A wise agent once told me a helpful analogy on how to increase agency production. "The bigger the net you cast, the more fish you will catch."

In other words, the bigger your lead territory, the more opportunities there will be for leads and sales. Staying only within your community can limit the number of potential leads you get. Moreover, there are only so many people in your community who are filling out forms online. 

Adding just five or 10 miles more to your territory could make a huge difference in lead volume. With more ground to cover, you could see two to 10 leads a day, rather than just two—sometimes even zero— per week. 

A lot of agents choose to not wander outside of their tightly-knit communities. The idea of competing for business at farther distances intimidates them. As a result, they stay closer to home. While playing it safe seems like a sensible choice, it might not be the most profitable one.

Technology and business are growing together exponentially. Regardless of distance, shoppers prefer doing business online rather than face-to-face.

A recent study by the Local Search Association shows that 54 percent of consumers prefer buying insurance online or on the phone. Only 33 percent prefer buying in person. With those facts, your agency should be converting more sales online and over the phone.

You'll need to increase your daily lead volume by covering more space. Add nearby counties and ZIP codes in bigger cities; expand your 10-mile radius to 20 miles.

Doing so will increase your bottom line and create more sales opportunities. Let's play out an example of two competing agents in the same town.

Agent A and Agent B work at different agencies in the same city. Agent A covers every ZIP code in his town, and Agent B does the same. Both agents compete over the same three leads every day. They also do equal amounts of business from leads. Neither agents can increase business due to limited town populations and conversion rates. 

Agent B then decides to expand territory into a few neighboring counties. Now, Agent B gets 10 leads a day. Although Agent B still does an equal amount of business as Agent A, he is getting more business from the leads outside of town.   

Agent A gets 14 leads in a week and closes seven of them. This gives him a 50 percent conversion rate. Meanwhile, Agent B gets 50 leads a week and closes 15, a 30 percent conversion rate.

You're probably wondering why Agent B has a lower rate despite having more territory. Although large territory means more agent competition and lower conversions, it is still the more lucrative choice.

With more territory, Agent B can add twice as many clients to his book of business. This will create opportunities for more referrals and more premiums per household.

Your agency will always be limited to the number of opportunities in the community. Branching out to several communities will yield better sales and potential growth. 

In theory, large territories generate more sales. Agents who are high-volume lead buyers in large territories are our most successful ones. To handle a high number of leads and gain business outside of your immediate community, you need to add value to your agency and its services.

Good agents add value through:

  • Speedy service
  • Ease of use
  • Online relationships

Enhancing each of these aspects adds value not only to your agency but also to your success as an agent. 

Speedy Service

To properly work and manage a high daily lead volume requires some solid form of lead management. Our most successful agents are using lead management software programs like:

  • Velocify
  • Blitz
  • Dial Your Leads
  • Contactability

 These software programs allow your agency to simplify and automate the sales process. As soon as a lead is generated and received, the software dialer calls the consumer in a matter of seconds. 

Seventy-eight percent of the time, leads will close with the agent who contacted them first. Contact speed improves lead conversion. It also creates added value from an instant-gratification point of view.

The consumer says, "That was fast!" and the agent says, "Just wait until you have a claim."

Quick service helps break down distance barriers, and ensures that the consumer's needs will be met immediately. 

Ease of Use

Online consumers want things instantly, and they want an easy way to get them.  Having a simple process will encourage them to make buying decisions.

You have a long-distance customer on the phone, and you've already shown how quick your service is. Now, you need to make their buying decision an easy one.

Traveling to the agency to finish signing paperwork can inconvenience the consumer and prompt them to object. Offer an e-signature service to make things easier for them.

Having the entire sales process online or on the phone can avoid objections on distance or difficulty. Remember that 54 percent of consumers prefer to purchase insurance online and over the phone. Everyone likes simplicity and convenience.

Online Relationships

While the digital world has certainly simplified communications and business, it has also taken away from personal relationships. The internet can't provide a friendly handshake or personal relationship between you and your customer. These relationships must be built on trust and reassurance.

A strong social media presence can bridge the gap and form and a strong digital relationship. Always posting helpful content on multiple social media sites is a great way to ensure protection. Likewise, taking time to comment or like your customer's posts will build a connection.   

You may think that larger territory only benefits you, the agent. However, your consumers in the neighboring communities profit just as much.

Your growth provides them with more choices for insurance. And if you're good at what you do—meaning you employ speedy service, a simple process, and a friendly online presence—it won't matter that you're not in their immediate area. They'll feel safe and secure knowing that a capable agent is taking care of them no matter the distance.