How effective is your life and health insurance sales process?
Do you have an effective process behind your sales initiatives? For many agencies, the process behind your sales efforts is key to finding success.
Having a process in place gives your sales team peace of mind and direction on what they’re doing, when, and why. Those are crucial insights to help your sales agents find success and convert more leads and opportunities.
Even if your goal is not to grow but instead to find efficiencies or streamline your processes, having a process in place will make a difference in your agency. So, start at the top with conversions. This blog will discuss the 5 steps you should be following to take your leads from interested to invested.
Note: This blog is high-level of what you should be doing to convert clients. To get more into the nitty gritty of what your expanded sales process could (and should!) include, see the following blogs:
Step 1: Bring in the Lead (Interested)
There are generally six ways agencies bring leads into their book of business:
- Lead Vendors
- Advertisements (social media, digital, print)
- Word of Mouth
- Personal Leads (cold calling, door-to-door, meet and greets, happenstance)
Let’s talk statistics first:
- When referred by a friend, people are 4x more likely to make a purchase
- Customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate
- Referred customers have an 18% lower churn than customers acquired by other means
Referral marketing can be one of your most lucrative marketing efforts to drive lead generation, grow your business, and increase your client base. They get top marks because they’re personal and trustworthy. See Step 5 to learn more.
Buying Leads from Insurance Lead Vendors
Using lead vendors is a tried and true option for many insurance agencies—but not every lead vendor provides the same quality. When using lead vendors, track success, quality, and cost to ensure you’re partnering with a reputable vendor that makes a difference for your bottom line.
After you get the leads, work through them as quickly as possible. Speed to contact is the name of the game in insurance sales. Similar to the saying “the early bird gets the worm,” 50% of sales go to the first salesperson to make contact.
Contact leads early and often. For more ideas on how often, when, and what methods to contact insurance leads, download these Lead Nurturing Email & Workflow Recipes.
In our digital age, it’s critically important that you have a digital presence like a website (and one that’s up-to-date!). Your website is an excellent opportunity for you to start the sales process.
Ensure you have a lead form on your website. Take your efforts to the next level and connect your lead form to your industry-specific agency management system (AMS), giving you more opportunities to add automation, streamline your efforts, and ensure you have speed-to-contact.
In AgencyBloc, you can use our built-in Lead Forms and connect them to Automated Workflows that notify you instantly when leads come in from any of your Lead Forms. You can generate task assignments and/or email notifications to help you stay ahead of your competition.
We cannot stress enough how vital speed to contact is during the interested stage. The faster you move, the more impressed the lead will be and the more likely you’ll be to close the deal.
Step 2: Nurture the Lead (Interested)
We talked about this briefly above, but once you have the lead in your funnel, you must nurture them. Remember, if you’re not courting your leads, then another agent will. Put a process behind your sales efforts to ensure consistency throughout your agency and increase your chances of conversion.
The keys to an effective sales process:
- Have a documented sales process
- Get buy-in from your agents
- Thoroughly train all of your agents (new and old) on the process
- Use sales software like a sales funnel or sales pipeline tool
Ready to get started with your sales process? Here are some articles that will help:
Step 3: Convert the Prospect (Invested)
Just because the lead becomes a client doesn’t mean you stop keeping tabs on them. Quite the opposite, actually. Once they enroll, make sure they’re escorted through their onboarding.
Employ automation to nurture the new client and ensure they have all of the support they need. You can build workflow automation that:
- Monitors policy submissions
- Alerts agents and clients of approved policies
- Provides regular and meaningful check-ins
- Tasks the agent with necessary to-dos for continued nurturing
- Updates agents and clients when policies are coming up for renewal
These are policy-based automation ideas, but there are so many others you can use to stay in touch with your clients, deepen the relationship, and ensure you’re providing them the best support possible.
Here are some resources that can help you create these processes for your agency:
Step 4: Retain the Client (Invested)
Make the relationship you form valuable to your client. In Step 3, we listed a few policy-based automation you can use, but there are other ways to make your clients feel “seen.”
- Remember their birthday. You can send a handwritten card, call, or send an email (all of which you can use automation to generate or remind you to do). You could have more fun with it and celebrate their half birthday to take them by surprise.
- Take notes and read your notes. Notes are crucial. In AgencyBloc, you can pin important notes to the client’s profile to keep that information top of mind. You can also create an inalterable trail of information, conversations, decisions, and more by using AgencyBloc Activities. These help you create a digital history of who the client is, the relationship you’ve formed, and the needs they have—plus, they help with E&O.
- Use a Client Needs Assessment (CNA). You’re a good agent, but it’s easy to miss coverage here or there when you’re busy. Take a moment at their renewal meeting to discuss what they need, how they’re using their current coverage, gaps they’ve found, and what their future holds. Using the CNA at each renewal meeting helps you create consistency throughout your agency and ensure those opportunities aren’t missed.
- Run cross-sell reports. Similar to the CNA, also be sure to keep an updated list of cross-selling opportunities. You can deepen a relationship with a client by adding more lines of coverage to their profile. Don’t know where to start? Here are some templates you can use: Cross-Sell Email Templates for Agents & Advisors.
- Segment their communications appropriately. We all get many, many communications, so ensure the communications (automated and email marketing) you’re sending are relevant and timely for your clients. Create segments in your audience and employ automation to make sure you’re sending the right message to the right person at the right time.
- Take note of their communication preferences. If you have a variety of avenues and options on how you communicate with your clients, then ask them what they prefer. Do they like calls? Are texts better? Snail mail or email? Knowing what they prefer and tailoring your process to match that can make a big difference.
Want more ideas on improving client retention? Here are some resources you may find helpful:
Step 5: Gain Referrals (Invested)
We’re right back at the beginning.
Your book of business is a cyclical process. Use your current book to bring in new business, work that new business, then use them to bring in new business. It’s a great process that allows you to constantly have a fresh source of referrals.
The best way to get referrals? Just ask.
Ask at the end of renewal meetings, print out cards, start an email campaign—the sky’s the limit. As my mother always says, “It never hurts to ask.”
If you’re not using the NPS email, then start now. If you’re unfamiliar with the NPS, here’s a quick summary. You send your clients a one-sentence email.
“How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleagues?”
The client then rates you on a scale of 1 - 10, with one being the least likely. The answers are then separated into three groups:
- Promoters (9 or 10): These clients are your loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others.
- Passives (7 or 8): These clients are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
- Detractors (0 - 6): These clients are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.
Two majorly good things can come from sending the NPS:
Just because a client responds as a passive or detractor does not mean they have to be one forever. Learning which of your clients reside in those sections provides you with the opportunity to move them to be promoters.
Reach out to them, learn where their unhappiness stems from, and figure out how you can improve their overall experience. Remember, you did all that work to bring them on; now, you want to keep them. You may not be able to make every client a promoter, but you will be able to learn why they’re unhappy and make changes to overcome that in the future.
All it takes is a simple ask, and you could have a wealth of new business waiting at your door.
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This blog was originally published on September 4, 2018, and updated on July 21, 2021.