to how good a job you are doing. Southwest Airlines and Chick-fil-A are doing something right!!
Delivering Great Customer Service
Every company says they “Focus on Customer Excellence”, “Our Customers Are #1”… but how effective are they in delivering GREAT customer service? Review the list below for some insights and ideas on how to create a GREAT customer experience:
- Know your Customers – Who are your chosen customers? What are their needs and expectations? How well are you meeting those needs
- Empower Your Front-line Staff – train your staff to handle customer issues themselves. Allow them to act independently and with flexibility. Nothing kills customer service quicker than “I have to check with my manager”.
- Organization/Importance – Customer service must be a priority for Senior Management! Develop an organizational mentality that facilitates a smooth flow to resolve customer issues and places a priority on a positive, successful resolution to customer issues.
- Turn Problems into Opportunities – if handled quickly, fairly and effectively, you can turn a customer with a complaint into an advocate for your brand!
- Learn from Your Mistakes AND Your Successes – View mistakes by your staff as learning opportunities! Be willing to change procedures or practices based on customer and staff feedback. Review your successes and incorporate those practices and principles into areas that may need improvement.
- Anticipate the Future – Technology changes constantly! Don’t fall into the trap of “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”. The business landscape is piled high with the corpses of businesses that failed to recognize and embrace change. Webchat, email, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter are just a few of the high tech avenues to communicate with customers. Don’t let your customers disappear into the technology dimension without you!
Contact AgencyIQ today for a FREE 15 Day Trial and let us help you provide a GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE for your prospective and existing clients!
Disaster Prevention on a Budget
We’ve discussed risk management in previous blogs, and the importance of identifying, quantifying and understanding business risks. But, what are some simple, inexpensive ways a small business can prevent disaster from upending their business? Review some of the tips below and see if they fit your budget and apply to your business!
- Develop multiple revenue sources – Never rely on one customer, industry or client to be your only revenue stream. Diversity will help insulate you if you lose a high value customer. You should plan on losing at least 10% of your customer base annually, not necessarily through your fault, it’s just the natural flow of business.
- Document It! – The first rule of business is ‘get it in writing”. What may have been understood in a verbal conversation can easily lead to major misunderstandings at a later date….that’s why the court house is full of lawyers. A well defined and thorough written document can save hurt feelings, money and clients!
- Rainy Day Money – You never know when your revenue stream will be interrupted or for how long. Fire, flood, natural disasters or even economic uncertainty can bring business to a sudden stop. Having a reserve fund to see you through slow months or more trying situations can save your business until your cash flow returns to normal.
- Back Up, Back Up, Back Up…. In case you are one of those folks who has never experienced their computer hard drive crashing….YOU WILL BE, it’s just a matter of time. There are so many easy, automatic ways to back up your business data, especially from PC’s and laptops available today. I suggest you consider an online backup system that is cloud based. They are numerous and inexpensive, and are accessible 24/7, allowing you to recover vital data to keep your business moving if those geek gremlins attack.
- Have a Plan – sounds easy, and it really is. Take a few minutes and think about some of the vital activities you, your staff and your business perform routinely. Write them down, make copies, distribute and familiarize key employees with those processes. Then, when someone is out for a day or week or month, a co-worker will know how to turn on the copier, write an invoice or turn on the coffee maker!
Keys to Delivering GREAT Customer Service
Every company say the “Focus on Customer Excellence”, “Our Customers Are #1”…….. but how effective are they in delivering GREAT customer service? Review the list below for some insights and ideas on how to create a GREAT customer experience:
Know your Customers – Who are your chosen customers? What are their needs and expectations? How well are you meeting those needs
Empower Your Front-line Staff – train your staff to handle customer issues themselves. Allow them to act independently and with flexibility. Nothing kills customer service quicker than “I have to check with my manager”.
Organization/Importance – Customer service must be a priority for Senior Management! Develop an organizational mentality that facilitates a smooth flow to resolve customer issues and places a priority on a positive, successful resolution to customer issues.
