Insurance Leads Blog

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Find a Niche To Help You Sell Life Insurance

Life insurance is a competitive market and it has gotten very difficult for individual agents to compete in this growing field. Major insurance companies dominate search engine ads and have driven up prices on ad placements. This makes it almost impossible for your average life insurance agent to compete. There are ways for insurance agents to find life insurance leads that slip through the cracks. Agents must find a niche in the life insurance sector to focus on. This will help the agent narrow down their scope and allow them to compete for online insurance leads that may otherwise be dominated by big corporations and aggregators.

Some good niche ideas for life insurance agents

The following target markets are one's that we have observed agents using around the United States. There was no scientific research done as to which ones work the best or which ones provide the best quality of lead. This depends a lot on the type(s) of life insurance products the agent can sell and the application process available. For example, an agent that cannot fill out an application online might not be able to do business via email or, for that matter, by phone.

1. Diabetic life insurance leads - If the agent can sell life insurance with a company that looks more favorably on people who have diabetes , they will be able to market to this sector and compete on Google Adwords. Specific pay-per-click keywords like "diabetic life insurance" are cheaper than broad ones like "life insurance quote". An agent dealing primarily with diabetics can set themselves up as the local specialist in this field. This can help advisors stand out in the plethora of local life insurance agents.

2. Cancer life insurance leads - People who have had cancer sometimes find it hard to get life insurance. Some agents specialize in helping this type of client. Once again the success of this niche relies on the agents ability to sell a certain type of policy. If the agent can sell a guaranteed life policy they can insure a client who might otherwise have been denied by other companies.

3. Burial/Funeral life insurance leads - Many people are just looking for life insurance to help them pay for the funeral and burial costs of a loved one who has passed. While these types of final expense policies do not generate huge commissions, they can be a great way of getting your foot in the door with a family. Once you have done business with a client they are more likely to come back to you when they need something else, say an annuity.

4. Mortgage protection life insurance leads - Research shows that when people are buying their first home, or any home for that matter, they will do hours of research online. This is where a life insurance lead could fall through the cracks. Lets say you advertise for a keyword such as "mortgage insurance", which is much cheaper than other life insurance keywords. By using this keyword you can generate life insurance leads online without blowing your marketing budget. When someone is searching for mortgage information they might come across your ad on a site and inquire about the product.

These are just a few examples to give agents an idea of how they can generate online life insurance leads inexpensively by picking a niche to specialize in. You can use almost any type of medical condition as a target market as well as countless others.

So how can one tell what niche might be beneficial for their business in their particular geographic area. A quick and easy to do this is to simply google certain niches in your area. If you find that there are already other agents who have cornered the market in your desired niche you will have to pick a different sector to focus on. Do not get discouraged if you have trouble finding your ideal niche. It will take time to establish yourself as the go-to-guy for your niche market, but once you do you will be able to generate quality leads on the web.

"Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Are You Selling Insurance Over the Phone? You Should Be.

It boggles my mind the number of agents I talk to who refuse to sell insurance over the phone. I completely understand that it is beneficial for many agents to sell insurance face-to-face to begin to build a relationship with the client(s). However, what about the people who do not want to meet in person. You should be ready for these types of leads, even if you are generating leads on you own. Selling life insurance over the phone can increase your annual sales and the ROI of your insurance leads.

Lets take a look at some actual numbers that might open you eyes to the benefit of selling insurance over the phone. This data was collected from an insurance agent who uses our aged life insurance leads for his marketing.

The agent buys 100 life insurance leads a month. He calls them, emails them, and sends the interested prospects marketing material thru the US mail. The agent makes, on average, 5-10 sales, per month with these leads. Of those sales only 1-3 are done in the office or at the client's home. The remaining sales are all done over the phone and email. This may or may not be surprising to you, but take a look at the actual commission that would have been lost if this agent refused to do business over the phone.

