The hunt for new clients is the foundation for growing a brokerage. But you have to retain those clients to make them loyal for the future. In a webinar hosted by Brian Nate, an insurance marketer and retention specialist based in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, he shared advice for growing an agency by $3.3 million within a year.
Nate claims to have grown his agency by 23% the first year and 24% last year as he increased retention from 80% to 94.6%.
He offered four tips for growing an agency in a short time window.
First, get plugged in with mentors who achieved the results you desire. When Nate started his run to boost his firm, he sought out experts and gurus to examine how they achieved their results. He cited Michael McLean, author of How to NOT Get Your Ass Kicked In the Insurance Business; Darren Sugiyama, author of How I Built a $37M Insurance Agency in Less Than 7 years, and “insurance doctor” Michael Stromsoe. He also cited Randy Schwantz, author of The Wedge: How to Stop Selling and Start Winning; Jeremiah Desmarais, and Eric Lofholm, who writes about sales script mastery.
Also see: “Investing in client loyalty brings huge ROI.”
Having gurus “gave me a whole different perspective to realize I am not alone and that there are people doing fantastic things and growing business in ways that were amazing,” said Nate.
“If you are looking to grow business, talk to the folks who are already doing it. And learn from them and move forward,” he said.
Second, Nate advised to create a scripted quote process that is designed to close and not just quote.
“We created this process and got [sales clients] away from hope selling. Hope selling is when you ask the question that is required to give a rate and at the end you give them your rate. You hope the rate you provide them is less than they are paying now,” said Nate.
Nate described how to turn this process into seven steps, that he called “The Magnificent 7.” They are:
1) Unearth prospects’ reason for shopping around
2) Set an expectation for the call to your prospect
3) Establish your competitive advantage over your competition
4) Establish the prospect’s intention to switch
5) Ask for the business. “Agents are using the rate as their close. They are not asking for when do you need this to be effective and I can set up billing for monthly payments or paid in full — which do you prefer?” said Nate.
6) Prepare scripted answers to most common stalls or client objections, such as, “Can you email me the quote?” or “I need to think about this,” or “I need to talk to my spouse.”
7) Give them a clear path moving forward after you make a sale.
For the last tip, Nate advises that brokers describe what you have to offer. “If you have welcome kits, tell them about it. Talk about the referral program and policy reviews and ask them to call first if they are talking to a competitor,” he said. “You want to make sure they are doing the best for their insurance dollar
For the third step, Nate advises creating a rehab program for non-standard business. “Today’s non-standard business is tomorrow’s preferred business,” he said. “It helps you retain more of your non-standard customers. Let them know that they are in the best market and are unique to us. They want to make sure they are getting best value for insurance dollar.”
This has helped up his firm to create new clients, he added.
As a fourth step, Nate added the idea of creating an automated lost policy email sequence.
“For the most part, they put together a lost soul campaign when all of those policies are canceled they write, ‘Sorry to see you go,’” he said. “If someone has multiple policies, we do not reach out to them when they all cancel. When the policy cancels, the email assumes they have moved insurance carriers.”
He advised to take action and not to mention non-payment. “The subject line of the email should say ‘Re: Auto Cancellation,’ As in, ‘Sorry to see you go; if anything ever changes we would love to have you back. I will stay in touch and be ready to help you if you decide to return’,” he said.
This email alone has saved his agency $285,021 in premiums over the last three years, he said.
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