Do you have any resolutions this year?
Planning to lose weight, quit smoking, or drink less?
How about professionally?
It’s too late to make any changes to last year’s results, but now is a great time to make a decision to start a new habit or process to help your insurance agency be more successful next year.
I’m issuing you a challenge right now:
Choose ONE idea from this list (there’s 24!) and decide today to follow through with it next year.
Symbolic or not, there’s no better time to turn the page and start something new.
Here’s 24 ways to be a better insurance agent this year. Choose one.
1) Get a New Insurance Certification
Is it worth the time and effort required to get those extra initials at the end of your name? I don’t know, but I promise it’s not going to hurt you.
And with the market more competitive than ever, anything that separates you from your competition is a bonus.
2) Read More Books About Sales or Marketing
I’m sure you agree that reading a book every now and then won’t kill you. Choose the right book and I’m positive it can help you.
I think reading an entire book is a huge investment of my time so I don’t go to the bookstore and judge covers. I use Amazon and choose using the reviews.
Don’t like to read? You can also find some pretty good audiobooks at Audible.com. They download right to your smartphone and you can learn more about insurance sales and marketing while you drive, exercise, or do yardwork.
3) Make Your Agency More Fun
If your agency is a fun place to be your employees will be happier, they’ll work harder, sell more, and hold on to more clients.
It might just make you happier too.
I don’t have enough room to go into details here, but I like this one so much I wrote another article about it you can read right here!
For now use your creativity, ask your employees for ideas and if you can’t think of anything install a dartboard for now.
4) Practice Your Sales Conversations
I know you’ve been selling insurance forever so you’re too good or too cool to be practicing in front of the mirror or role-playing, right?
Wrong. (Unless you close 100% of your prospects)
If you want an easy way to get started, role-play conversations where you didn’t get the sale and try different talk-paths that could have led to a successful sale.
You won’t get that sale back, but the next time that objection, attitude, or conversation comes back around you’ll be equipped (and practiced) to handle it.
5) Get a New Website
Your agency’s website is going to be the first interaction many people have with your agency this coming year and you want to be sure it’s a good one.
I don’t believe every independent agent needs their own custom-designed site with every bell and whistle imaginable, but when people land on your website you don’t want them thinking you’re stuck in 2005.
Clean, professional, and easy to use. That’s what every insurance agency website needs to be this year but you don’t have to spend thousands up front just to replace your current site. For example, here at InsuranceSplash, we offer new insurance websites with no setup cost.
6) Be More Active on Social Media
Being more active on social media does not mean just post more crap on Facebook.
In the noisy world of social media, it’s actually better if you post less frequently but generate more user engagement.
Be creative, be conversational, and get as many likes and comments as you can.
By the way, you might want to join over a thousand other agents who follow my Facebook page because I regularly post free content you can share on your Facebook page guaranteed to get lots of engagement.
7) Host a Weekly Sales Meeting
If you’re not already hosting a weekly sales meeting I strongly suggest you start.
Sales is a tough job that constantly requires direction, motivation and realignment. Without a weekly opportunity to talk about what’s working, what’s not, and what can be improved upon your agency can drift off course very quickly.
You don’t have to do all the work, come up with a framework that requires everyone in your agency bring something to the table each week.
8) Stop Calling Customers Back the Next Day
How often do you find yourself at the end of the day with 2 more messages to return and you know you should call them but you don’t.
Don’t you love cleaning up that mess the next morning?
I know it’s not easy, but if you commit to calling back every message the same day (you’ll need a cutoff time obviously) you’ll save yourself a lot of aggravation the following morning and keep a lot more clients happy.
9) Setup a Referral Rewards Program
There’s a huge difference between wanting more referrals and actually making it happen.
You need to have a plan and process in place to make sure you every client understands who, what, where, when, why, and how they should refer other people to your agency.
Reak this article about getting more referrals for some great ideas to implement.
10) Track Lead Sources Better
Wouldn’t it be nice at the end of the year if you could go back through all your marketing methods and determine how many quotes each generated?
You’d know exactly where to spend more and what to cut next year!
There’s some tools and tricks you can use to make this easier like call tracking phone numbers and domain name forwarders, but ultimately its about asking the question to everyone and keeping the data together in one place.
A spreadsheet seems like the most obvious tracking mechanism but if some other method will help you get more accurate and thorough information use it.
11) Capture and Work X-Dates Better
Deciding to get more x-dates or planning to ask for more isn’t going to do much for you.
You need to decide exactly how to capture them daily, and exactly how to work them weekly.
This is good material for another article so I’m not going into detail here, but if you want to cross-sell more you’ll need a repeatable process that gets you asking for more x-dates and guarantees you don’t miss the appropriate follow up.
