Finding new clients in a changing and increasingly competitive environment is an overriding concern for independent property and casualty insurance agents.
Many agencies still operate in outdated and inefficient ways. Too much time is spent running after clients who don't want or need your insurance products, and not enough time is spent planning and implementing marketing and sales practices that result in a predictable and sustainable pipeline of new clients and relationships.
Building demand for your services takes time and effort. Generating leads eventually requires a little creativity.
Follow these 11 suggestions to acquire new clients and build a successful plan for growing new business:
It may be time to refresh your insurance agency image to attract new clients. (Photo: Shutterstock)
1. Refresh your image.
Is your signage looking tired? Do you need new, quality business cards? Is it time to get a new photo of yourself and your staff to post on your website and in marketing materials?
Does your website need revamped and updated? Be sure to regularly update your website — search engines favor websites that have up-to-date, fresh content. Be sure to include quality content that is free of spelling or grammar mistakes.
Look at what your successful competitors are doing that may help you find new business. (Photo: Shutterstock)
2. Study your successful competitors.
What works for your competitors may also work for you. Where do they advertise? Where do they network? (Source: Janet Attard, "Fifteen ways to find customers")
If you're sure your competitors are doing something better than you, you need to respond and make some changes. It could be anything from improving customer service to changing the way you market yourself, or redesigning your literature and website.
Try to innovate not imitate. Can you do it even better and add more value?
Once you have sold to happy clients, they can help you sell to others by offering positive testimonials. (Photo: Shutterstock)
3. Develop champions of your agency.
Use clients who have been happy with your policies and service to help generate references and referrals. Once you have sold to them, customers can help you sell to others by offering positive testimonials and leveraging a refer-a-friend campaign created by your agency.
Help customers help you by giving them the ammunition they need to tell your story to others. Don't be afraid to ask, 'Is there someone else I can talk to and also help?' (Source: Elizabeth Wasserman, "How to find new customers and increase sales")
Seek out the opportunity to host a community or chamber of commerce event at your insurance agency. (Photo: Shutterstock)
4. Speak at an event or host a local chamber of commerce gathering.
You have plenty of expertise — why not share it. By sharing your insurance knowledge and getting involved in your community, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your connections, as well as your reputation as an insurance industry thought leader. (Source: Briana Morgaine, "Want to grow your business? Here are 8 creative ways to get more customers")
Make sure your website has social network icons so people can follow and share your agency with others. (Photo: Thinkstock)
5. Leverage social networking tools to your advantage.
Aside from Google, most websites get the majority of their traffic from social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter these days. Make sure your website has social network icons so people can follow and share your agency with others.
On the social networks, share information that relates to your insurance business. That way, you're serving the community by becoming a trusted resource for them. (Source: Dan Schawbel, "How to find new business leads")
You can no longer afford to ignore potential clients who are on their smartphones. (Photo: iStock)
6. Be mobile-friendly so today's clients can find you.
As consumers continue to use their mobile devices to discover new businesses and make purchasing decisions, you can no longer afford to ignore potential clients who are on their smartphones. This is good news because there are now even more ways for new customers to find you.
However, there’s nothing worse than trying to view a website that isn’t optimized for mobile on your phone. If potential customers can’t easily navigate your website and find the information they’re looking for...they’ll get frustrated and leave. That’s a lost customer. (Source: "How mobile search can help you find your next great customer")
Leaflet drops are a relatively inexpensive means of getting your name out there and your message across. (Image: Shutterstock)
7. Leaflet drops.
Leaflet drops are a relatively inexpensive means of getting your name out there and your message across. Make sure that the messaging is clear and that you provide appealing reasons for people to come to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask other local businesses if you can leave some leaflets in their shop or office to help reach the largest possible audience. (Source: "Finding new customers for your small business")
Customers love to support businesses that give something back to the community in some way. (Photo: Shutterstock)
8. Sponsor community events and volunteer.
One of the best ways you can get exposure in your community is to sponsor local events, fundraisers, and even youth sports teams. Not only is this a great way to get your name out there for people to see, but it also lets you give back to the community in a meaningful way.
Be careful not to get carried away with your advertising message though — it’s very likely that the event will speak for itself. (Source: Matthew Anderson, "8 quick steps to finding new customers")
Doing volunteer work is also an often overlooked opportunity to enjoy free publicity. Customers love to support businesses that give something back to the society in some way. Most times, all that is required is your time, effort and encouragement.
Build your client base by partnering with businesses that offer complementary services. (Photo: Shutterstock)
9. Build partnerships.
Teaming up with businesses that offer complementary services offers you the opportunity to take advantage of synergy, which can be very effective in building your business. (Source: "7 excellent ways to attract new customers")
For example, to connect with homeowners, you may want to team up with local real estate offices. Auto dealerships or local car salesmen may make great partners to connect with clients needing car insurance. Network with local apartment complexes for potential renters insurance quotes. You get the idea.
Do the unexpected to attract new clients. (Photo: Shutterstock)
10. Be different and break the rules.
Unexpected action gets people talking (and referring). Be open at different times than other insurance agencies. Give out your cell phone number. (Source: "59 insurance marketing ideas, tips and strategies to get all the clients you need")
Write handwritten thank you notes. Focus on making the purchase of insurance easy, quick and affordable. Surprise clients with a special extra — how about a free car wash while they wait?
- Promote flood insurance to clients before spring storms hit.
- Create yard signs to promote homeowners' insurance.
- Offer Uber rides to your office or free parking.
- Follow up with every client after a claim. Be their advocate.
Ask for feedback from prospects that don't purchase policies from you and make changes, as needed. (Photo: Shutterstock)
11. Ask for feedback when prospects don't buy.
Did they find a policy that better served their needs? Did they decide they don't need the policy at all? Did they just postpone their buying decision?
Use what you learn to make needed changes and watch your sales start to grow. (Source: Janet Attard, "Fifteen ways to find customers")