Average commission per sale $420

3 Sales per month in office. 3 Sales X $420 = $1,260 in commission.

5 Sales per month over the phone. 5 Sales X $420 = $2,100 in commission.

Total life insurance commissions per month $3,360.

If the agent did not make sales of life insurance over the phone he would potentially lose out on $2,100 of commissions. This is huge if you add this up for the entire year. Granted, there is a better opportunity to cross-sell insurance products in the office, but some people will refuse to come to your office. If you are not convinced I suggest you try this on your own. Do some research by trying to sell insurance over the phone for those clients who do not want to come into your office. I would bet you come up with similar ratios as we did in the example above.

I am not saying that you must only sell insurance over the phone (even though this can be done). I am simply saying that a successful agent will be able to do this. The first thing you must do is make sure you have a reliable fast way to take an application over the phone. I know for life insurance there are some carriers that have online application that can be filled out by the agent or client and E-signed by both. This allows for a very streamlined way of submitting new business.

There are several obstacles that you must overcome if you want to consistently sell insurance via the telephone.

Getting pass the Gatekeepers. This is the first thing you will have to do to even be able to make your sales pitch. Gatekeepers could be a secretary, family member or colleague of the person you are trying to sell insurance too. Gatekeepers should be your friend. If you treat them with respect they will reciprocate.

Evasive Decision Makers. This can be troubling, but you must not let it get you down. Assume that your prospect will vanish, occasionally during the sales process. Have a plan in place to overcome this obstacle.

Voicemail Messages. You must expect to get the prospects voicemail before you even dial the number. Jot down a few sentences about what you want to say before you call. This will help you leave a clear message. Make sure you speak clearly and repeat the key points of your message. You do not want your message to be too long or you will most likely be cut off by the machine. Also, try to avoid leaving messages on Friday as people will tend to forget come Monday.

When you actually speak with the prospect make sure to use as custom opener that grabs their attention. The first few words to the client are crucial. A good opening statement will hook the client and leave them wanting to know more. You will know if you have a good or bad opening statement by the number of "clicks" or "not interested comments" you get.

Follow up, follow up, follow up. Do not do this to the point of badgering the client, but make sure they remember you. If you have to use the old cold calling Rolodex system then do so. There is also new computer software that will help manage these leads. Email is another great way to follow up so you do not call the lead too much.

The final close over the phone should be relatively easy. They are either going to want to do it or not. This is a little different then a in office meeting where it might take some more tact. Remember, over the phone sales are transactional. This is not a bad thing. Get those people as clients and they might eventually come into your office where you can begin some better relationship building skills. First, just work on getting them as clients whether that is by phone or office.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Return of the Online Insurance Lead

When you talk to lead generation companies they will all tell you that the future for insurance marketing is in online insurance leads. They will tell you that younger adults do their shopping on the web. I do not disagree with this statement, but these same lead generation companies have not done the best in gaining the trust of online insurance shoppers. When companies first started generating insurance leads online the quality was fairly high. This is due to the fact most were retrieving leads via online ads on Google and Yahoo and only selling them once or twice. Since those beginning days the industry has taken a drastic downturn. Leads started being sold to 10-12 agents. Consumers were being bombarded with 10-20 calls a day in regards to their quote inquiry. Can you imagine if a major company like Amazon or Walmart badgered their consumer base like this. It would be their end. Unfortunately, nobody was or is policing the lead industry. All (or should I say most) of the companies do not have the agent's or the customer's best interest at heart.  However, there may be great changes coming. Lately, there have been whispers of better leads to come. Lead verification companies have started popping up around the web. Could these companies usher in the return of the online insurance lead?




