Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’
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.
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!!
Selling with the Stars
People often buy based on emotion and then use logic to support their decision. Hollywood has perfected the art of tapping into our emotions: happy, sad, anger, fear, and hope to name a few. What lessons can sales people learn from Tinseltown to increase our success in business?
- Know their emotional motivation – which of the 4 major emotions is driving your customer’s need? Glad, Sad, Mad and Fear are powerful motivators, knowing where your customer is coming from will help you tailor your approach to showcase the value of your product and service.
- Create a Unique Brand/Image – in the movies, they used “hooks” to get your attention and keep you interested. Think of all the classic lines, unique names, theme music and character names that are iconic in our culture. Bogart, Grant, Taylor, Bergman, Hitchcock are still relevant names in our society. Find your unique brand or tag line and use it to set yourself apart from your competition.
- Customize your message to the Audience – “Toy Story” appeals to a much different audience than “Star Wars” or “True Grit”. Know your audience and target your approach to appeal to their sensibilities. Some people prefer “formal” instead of “informal” approaches. Don’t expect a “one size fits all” approach to yield the level of success you want to achieve.
- Cover the Details – ever watch a movie and catch the lack of continuity between scenes? My youngest son loves to catch those inconsistencies in a movie and point them out to me. You know what I’m talking about; the clock in the background shows 10:00am in one frame, they pan away and come back to the clock within a few additional frames and now it shows 5:30pm! Make sure you have your facts straight and details covered. This builds confidence and loyalty with your customer.
- Edit – that age old adage “less is more” is very true! Cover the relevant facts and shut up. Let the customer talk, they will tell you a lot if you give them a chance. Truly listen to what they are saying and you will gain invaluable insights into their motivations and needs.
- Tell Good Stories – the customer has to feel like you relate; that you share common experiences, can empathize with their needs and help them with their situation. Showing you can offer relevance, value and put their interests first, will help build long term relationships.
Building Stronger Customer Relationships
One of the easiest and most effective ways to grow your customer base is through existing clients. What better advertising than loyal, happy, long-term clients giving you a “two thumbs up” endorsement!
Use these tips below as a guide to success:
- Be Authentic – people usually know when they are being given “the treatment” and they also recognize when someone genuinely has their best interests in mind. Be upfront and honest, it pays tremendous dividends.
- Don’t Rush – you are building for a long-term relationship, and that takes time to earn your customer’s trust. Let your actions over a period of time speak for your intentions.
- Build a Partnership Relationship – get to know your customer and what they need or what their goals are long term. By understanding their needs and goals, you can then tailor your efforts to “assisting” them meet those goals. Making the transition from “just another” company to being perceived as someone with a personal investment with them is HUGE!
- Acknowledge Loyalty – if your business permits loyalty programs, discounts, special offers, then get moving! If not, then identify a means of recognizing their loyalty by hosting special events or sending cards of appreciation on anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. If you’re sending a card, at a minimum, personally sign your name…. nothing is worse than a personalized “stamped” signature!
By thinking about how you would like to be treated if you were in the customer’s place, you will be well on your way to building a strong customer following, who will be one of your most effective marketing tools!
Why Aren’t You Closing On Leads?
Think about your selling style. Do you overwhelm the prospect with your company’s credentials, your credentials, never take a breath between questions or truly listen to the answers? One of the hardest things to learn in sales is the power of silence! How many times has someone “talked” a customer out of sale…. In my experience, far too many! Review these thoughts and see if they help your close ratios.
- Provide Value – don’t focus the discussion on the “features”, yes they are important, but spend more time discussing why your services add value, meet a specific need of the client and benefit them by doing business with you.
- Listen to Your Lead – ask a question and “really listen” to their response before you start formulating your response in anticipation of what you “think” the customer is going to say, they may surprise you! We have only ONE mouth and TWO ears for a reason…. Use them accordingly.
- Stop Talking About Yourself – the lead is not really interested that you are a top producer, #1 in your Division, or in the President’s club. They want to know what you can do for them and help meet their needs in the most cost effective means. Focus on them; people like to hear their name and talk about themselves, you’ll learn a lot about them if you give them a chance.
