Learn how to harness the power of content in your sales process.
It’s no secret that referrals are an important (and efficient!) lead source of business.
When you get referrals, it’s likely you have a game plan that includes calling and scheduling a meeting with them ASAP. While this is key, there are other critical things you should be doing to ensure you close that lead.
Let’s explore an often overlooked strategy put in place by 57% of businesses today: content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing?
A content marketing strategy is defined as the creation and distribution of useful, relevant content on a consistent basis in order to attract, convert, and retain your target audience in a way that continually drives profit.
When you provide valuable content to your prospects and clients throughout your partnership, it helps build trust, establish your expertise, gain their business, and consequently, create a lasting relationship.
Content marketing assets can come in many forms: blogs, eBooks, videos, infographics, and more. The overall goal of content marketing is to educate and provide value to readers in a way that inspires them to partner with you.
How Is This Content Valuable To Referrals?
So, let’s say one of your favorite clients calls you and says:
“Hi, I want to refer ABC Bank to you–I told them how you helped us save money when our health plan costs were rising. They said I could give you their contact information to reach out.”
It’s clear that your passion, dedication, and quality customer service helped you not only retain a client but because of their great experience, they’re also advocating for your agency.
What does content marketing have to do with a referral you already scored a meeting with?
Each person goes through different stages of the “sales funnel” as they navigate through their buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. You should be using content to address their unique questions and needs in every phase.
With referrals, you’re already a step ahead–you don’t have to fight against competitors for their attention in the awareness stage. However, you still need to get them through the consideration stage, into the decision stage, and ultimately, to conversion.
Let’s explore some types of content you can send to your referrals throughout the sales process.
Types of Content Insurance Companies Should Send to Referrals
Even if a referral is more likely to buy from you, you still need to make your case.
You know from your current client that ABC Bank is facing rising health costs. Think about all of the things you know as an expert in healthcare: what causes rising costs, who is fighting against it (and who isn’t), what plan options are available that differ from traditional insurance… the list goes on.
Then, send them content relevant to the concerns they may have about these issues. Even if all of this content isn’t 100% related to the plan you have in mind for them, it reinforces your expertise and authority in the field–and also shows you are a dependable source of information.
Keep in mind that messaging is critical–you will want to explain why each piece of content you send is relevant to them.
Content To Provide Before the First Meeting
Before your first meeting, send your referral content that shows your agency’s expertise and sets the tone for the experience they’ll have with you.
Here are some types of content you can provide to referrals before the first meeting, along with what you may want to say:
- A brief history of your company, including your mission & values. Make sure the messaging is client-centric, and about how you’re dedicated to solving their problems, rather than focusing on yourself.
Email text: Our mission is to be part of the fight against rising healthcare costs and to improve healthcare services–causes we’ve been dedicated to since 1994. Read on to learn about our agency’s history to see how we’ve helped companies, like yours, provide benefits that attract and keep top talent.
- An introduction or peek at technology partners you use and why (especially ones the employer and their employees might utilize as well, such as enrollment platforms and health or wellness programs).
Email text: You are our priority, and in order to help you thrive, we use some of the best technology out there. Here’s a glimpse at what we use and how it can help your company and employees.
- Blogs and articles you’ve written on any industry insights or news that applies to them.
Email text: Wondering what you can do to help provide better healthcare options to your employees while keeping costs down? Brokers can help! Read this article to learn how.
The goal of this content before the meeting is to give your referral an idea of how reliable and trustworthy you are, as well as what it would be like to work with you—it is not about bragging.
Content To Provide During the First Meeting
First and foremost, the goal of content during the first meeting with a potential client is to educate. You want to provide content that answers their questions and helps them make informed decisions.
While you’re helping guide your prospects’ decision-making, the content you use is a chance to provide a non-biased, factual look at their options.
Throughout your first meeting, use fact-based content to help them solidify that you’re the right choice:
Here’s an example of what to say as you include these assets in your first meeting:
“Thank you again for meeting with me today. I’m excited to talk through your goals and how we can help. I brought a couple of tools I think will help guide our conversation: a needs assessment worksheet, some comparison sheets, and some scenario worksheets. I’ll fill these out as we talk–they will help us figure out the best solution for your company!”
Remember, content comes in many forms—even stories you tell out loud. It’s not always a printed handout.
Content To Provide After the First Meeting
Even after you close the deal, content is still essential.
What types of content could you provide to referrals after they become clients?
- A “Welcome” email, gift, or handwritten card
- An “important dates” handout or calendar of dates—include dates for enrollment seasons, when policies go live, etc.
- An option to subscribe to your email newsletter
Personalize the gift and message to reflect what you talked about at the meeting. You may say something like:
“We’re very excited for the opportunity to work with you and your employees! I wanted to send a little basket of coffee since I remember you mentioning how your employees love to try different kinds!”
What about those prospects that didn’t become clients after the first meeting?
Worry not, 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes. If your referral doesn’t convert after that first meeting, you will still want to follow up with them and send them content as they consider their options.
Your follow-up email may sound like this:
“Thank you for taking the time to meet today, it was a pleasure speaking with you. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. In the meantime, this blog about ‘What To Look for In an Insurance Agency’ may be helpful as you continue your search.”
This blog should speak to key things an agency should have, along with how you check all those boxes–not only does this provide value, but it may also help them realize that you are the right fit for their company after all.
Lastly, don’t forget to thank the person who referred your new client!
Putting Content Into Practice with Referrals
A referral is not an automatic sale and should be prioritized on the same level as a new lead. And while 86% of B2C marketers agree that content marketing is critical, 60% have trouble creating content regularly.
As an insurance agent, you likely have a full plate managing your agency’s and client's needs. An agency management system (AMS) that has email marketing & campaign tools can help streamline the process so that you never miss a beat.
AgencyBloc, for example, is an industry-specific AMS that gives insurance agents a place to track their leads’ progress, send automated email communications, store important client data, and more–all in one place.
Take a Tour of AgencyBloc
AgencyBloc's suite of industry-specific tools can streamline the process of nurturing and converting your referrals.
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This blog was originally posted on December 6, 2019, and was updated on September 6, 2022.
by Kelsey Rosauer
on Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Lead & Sales Management
- client retention