If you’re like most agents, you’ve established a sales process that fits your specific line of business. You make strategic tweaks here and there, but you’re of the opinion, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is completely understandable. If something works, why change it?
Then, along comes a new idea to expand your reach and increase market share, so you look to set up a higher-volume campaign to increase your contact and close rates.
High-volume campaigns are a great way to jumpstart your business or get fresh new contacts into your pipeline. However, without the right systems and processes in place, these efforts can quickly drain your marketing budget. To increase quoting and conversion ratios, you should know what high-volume buyers think, ask, and do differently that could help you capitalize on your new effort.
Insurance agents that manage several producers are skilled at altering their systems to be unique and individualized. However, there are several practices that they all have in common.
Customer Service Resources
Machines cannot replace humans when it comes to closing a sale, which is why automation tools play such an important role. It’s important to use these tools to supplement manpower. That way, every lead is worked and followed up with in a manner that fits the business model and capacity. Agencies with less manpower are nimble, but with technology and automation, the lack of resources can be made up quite easily. Tools range from simple, free, and easy, to extremely complex and very expensive.
Artificial intelligence marketing solutions were previously out of reach for the average insurance agent. However, as many of these platforms migrate to SaaS (Software as a Service) options, agents can now capitalize and reach much larger markets more easily through some very powerful, yet reasonably priced options.
Whatever the scale of your agency, the CRM (customer relationship managers) you choose to use should keep track of the life cycles of leads. Automation is a great time-saver but a slippery slope too. Impersonal communication can cause a lead to shy away, so be careful to balance automation with personalized contact methods.
Salesforce might be a good place to start, but there are many other options that also offer similar functions specific to insurance leads that will fit any budget (check out QuoteWizard’s partnership page for a list of reputable options!)
Insurance Lead Volume
Typically, we see smaller agencies applying several lead filters and focusing on specific areas to find the ideal customer. While this can lead to success within some agencies who have perfected the art of closing leads, it can often lead to lower closing and contact rates. In contrast, high-volume lead buyers expand their reach by buying many different lead types and using less filters. This strategy can provide the best return due to a lower cost-per-lead and is effective so long as there are enough resources to work the larger quantity of leads.
Expanding Lead Territories
Successful high-volume lead buyers embrace the “virtual” mindset. The local market expands greatly when geographic borders are a bit more liberal. The great thing about insurance licensing is that once you’re licensed for a product, you can sell it across the entire state, not just your neighborhood. If you’re really a go-getter, you can probably sell it across state lines as well.
You’re buying insurance leads in your local territory, but so is another agent just across town. High-volume producers recognize this competition and expand their zone boundaries to catch more lead volume, so long as they can still serve them. These leads understand that by submitting an inquiry online, they are opening up the opportunity to be contacted by an agent outside of their town.
How far are you willing to drive to write a policy? Can you close a sale with customers in a neighboring city without leaving your office? Are you set up to provide service to these customers in a virtual sense? These are all good questions to help you decide whether to expand your territory.
Also, consider cross-selling insurance policies. Though not a lead volume play, high-volume lead purchasers usually have a very defined process in place to cross-sell other lines and bundle more products together, increasing the ROI for each lead.
Multiple Lines of Communication
The ultimate goal is getting customers on the phone, but high-volume offices are also flexible with the consumer on building a relationship. It isn’t enough anymore to just say “connect with us on social.” Larger agencies incorporate emails, texting, online chatting, or video response systems that create feedback loops and service more customers. With accurate information, this process is even faster. Automation is another big part, but actively using these channels is what makes them useful sales tools.
Social media is another good resource for getting in touch with younger and/or tech-driven consumers. Multiple communication lines will allow you to maximize contact with many different customers and see where they spend their time. Leveraging social media isn’t always about selling, though, so be mindful of the social approach. Instead, treat it like larger agencies and use it to compliment your efforts without straining resources.
High volume offices wait for their investments to mature. Half of all insurance leads convert to a sale within the first 7 days of contact. The other half of new leads convert within about 60 days. The latter group will need more work and patience, but they should not be disregarded. Rather, they should be seen simply as a longer sales process. Using lead-management tools and CRMs can help you work these long-term leads and cash in on sales you may not have expected to receive. Long-term ROI tracking is crucial to the success of sophisticated lead buyers.
Consider this long-term strategy from a high-volume State Farm agent in Tennessee:
“What a lot of agents don’t understand is that ‘an average of 1–5’ converting is an AVERAGE. You can buy 200 but sell only 4 off the first call and be really frustrated. Yet over time, you’ll have 40 or more policies coming your way. If you made a rash decision and turned that off because you were scared after buying 100, you could be missing out on a great source.”
Large volume buyers identify ways to win over their unique markets. To bring the “neighborhood-corner office” trend into the modern century, one buyer started a (family-friendly!) web-cam service in his office. Other buyers invest in online chat systems, weekend and evening callers, or even virtual employees from across the state. No matter the market conditions, large volume agencies always find a way to create and adjust systems to work well in their context. The key is to embrace technology and test what works best for your business. At the very least, you must try! Not everything will work and not every hot, new piece of tech will live up to such expectations. Yet being on the leading edge of insurance consumers is why larger producers and agencies are able to bend with markets and succeed in many different landscapes.
It’s all about the data. Track your ROI! Your close rates! Your contact and quote rates! We’re not kidding, this is SO crucial. Keep tabs on your leads. Even if your contact rates or close rates seem lower than expected, your returns might be bigger than you think. These numbers will allow you to optimize your lead types, filters, and territories better than any anecdotal evidence. This can be done in a Google Doc or Excel spreadsheet, lead management system, custom database like MS Access, or CRM. It can be as simple or as complicated as you like or need, but regardless, it will help you in the long run.