Slowly, even the major insurance companies are implementing lead verification systems. These systems allow for good leads to pass thru to agents while filtering out poor quality leads such as duplicates, wrong numbers, and incorrect IP addresses. One of the companies leading the way in this reform is the website LeadID. I spoke a little about LeadID in a past post "LeadID Is Bringing the Word "Trust" Back To The Insurance Lead Industry". Their proprietary technology allows for buyers and sellers to come together in a trusted environment. They do not expose buyers, but simply allow for them to make real-time decisions based upon "origin and history flags" that are predetermined.

TrustedForm is another website dedicated to lead certification. In fact they take it a step further and provide custom forms that companies can implement with their own websites to assure that leads are coming from one source. Think of this type of lead verification as taking a snap shot at the time the lead is created. Along with the customers data, the TrustedForm form will collect and store data such as IP address, Geographic location, browser, page URL, visit date & time, as well as the path the user took to get to the form. This is really amazing stuff for anyone who really cares about lead quality.

So what does this mean for agents?

Well simply put, it means expect better leads. I have started suggesting that insurance agents ask about lead verification before buying leads from a company. If they are reputable they will tell you that they are using a lead verification service. Do not let them fool you however, by claiming to have their own verification system in place. This can be done, but to me it seems much safer to use an unbiased third party to do this. In house verification leaves the door open for possible fraud and though we like to think of companies as being truthful, time and time again they disappoint us.

Will this affect the price of a real-time insurance lead?

To my knowledge, prices of real-time leads will stay the same. It does cost money for these companies to use lead verification software, but the added value of quality leads will reduce the amount of returned leads and therefore offset the expense. This means agents will not be asking for credit for as many bad leads so the lead companies will not have to spend extra marketing dollars to make up for those returned leads.

Why did it take this long for insurance lead companies to turn things around?

In my opinion, there were to main reasons lead companies did not hold themselves accountable for producing a quality insurance lead. First, most were greedy. This sounds harsh, but profit was a big reason lead companies allowed bogus leads to go to agents. The second reason, to be fair, was that good verification technology was not available at that time. For instance, LeadID has only been around since 2011. I am not saying this is an excuse for companies to produce poor quality leads, but it does play a factor in why lead quality suffered over the past few years. Affiliates new they could get away with generating false leads because there was no technology to catch them.

I truly hope this return of the quality online insurance will carry on to the future. Sure, there will still be affiliates who find ways to get past verification systems, but hopefully these technology companies can adapt and produce updates that will stave off as many as possible. As an agent who used to buy a great amount of internet leads each year, it is exciting thinking about once again getting quality leads. I will enjoy speaking with prospects who are actually wanting a quote or information. I expect this return to will be slow, but I think things are heading in the right direction. To my fellow agents, good luck and may good leads be with you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why Insurance Agents Should Go To LeadsCon

Twice a year the who's who of the lead industry meet for a conference called Leads Con. The first conference is held in Las Vegas in the Spring and the second takes place in the summer in New York City. Keep in mind, these conferences are geared for lead companies as well as other marketing organizations, but insurance agents and agencies can benefit greatly from attending one of these seminars.


So why should an insurance agent spend the money and take the time to attend LeadsCon?

First, there are several of the top insurance lead companies that have booths in the Expo Hall. Here you will be able to communicate with sales reps as well as a few executives. Try to go to exhibits of companies you have purchased leads from as well as ones you are unfamiliar with. When you visit the booths, carry with you a pen and pad to take notes. Introduce yourself and ask them all the questions that have been on your mind for which you have never received answers to. They will be more inclined to speak transparently about the details of their business in this environment. Inquire about special offers they will be running in the future as well as price changes that may affect your business. Dig deep and do not be afraid to ask tough questions.

Second, look for new marketing opportunities within the conference. There is a plethora of small to medium sized lead companies looking for new business. It would be beneficial to stop by some of these smaller booths to see what they have to offer. You might be surprised by some of the new innovative technology that is out there. Types of companies range from lead management systems to email marketing to direct mail. If nothing else LeadsCon will open your eyes to all sorts of new possibilities in insurance lead generation.

