This blog post is based on an interview with Josh Sterling, Sales Manager at Insurance Associates. It has been posted with his approval and permission.
Note: AB denotes AgencyBloc and JS denotes Josh Sterling
Continuing with our Expert Series blogs, we had the opportunity to ask Josh Sterling, Sales Manager at Insurance Associates, to share some sales best practices and advice for new and seasoned insurance sales professionals. Thank you, Josh, for your time and contribution!
AgencyBloc: Open Enrollment season is quickly approaching. What is your team doing in the summer months to prepare yourselves?
Josh Sterling: We are making sure to complete our annual certifications in a timely manner. We are also prioritizing weekly meetings to review new plan materials, law changes, and best practices.
AB: What sales strategies do you and your team practice? Are there regular trainings you attend or any internal learning you do together to keep your sales skills sharp?
JS: Besides reviewing the new plan materials, law changes, and best practices during our weekly meetings, we also do some sales roleplaying. Roleplaying can seem awkward, but it really can help formulate ways to overcome a no, as well as help prepare you for the questions that can catch you off guard.
AB: What is one piece of advice you’d give every new salesperson entering the insurance world?
JS: Work on your time management. This is one of the most important pieces of being a successful salesperson. Before leaving for the day, review what tomorrow will look like. Do the same on a Friday for the upcoming week. Schedule time to get paperwork completed, trainings finished, or just to return calls.
AB: What tools do you encourage your sales team to use, both inside AgencyBloc and within other applications?
JS: We encourage our sales team to learn and use the reporting functions in AgencyBloc. We encourage them to use these reports to work off of to sell other products. It also helps them to know when clients will be aging-in to new products, so you don’t drop the ball.
AB: Do you have any special onboarding protocols you put into place for new clients? Any special way you thank them for their business?
JS: Every salesperson hand writes a thank you card to every new client. Having this thank you sent really goes a long way with new clients, knowing that the salesperson took the time out of their busy day to thank them.
AB: How do you manage renewal business alongside new business during the busy enrollment season?
JS: If a brand new lead comes to us and doesn’t request a specific salesperson, they then enter our Sales Pipeline to be distributed to the salesperson that is available. We also hold our own client meetings for specific carriers where we invite hundreds of our clients to attend in person and learn about changes for the next year. This helps alleviate the number of meetings needed for our current clients during the enrollment season.
AB: How do you ensure you’re reaching out to prospects enough but in a way that isn’t overbearing? How do you ensure the same when the prospect becomes a client?
JS: We try to keep our contacts to a minimum. The client doesn’t want us calling them or mailing them all the time unless we have something of value to share. So, we mail them a birthday card every year and we send out a quarterly newsletter talking about our agency and highlighting specific products. We also mail them invitations to our annual client meetings that are product-specific. From there we only contact when there is a need regarding one of their policies.
AB: Which insurance industry websites and/or publications do you recommend other insurance professionals follow for the best sales educational resources?
JS: I don’t think there is any one specific publication or website that really holds all of the answers or will provide all of the direction. Instead, I advise using multiple sources; this way you do not get stuck in an echo chamber of advice. For law and regulation news, I stay up to date with AHIP and the Kaiser Family Foundation. There are a lot of sales training programs out there that work, but the one I like is the Integrity Selling Sales Training Program.
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AgencyBloc is an agency management system that helps life and health insurance agencies grow their business with an industry-specific CRM, commissions processing, and integrated business and marketing automation.
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