If you want more x-dates, come up with a plan, write it all down, and then follow your own instructions.
12) Start an Email Newsletter
I’ll be honest, every insurance agency email newsletter I ever read sucks.
That’s okay though, because an email newsletter serves as another touchpoint throughout the year and strengthens the bond between your clients and you.
It’s a reminder that you’re there to communicate with them and should help retention and referrals.
You don’t need to write 10 amazing articles with crazy interesting stuff. Keep it light and simple. Write something about the local community. Your clients can tell the difference between something you created and something you paid a company to send for you.
13) Interact With Every Customer
We love clients we never hear from… Until the cancellation notice shows up.
Make it a point to talk with all your clients, not just the ones that cause you all the headaches and gray hair.
To make it work you’ll need a process that involves reaching out throughout the entire year. Tie it to policy renewals, birthdays, or policy anniversary dates.
14) Attend More Networking Events
No matter how big online social networking becomes, it’ll never replace offline social networking in the insurance business.
Join a chamber of commerce, a business networking group, a local charity and participate in other community events to network with other local business owners and community members.
Just don’t be that guy who’s always trying to sell everybody… I HATE that guy!
15) Establish a Follow-Up Process for Claims
Come up with a plan in your agency to follow up with clients who’ve had claims.
I spent a few years as a claim adjuster and saw first-hand how an involved agent can make a big difference in customer satisfaction during a claim.
Even if it’s just an email every couple weeks, being involved in the process (or appearing like you are) will go a long way in the eyes of your clients.
And here’s a side tip from my adjuster days: whatever your client tells you, it’s never the whole story.
16) Grow Your Social Network
There are many ways you can leverage a large and active client community on Facebook but you’ll never find out if you never get triple-digit numbers of fans.
Make sure you can provide a solid reason why they should like your page and then read this article for some tips on how to do it.
17) Say Sir and Ma’am More
I just had to throw this one in there because I really think it can go a long way toward earning prospects’ and clients’ respect.
You might be thinking, “But John, nobody says that here in __________!”
18) Build Your Email List
If you’re not collecting your client’s email addresses for a newsletter or some other form of email marketing you should seriously consider it.
You don’t even have to use them now!
At some point you’re going to want every client’s email address and when that comes, you’ll be happy you did.
My cell number has changed 5 times in the last 10 years but I’ve been using the same personal email address since I was in college over a decade ago.
You never know when your clients’ email addresses may come in handy.
19) Get More Online Reviews
Mark my words on this, online customer reviews are becoming much more important for your local marketing every day and that trend is going to continue.
Websites like Google and Yelp are also getting much better at spotting fake ones, so you’re going to have to get real people to use their accounts to write your reviews.
Here’s a few tips for getting more reviews, but the most important thing is to formulate and execute a plan that’s more structured than, “I’m going to ask more…”
20) Try a New Marketing Technique
I’m not saying you shouldn’t stick with what works. And if you’ve followed #10 above that should be easy for you to know.
You’ll never learn about new opportunities without trying something new.
Don’t spend too much on anything new and always have some way to measure it’s effectiveness.
21) Talk Less, Listen More
This just happens to be one of my favorite sales strategies and I think it’s something a lot of insurance agents can benefit from.
There’s almost always an opportunity to sell more or provide greater customer service just by focusing more on what the client truly needs.
(Sometimes my wife reads these articles, and I wouldn’t mind if this one makes her New Years’ Resolution list. Just kidding…)
22) Stay Positive
I’ve worked with hundreds of insurance agents and have seen first-hand the horrible results that can result from an agent with a negative attitude.
I’m sure you agree with me that positive attitudes can help in sales, but what you may not truly appreciate is how influential your attitude is on those around you.
Positive agents have positive employees and colleagues who all do better.
It’s impossible not to get frustrated in this business, but the better you can fight it off, the more you’ll help yourself and everyone around you.
23) Take Ownership of Your Future
It’s too late to change the results of the past year for your business but next year is a clean slate.
If you find yourself blaming the insurance market, the underwriting, your employees, or the President of the United States for your problems it’s time to stop.
It is getting more difficult to be a successful insurance agent every year, but there will always be winners and losers.
The decisions you make over the next few weeks are going to play a very significant role in whether you’re celebrating or commiserating one year from today.
24) Show Your Goals To The Whole Agency
Goals are far more likely to be achieved when you tell someone else about them.
It takes courage but if you truly want to achieve you can’t be afraid to let the world know your plans before they happen, even though you may fail.
Use the comments below to tell me and everyone else who reads this what you plan to do next year.
And you you’ve found one idea to use in your business/career next year, please share this article or like it on Facebook! (You’d be accomplishing #6!)