Turn Problems into Opportunities – if handled quickly, fairly and effectively, you can turn a customer with a complaint into an advocate for your brand!
Learn from Your Mistakes AND Your Successes – View mistakes by your staff as learning opportunities! Be willing to change procedures or practices based on customer and staff feedback. Review your successes and incorporate those practices and principles into areas that may need improvement.
Anticipate the Future – Technology changes constantly! Don’t fall into the trap of “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”. The business landscape is piled high with the corpses of businesses that failed to recognize and embrace change. Webchat, email, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter are just a few of the high tech avenues to communicate with customers. Don’t let your customers disappear into the technology dimension without you!
Contact AgencyIQ today for a FREE 15 Day Trial and let us help you provide a GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE for your prospective and existing clients!
Staying Relevant in Today’s E-Commerce World
Survey results from an online insurance comparison site CoverHound.com indicate that consumers of auto insurance still prefer to deal with local agents versus online or telephone purchases from direct carriers. While direct carriers continue to gain market share, shoppers still prefer that personal connection. That’s great news for agents!
The survey shows that 39% prefer to deal with a local agent, 32% prefer direct contact with carriers and 29% are indifferent. Not surprisingly, 50% of 18-25 year olds preferred a direct carrier association, while only 27% of 41-50 year olds held a similar preference. As an agent, this provides some valuable insights into market demographics and should assist you in defining your marketing strategy. Utilizing online technology should be an important part of you marketing plan. Having a presence online is crucial to reaching a significant percentage of the market, regardless of age, but is essential to reach the younger age demographic. By making contact in an environment clients are comfortable in, you make yourself available to begin the process of developing a lifelong relationship. Reality is, the younger age demographic will probably have less extensive insurance needs early in the relationship, but as they mature, their insurance needs will increase to keep pace with larger homes, more expensive cars, life insurance policies, and health care needs. Branding yourself as a valuable resource that will assist a client with wealth retention and protecting them from loss from young adulthood will create a steady, reliable income stream potential.
The use of online technology by consumers will only continue to grow in the next ten years and beyond. Position yourself NOW to be an active participant with your potential clients online. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at what AgencyIQ can do to assist you with our online program. Our customizable software and drip email marketing campaigns will assist you in growing you business!!
CALLING IT QUITS
Mike Modano, the star forward for the Dallas Stars hockey team, has probably played his last professional hockey game. I was one of the fortunate few to be in the stands for his last Home game appearance. What a night to remember: Modano had an assist on a goal, scored the game tying goal late in the 3rd period and scored a goal in the overtime shoot out to win the game against his nemisis the Anaheim Ducks! Talk about a story book ending to a career….. And a perfect end to a career spent with one organization for his entire career, playing key roles as leading scorer, team captain and mentor and elder statesman in the locker room as his career ended. A truly humble player and man, Mike gave back to hockey and the community; generous with his time, money and talents, the city of Dallas is better for his involvement over the last 16 years. The Dallas Stars have some mighty big skates to fill with Mo’s departure.
In our careers, we’ve all know a few Mike Modano’s. People that embody the spirit of our company, contributing at the highest level, team players, always encouraging those around them and bringing out the best performance of others through their example in action. You just can’t imagine how you’d survive without that person! Unfortunately, most organizations don’t plan ahead in anticipation of key personnel eventually leaving. Do you as a business owner have key personnel that you depend on to carry the load? We all do, but do you have a plan on how to move forward if/when they leave? Succession planning is usually way down the list of strategic planning activities, but it is vital to the sustained growth of an organization that you have a plan for replacing key employees. To keep your company vibrant, forward thinking and prepared, having a potential talent pool of internal or external resources is not only smart, it will save you and your organization a lot of heart ache when the day comes for a key employee to be replaced. As a owner/manager, it’s important to recognize the Modano’s in your organization and look ahead on how to deal with the void after their last “game”.