Get Ahead on Sales with These Agency Marketing Tips

Running a successful independent insurance agency has always had many challenges: competing with direct writers, recruiting top talent, and adapting to ever-increasing regulation, to name a few. However, there are many things your agency can do to strengthen relationships and grow your business, even when times are tough.  Here are a few:

Know your customers. A quick way to impress a new or prospective client is to simply do your homework. “When the customer sees you’ve invested time into understanding his business, there is a certain level of trust established right away,” says sales consultant Barry Farber. For established clients, the same is also true. Jackie Donnelly of Heffernan Insurance Brokers recommends asking questions of your clients, even when you feel you know their business well. “Be alert to details that matter to the client and recognize what makes every encounter with each client unique,” Donnelly remarks.

Expand your niche. Agencies that take a generalist approach to insurance have found a harder time staying competitive with commodity insurance sellers. However, specialization is one way independent agencies can really differentiate themselves from the competition. “Pick your best niche and expand it like crazy,” suggests Agency Revolution’s Michael Jans. “A well-picked and ‘niche-branch’ can outperform the entire agency.”

Build a positive culture, agency wide. While you may carefully hire and offer plenty of incentives for your sales team, it pays to have a happy staff across the board. Tommy McDonald of MarshBerry compares your agency to a football team. “Producers are the quarterbacks of a growth team, but key technicians and high-level servicers are your linebackers.” Aimee Woodall of The Black Sheep Agency agrees. “There is strength in numbers,” Woodall says. “Look for people who are excited about the work you do and highlight them. You’ll suddenly find your brand popping up in more places: in conversations, blog posts, and Best Company lists.”

Simplify your speech. Whether you’re making a new pitch or dealing with a client you’ve had for years, speaking outside of your audience’s realm of knowledge is a surefire way to alienate them. So, nix the complicated jargon and insider speak. “Pride yourself on being able to explain the concepts quickly, clearly, and simply,” offers TerraCycle’s CEO Tom Szaky. “The biggest problem in sales is client confusion. Confusion does not lead to a yes.”

Talk to your clients. Novel concept, right? While emails and texts are extremely convenient, sometimes it takes an actual conversation with your client for them to clearly communicate their needs, concerns, and expectations. “Have broad, open conversations with clients and prospect clients to learn about where they are in life.” Laura Packard of American Collectors Insurance suggests. “As you review their insurance needs, use that conversation as the guide for what your clients value most.”

Carrie Charity Murphy is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions and Improv comedienne based in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives with her husband Ben and their two dogs, Sprocket and Ms. Brisby.


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