Third, there will be great informative executives speaking at LeadsCon. In the past, there have been CEO's from top insurance lead companies as well as executives from other types of lead corporations. These speakers are great! It is by far the best part of the conference, in my opinion. It is good to hear from companies in other areas of lead generation besides insurance. Sometimes you learn of marketing ideas that may not have been tried for insurance lead generation. Listen closely to all the speakers and you might just learn a thing or too.

Last, attend LeadsCon to give yourself piece of mind when you decide to use a certain lead gen company. You can meet with companies, put faces to names, and eliminate the unknown aspect about buying leads from a company. It is one thing to read over a lead gen company's website or speak with a sales rep over the phone, but it is a totally different feeling when you can sit down with a company and go over everything at length.

I suggest that you try to set up branch off meetings with a few of the insurance lead companies that you are interested in doing business with. You could meet for lunch or simply pull a sales rep aside to ask questions.

Pricing for these conference can get a little expensive (anywhere form $695 - $1,195 depending on when you sign up), but if you are in need of a lead generation company it is well worth your money. Plus, you can tally the expenses up to your insurance business for tax purposes.

Helpful info: If you are currently buying leads from a company that will be attending LeadsCon, ask about Exhibitor Invitee Program. Sometimes these companies can get discounts for their clients and prospects.

Also, if you currently work for an insurance company, ask your superior directly to see if they will pay for your trip. I have heard of companies doing this before.

2014 Leads Con Exhibitor List

"Image courtesy of [sixninepixels] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Real Example of How To Get Endless Free Insurance Leads

It seems that for insurance agents the New Year can go in two different directions, either fast out the gates or lagging behind. You do not want to be the agent twiddling their thumbs at the beginning of the year waiting for clients to call you. If your current marketing budget is limited, but you still need to find a source of insurance leads then you might consider the Endless Free Lead system from Leads To Insure.


Most agents are familiar with insurance lead companies offering a one time bonus for new agents, but this is only beneficial for the first few leads. Some of these companies even force you to commit to buying a certain number of leads in order to receive the up-front bonus. This is not the case with the Endless Free Lead system. Agents who sign up with Leads To Insure will be given the option of paying for their leads as they come in or funding their account and receiving  a 20% bonus each time.

Let's break down the numbers and compare up-front bonuses to the Endless Free Lead plan.

Let's assume you are buying life insurance leads at $15 per lead. (Note: As of January 22, 2014 this is the price for a life insurance lead with Leads To Insure.)

Lead Company X offers 15 free leads if you agree to buy $200 worth of leads in the first month. Leads To Insure offers a 20% bonus on any deposit amount, for an unlimited amount of times, with no commitment.

So, at $15 per lead with Lead Company X you will get $225 worth of free leads. Then you must continue to buy insurance leads until you have spent $200 worth of leads in one month.

This means you get 28.3 leads for $200 or $7.06 per lead. This is pretty good if you only need 28 leads, but most agents need a constant stream of leads. Lets say you continue to use them for another 11 months buying $200 in leads each month. By the end of that year you will have received 174.96 leads and spent a total $2,400 for those leads. This comes out to $13.75 per life insurance lead.

Now lets compare that to Leads To Insure.

Lets also say you also spend $200 for insurance leads each month for 12 months with Leads To Insure. The leads cost is also $15. Each time you add money to your account you will be given a 20% bonus. Each month you will receive a $40 bonus and by the end of the 1st year you will have received a total of $480 in bonuses.

For the same $2,400 you get 192 leads after 12 months. This figures to be $12.79 per lead.

The bottom line

1. You will get $255 more in one year with Leads To Insure than you will get with Lead Company X.

2. You will get 17 more leads in one year with Leads To Insure than you will get with Lead Company X.

3. You have no commitment with Leads To Insure unlike Lead Company X who requires you to buy a certain amount of leads.

The goal of the Endless Free Lead program is to reward insurance agents and agencies who are loyal. If you are only looking to get some quick free leads then this is not the company for you. If, however, you desire a company that will continue to reward you for using their service than Leads To Insure is a good fit.