- Review Your Lead Providers – if you buy online leads, review the close ratios by lead provider on regularly scheduled intervals. Look at bounce percentages, watch for stale lists and see who is giving you the higher ROI.
- Mine Your Database – you’ve invested time, money and resources to generate leads, so don’t give up on them too early. Take a long term approach to earning their business. Using a drip email campaign program like AgencyIQ will keep you in front of the lead on a consistent, long term basis. Using AgencyIQ’s powerful, customizable drip email system is an automated, cost effective tool that will help you improve your ROI and conversion ratios on those valuable leads.
Give AgencyIQ a call and let us help you get the most out of your leads and increase your close ratios!
Staying Relevant As An Agent
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!!
The 3 Types of Customer Service Calls
Really? Why would an Internet company blog about telephone calls? Simple….. we all use the phone to interact with our clients. There is still something to be said for having that “personal” contact that is still essential to providing a well rounded customer service platform. Let’s take a look at 3 types of customer service calls and some ideas and tips on how to provide an effective, loyalty building experience for your clients.
1) Informational – pretty straight forward, the client has questions regarding your company, services, coverages etc…..
2) Problem solving – the client has an issue that requires your assistance to resolve. This is an opportunity to shine and earn a customer for life!
3) Angry beyond reason – redirect to #2 – the client is definitely not happy, wants to bend someone’s ear and set things straight! The goal here is to get them back to status #2.
The key to successfully negotiating all of these scenarios is to LISTEN carefully to what the client has to say! Don’t get ahead of yourself and start forming a response in your mind before they finish their statement, really listen to what they are saying. Confirm what you’ve heard back to the client, using the appropriate tone of voice. Once you’re both on the same page, respond with positive words, your willingness to assist with the request. If it is a problem solving opportunity, be compassionate and empathize with the client. Be prepared to offer alternative solutions to counter the sometimes unreasonable solution requests. Don’t make any promises you cannot keep and honor any time line commitments you make to respond to the client. By quickly addressing the issue, following through with your commitments, you can earn a client’s business… for life! For those dreaded angry beyond reason calls, take a deep breath, let the client air it out and don’t take it personally… I know, easier said than done, but you can do it! Sometimes, simply saying “I’m sorry”, or “I apologize” can diffuse a tense situation. The goal is to get the client beyond being mad and focusing on a solution to their problem (#2), which is at the root of their anger.
At AgencyIQ, we strive to provide excellent, effective, timely customer service. If you need assistance, use our video trainings, email, on-line chat or call one of our customer service reps… We look forward to hearing from you!
SPAM, SPAM, SPAM,SPAM……
If you happen to be a Monty Python’s Flying Circus fan, the word spam brings a smile to your face and fond memories of their quirky British humor. But for most us, SPAM can create all kinds of heartburn, headaches and worries. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 set guide lines for the use of the internet to send commercial emails. How does this affect your email marketing campaigns? If you follow a simple set of guidelines as outlined by the FTC, you will be in compliance and worry free! Check out the list below:
• Don’t use false or misleading header information
• Don’t use deceptive subject lines
• Identify the message as an ad
• Tell recipients where you are located
• Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails from you
• Honor opt-out requests promptly
Take a few minutes to review your emails and you will probably find you are already complying with these requirements. AgencyIQ has gone to great lengths to make sure that all of our clients comply with the CAN-SPAM laws. If you have any areas of concern about your emails, use a simple rule of thumb…. If you received this email, would you feel like you were being mislead, could you find the sender if you needed to, and could you stop the messages if you wanted. There are a number of individuals and some organizations that are extremely concerned with being found in violation of this law, some to the point of nearly paralyzing their email marketing efforts. If you have specific questions regarding this Act, click on the following link http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus61.shtm to go to the FTC website for specific guidance. This law is not designed to cripple the use of email for commercial business purposes… it was created to ensure the responsible use of a powerful marketing channel. At the end of the day, email marketing is a significant tool in your marketing arsenal and when used correctly and responsibly, you have no worries. Now, hit the Send button!