When The Going Gets Tough, How Do You Respond?
3 of Today’s Top Challenges for Independent Insurance Agents…and How To Plow Past Them While Building a Strategy for Consistent Success
“How you do anything is how you do everything.” This adage has been around for generations and is often applied to everyday business concepts — and for good reason. How you tackle any obstacle in life is likely a part of your instinctive troubleshooting approach. Sure, the specifics of any given situation may be unique; but more often than not, time and time again, we hop into our default reactions and start formulating our go-to game plans whenever life throws something our way. That’s why it’s so important to build and practice challenge-blasting methods that are efficient, effective, and flexible enough to apply to most of the situations you face as an independent insurance agent. To help you get started, we’re sharing some of the top challenges that affect today’s insurance agents and offering ideas for how you can overcome those specific challenges while simultaneously crafting an overall strategy for success, no matter the obstacle.
1) Steering Around Stereotypes. If you’re in sales, you know about stereotypes. Like any salesperson, insurance agents often have to combat preconceived notions about their intentions, motivations and even personal ethics. And because insurance products see us through life’s most difficult and catastrophic situations, agents have the added task of building trust from consumers to assure them that the goal is never is to take advantage of these situations, but rather to provide a safety net. HOW TO OVERCOME: Be yourself. The absolute best way to build trust is to be true to your personality, wisdom and expertise. While always maintaining professionalism, don’t stifle your personality. Let your clients get to know you for who you are. Never force yourself into a mold that doesn’t feel authentic to you. Clients typically see past a fake persona and will struggle with trusting you if they sense disingenuity. Avoid agreeing with your client if they’re wrong. This may seem both obvious and awkward at the same time, but the reality is that — in an effort to be polite or to empower clients — insurance agents will sometimes find themselves affirming a client’s misinformation or misunderstanding. While it’s important to acknowledge what they’re saying, you never want to mislead your clients into believing that you agree with incorrect information. Be ready to step up as the expert that you are. Politely, but overtly, correct your clients if they’re wrong and back up the situation with facts and data. If a client has a question that you can’t immediately answer, don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you need to research the situation in order to be able to offer your best advice. The more you adhere to your role as an industry expert who’s also an everyday person in your own right, the more you’ll convey a sense of trustworthiness and characteristics that accurately match who you are. With this approach, it won’t take long for you to stand out from the everyday stereotypes that often come with the territory and establish yourself as a unique, caring and informed agent.
2) Keeping In The Loop. Today, information is everywhere online. Clients don’t have to spend much time with Google to find countless amounts of (often conflicting) information about insurance carriers, products, and agencies. As a result, agents are often finding themselves pushed out of the loop of communication and information. With more and more clients taking to the internet to find answers to questions, agents can struggle with being an ongoing valuable resource to their clients. HOW TO OVERCOME: Be a proactive communicator. While you can’t necessarily compete with the internet, you can certainly use it to your advantage! Don’t wait for your clients to have questions. Keep connected both on and offline (whenever possible) to provide quality, accurate information to help keep clients informed and updated. Use social media, email marketing, phone calls, direct mail and other forms of marketing and advertising to provide your clients with a variety of ways to find information that matters most to them. Consider having your own, branded website where you’ve compiled (or better yet, written) information that relates to the products that you offer and your primary demographic for the clients you represent. Organize the information and provide featured articles or announcements to your clients on a regular and consistent basis. Work to build a habit of reaching out to your clients regularly to keep your name as the source for reliable and ongoing information that relates to them and the products on which they depend.
3) Maintaining Consistency. All motivated agents have sales goals. The competitive industry of insurance requires a steadfast commitment from agents to produce. But as with any industry, there are sales cycles within insurance sales that can make agents feel as though they’re living through waves of feast and famine. (For tips and suggestions on how you can keep ahead during seasonal sales lulls, click or tap here.) What’s more, it’s not only the sales cycles that can vary in consistency. A haphazard sales process can lead to confusion, lack of direction, missed opportunities and efficiency. In fact, a study from Vantage Point Performance and the Sales Management Association (both based in the UK) showed that companies with a well-defined, consistent sales process enjoy an increase in revenue of at least 18% compared to those without a formal process. Whether it’s day-to-day actions or the details within a comprehensive marketing strategy, a lack of consistency within your process can significantly hinder your success. HOW TO OVERCOME: Have a consistent process that works for you. While you’ll want to maintain flexibility to accommodate unique circumstances, a well-planned process will help you to better maintain your tasks and to-dos, follow up with leads, check-in with clients and close more business. Part of a well-tuned sales process is keeping organized and equipped with the right data at the right moment. That’s where a sophisticated and comprehensive solution like GS National Insurance’s Propelicy comes into play. Propelicy is an all-in-one, web-based platform that provides independent insurance agents and agencies with unmatched, on-demand tools and resources that can be accessed from anywhere. You can schedule a demo to get to know more about GSNI’s Propelicy here.
Three simple concepts can become the building blocks to a methodology that can be applied to how you do everything:
Be yourself. Be a proactive communicator. Have a consistent process. And just like everything else in life, don’t go it alone. Get professional guidance each step of the way with an FMO who is just as excited about and committed to your success as you are. Get to know GS National Insurance by visiting gsnational.com.
GS National Insurance is an independently owned insurance marketing organization. We specialize in helping independent advisors increase their Health, Life, and Annuity Business. Our primary focus is the senior health insurance marketplace. We combine technology and experience to deliver high-quality service and support. Learn more at gsnational.com