The longer you stay with Leads To Insure the better the Endless Free Lead system becomes.

"Image courtesy of [Sujin Jetkasettakorn] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".



Thursday, January 16, 2014

How Insurance Agents Should Spend Their Tax Return

Believe it or not tax season is here. In fact, I am already seeing H&R Block TV ads everyday. I hope every one's balance sheet has treated them well and that everyone is due for a big refund. I sure hope I am.

Before you get your heart set on buying that big screen consider what that tax return could do for your insurance business. Here are some great ideas to better use those refunds.



1. Maintenance Your Vehicle

If you use your vehicle on a daily basis to get to and from sales meetings than you know your vehicle can experience some harsh wear and tear; door dings, cracked windshield, worn breaks just to name a few. This important piece of an insurance agents business can often get overlooked.

Depending on the state of your vehicle and the amount your receive back from taxes, you should look into investing in your vehicles maintenance. Look into fixing mechanical issues as well as cosmetic damage sustained throughout the year.

Consider the following before sending your car to the shop:

  1. Brakes
  2. Oil
  3. Anti-freeze/Coolant
  4. Door dings/scrapes
  5. Cracked windows
  6. Steering alignment
  7. Cleanliness of your vehicle

The cleanliness of your vehicle is very important. You do not want clients to see you driving around in a car covered in grease and grime. 

Also, I give you permission to buy a new car if your car is falling apart.

2. New Suits / Work clothes

If you are honest with yourself, you will probably admit to needing a wardrobe upgrade. During the year there is not much time for an insurance agent to think about shopping for new clothes. As an business man or woman your appearance is important. People feel more comfortable doing business with someone who looks the part.
Whether you buy a new suit or just some new dress slacks/skirts or dress shirts, your tax return money could go to good use by investing in a new wardrobe. 

Guy Hint: Take you spouse or significant other.

3. Give Your Office A Makeover

Once again this is something that often gets overlooked by insurance agents. I realize that some captive agents are limited to what their home office will allow, but there are still things that can be done to enhance the appearance of the office.

First decide what, in your office, needs updated the most. Here are some items in your office to consider updating if needed.
  1. Computer or Software
  2. Desks
  3. Chairs - This one can be important for you and your staff. It is not always about comfort. Make sure the chair is good for the spine. Countless hours are logged in these office chairs so they must be high quality.
  4. Carpet
  5. Wall color - painting the walls or installing new carpet can make your office look brand new.
  6. Fresh plants- it is always a good idea to have fresh oxygen floating around the office. They look nice too.
  7. Sign - check with your back office, but a new sign can call attention to your office.
  8. Music - this is optional and I realize it is not for everyone, but if your office is lacking excitement music can lift the spirits like none other.
4. New Website

I spoke a little about websites in a past blog, New Years Resolutions for Insurance Agents, but believe it is important to address here. If you do not have a website or if your website is out-of-date is important to get a website or update your current one. Your tax return could be a perfect solution if you are needing funds to accomplish this.

Some insurance agent's websites are managed by their home office which is great. That saves them money. For those of you who have to handle this task on your own it might be worth spending some money on allowing a professional to update your site. This way you know your funds are going to good use. These professional web masters will know how to make changes to your site to make it more visible on search engines. If a potential client Google's your name you want your website to be the first to pop up. 

5. Charity

Not much to say hear except charity goes a long way in the community. Whatever you do, don't give to charity for the publicity. Do it out of the kindness of your own heart. People will realize what you have done without you bragging about it.

6. Try A New Marketing Method

If you know of a certain marketing method that you have been wanting to try, but have not had the extra cash to try it, now is you chance. When you get your return use it to put money towards a new marketing system. If I had to recommend one, I would say online insurance leads. I know some of you are saying "I've tried those already." Well in my opinion, online insurance leads are going to make a comeback this year. 

There are awesome new services out their that are helping increase the quality of Internet driven insurance leads. 


We hope that you give us a chance to earn your insurance lead business.


7. Take A Vacation

Trust me...your an insurance agent... you've earned it! Take the wife and kids somewhere special. There are a lot of great deals during the winter months. Maybe somewhere warm?




"Image courtesy of [Ambro] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".
"Image courtesy of [artur84] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".
"Image courtesy of [gameanna] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Like Us on Facebook for a 40% Lead Bonus

Step-by-Step:

1. Like Us on our Facebook page.
2. Sign up for your free agent profile on our website leadstoinsure.com
3. Add funds to your account.
4. We will give you a 40% bonus.

Example: Fund your account with $100 and we will add $40 giving you a total balance of $140.

We also offer Endless Free Leads. Receive a 20% bonus in leads each time you fund your account. Minimum deposit of $10.



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Years Resolutions for Insurance Agents

With the New Year comes new year resolutions. Personal goals tend to top a majority of people's resolution list, but do not forget about your business or professional goals. As an insurance agent I am always thinking of ways to improve my business. There are several ideas that I had considered implementing in the past but never seemed to follow through with.


This past year I finally pushed myself to accomplish the goals I set for the business. It took a lot of time and research to execute everything, but it was worth it to see business improve. The goal of this post is to minimize time (and possibly money) that goes into implementing these new year's resolutions for insurance agents.

In no particular order here are some great insurance agent resolutions:

1. Start a blog

This might be the best and easiest thing you can do to increase traffic to your web page and improve your name brand in your local community. Blogs are really easy to create and can be about anything. You might want to tailor your blog posts to insurance topics that will be beneficial to your clients. The key is to write about interesting and helpful topics. Place quality over quantity when it comes to blog posts. Below I listed websites where you can start a blog for free.

Blogger.com - this is Google's version of a blog. It takes a Gmail account to begin.

Wordpress.com - one of the best blogging websites. You can add a custom URL or attach it to your existing website. Not as user friendly as some blogs.

Squidoo.com - very helpful for connecting with other blogging experts.

Freevlog.org - blog geared towards video blogging.

Tumblr.com - blog focused on media rich posts.

Tblog.com - platform for blogs with a focus on generating traffic.


2. Join local organizations

This is something that I was never good about doing. Organizations and group meetings take up valuable time and as an insurance agent, there is never enough time in a day. However, once I started joining groups and organizations in my city I found myself networking like I never thought I could. When you truly involve yourself in a group you naturally make connections with people. These connections might not lead to business right away, but the more time you spend with members the more comfortable they will feel around you. This personal friendship could eventually lead to a future business relationship.

Listed here are a few national organizations that would be great to join. These groups are typically open to new members and provide plenty of opportunities for community involvement.

With each organization, make sure to join your local chapter.

3. Update your website

If you do not have a website than you really need to consider getting one. For those of you who already have a website take some time to examine the website for potential updates. Here are some helpful hints on what to look for when determining if your site needs revised.

1. Make sure the site is mobile friendly. This is a must! Close to 70% of the US populations is using a phone or tablet for their "everyday" device. While the site needs to be mobile friendly, you do not want your site to be a "mobile only site". This means when a user is visiting your page from a mobile device it should look like a mobile website and when visited from a desktop or laptop the site should look appropriate for the larger browsers.

If you find that your website is not mobile friendly do not fret. Their are very inexpensive ways to get your site up to the new standards. Dudamobile.com converts your website to mobile by just entering your URL. If you use a web developer, tell them you want your site to be built (or re-built) using HTML5. This is the new language that many webmasters are using to create their websites. HTML5 allows sites to be responsive. This means the website adapts to the size of screen it is being viewed from. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Create a mobile website with these websites: Octomobi.com, Zoho.com

You can read more about making websites work across multiple mobile devices at Google's Multi-Screen page.

2. Integrate social media with your website. This is important because it gives clients and potential clients and easy way to communicate with you and you them. It also allows a web visitor to share your websites content with their friends and followers. At first I did not see social networks as a good way to market my business, but I have since revised my opinion. There is no better way to keep your name in front of clients. Email use to be the best (and it still works), but now social media has proven to be a faster and easier way to communicate with fans.

The links below will show you how to place social media buttons on your website. If your website is controlled by a 3rd party web administrator, contact them to have social buttons added.

Facebook "Like" button:
https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/like-button/

Twitter "Follow" button:
https://dev.twitter.com/docs/follow-button

Google "+1" button:
https://developers.google.com/+/web/+1button/

3. Eliminate broken web links. This is important for how Google looks at your site. If you have a lot of broken links or links to poor websites Google will use this information to drop you in their page rank. You also want your site to be easily used by your clients and other web visitors. Broken links will hinder them from moving fluidly through the site.

4. Check that all of your pages are indexed on Google and Bing. This is a common mistake if you manage your own website. Each page must contain a Google and Bing verification code in the header. There are other ways to do this and your safest bet is to have a trained web coder do this for you. If your website is managed by an IT person then they most likely have already taken care of this for you.

5. Add a comment section in your website. In my opinion this is optional. If you like the thought of clients being able to leave testimonials on your web page then you might consider adding a comment section. The website htmlcommentbox.com allows you to easily create a comment box widget to add to your website.


4. Use Social Media

I spoke a little about this in the last section, but wanted to expand on how to use social media in your insurance business. First of all, do not think you are going to bring in new business from social media. This medium is good for branding yourself. It is also a great way to communicate with clients. For instance if your office is going to be closed for a day, you can post this on your social sites to make sure everyone knows.

You can drive traffic to your website and blog by posting content from your site(s) to all of your social networks. You can also post other online articles that you find relevant or helpful.

You do not want to troll your Facebook page for new business. Do not bother people with solicitation. They will most likely un-friend you. Keep the posts to a minimum. You do not want to bombard your friend's news feed.

If you have a good product you want people to know about go ahead and put it up on your social sites. Just do not over post it.


5. Spend more time communicating with current clients

I do not want this point to be mistaken. You still need to set your primary goal to bringing in new clients, but your current clients could be potential new business as well. I am as guilty as anyone in forgetting to mine my current book of business. Do not make this mistake in the new year.

Your current clients should be an easy sell. They know who you are and see you at least once a year so they feel comfortable with you. It takes some tact to encourage your clients to do additional business with you. Make them understand how this will be beneficial to them. An easy time to do this is during your annual review with clients. (If you are not doing annual reviews make that your number one new year's resolution.) If you are, then it does not hurt to solicit new business when you visit clients for reviews.


6. Start a Newsletter

A newsletter is an incredibly easy way to keep your name in front of clients. Just like with social media, do not expect to bring in a great deal of new business. What a newsletter will do for you is maintain your status as a community insurance leader. Your clients will know they can call on you when they have a question relating to insurance.

It is a good idea to insert your social media buttons in your newsletter email so subscribers can easily share your content.

If you need help with starting an insurance newsletter try the following companies:

ConstantContact.com

VerticalResponse.com

MailChimp.com

If you want a free way to set up your own newsletter you can download SendBlaster. This works for Windows. Jot Form will allow you to insert a newsletter subscriber form on your website.


7. Spend some time learning SEO

For those of you who have never heard of SEO it stands for Search Engine Optimization. To make a long story short SEO is the the ethical, natural, and most effective way to increase your page rank on major search engines. There are several methods that go along with search engine optimization. There are free tutorials and videos that will help you get started so you can maximize your website ranking.

I found the best videos to learn about SEO come directly form Google. Matt Cutts, head of Google Search, has hundreds of videos to watch on Youtube. Here are a couple of videos from Matt explaining Google Search and SEO.

Matt Cutts on Google Search



Matt Cutts on SEO


8. Make a better effort to cross sell insurance products

We all can acknowledge that cross selling is a great way to increase insurance sales. I thought instead of going in depth about something most of you already know about, I would post a link to a previous post with a real life example of how to cross sell insurance.

Here is the link. http://blog.leadstoinsure.com/2013/12/real-life-example-of-how-to-cross-sell.html


9. Try a new marketing technique

I am not going to tell you which technique to try nor attempt to persuade you that one marketing campaign is better than another. However, I will tell you that you should not let your marketing become stagnant.

If your current marketing system is working that is great. Keep doing it. But you might consider adding one or two new plans to keep things fresh. You might find something works that you never new about before. If nothing else, research a few different techniques so that you know what is out there. You might be able to take certain parts of one marketing plan and use them with your current plan.

In my opinion 2014 will see the return of quality online insurance leads. New companies like LeadID and TrustedForm provide a verification system that eliminates duplicate leads and bogus IP leads. Lead aggregators that use this type of verification will have a higher quality lead than those who don't. Read our previous post The Insurance Lead Industry in 2014.


10. Create one piece of viral content

This is easier said than done and it is not necessary. It just sounded like something fun that the whole office could participate in such as the Harlem Shake.

Read this article to better understand how content goes viral. http://socialtriggers.com/craft-contagious-content/


11. Start a Vlog

By vlog I mean a video blog. You can do this on Youtube for free. Your vlog can go hand in hand with your blog. You can use a lot of the same content from you blog for you vlog script.

Google search robots like video content. Display your videos on your social sites, website, blog, and even in your newsletter.

Just like your blog, make sure you create videos that involve something helpful for your viewers.

Also, allow yourself enough time to shoot and edit your video. Make it look professional. Have fun with it and don't forget to smile when your talking. I know it sounds trivial, but I am always amazed at how many videos are out there where the presenter is stone faced while talking.


12. Give a public speech

Public speaking can be a good way to establish your name in the community. There are several places that typically need a public speaker.

Local public schools occasionally offer leaders in the community to speak to students and sometime even staff members. It might be beneficial to call up the superintendent or a board member to see if they need a presenter for the school year.

Universities also frequently have public speakers address the student body. Sometimes there are even specific groups or clubs on campus that will have a speaker come in to talk to members. I suggest finding out if the local university has a business or investment club you can speak to.

Your church might need someone to speak to the congregation. In this case, you do not need to talk about business or insurance unless that is what the clergy requests.

If you belong to any organizations offer to speak at their next event.


13. Maintain a work-life balance

At the beginning of this post I said that these resolutions were in no particular order. That wasn't entirely true. I saved the most important resolution for last. In my experience a work-life balance is the key to the success of all other resolutions, personal or business. Give yourself set hours, even if they are long hours. If you say that you work from 8 - 5 but realistically always leave at 7 then set your hours to 8 - 7. Never leave later than 7 o clock. This will help you and your family plan events and work around each others schedules. Remember a happy wife is a happy life!

I know the business can be stressful. It has its highs and lows. The most important thing I learned from my days of playing baseball is that you can't get too high or too low. The same applies to the insurance business. You will have some months that you are riding a huge wave others you will be in the cellar clawing to get out. Keep your emotions consistent and you will survive the year.

"Image courtesy of [Keerati] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bad Advice Can Ruin Your Insurance Career

So you have decided to become an insurance agent. You passed all of your licensing tests and started working for an insurance company. Now what? Before you start taking advice from anybody and everybody do your own research about what it takes to be a successful agent. There is going to be a number of people, including fellow agents, who will give you advice. You must remember one thing. Everyone is different and something that might have worked for one person might not work for you. Bad advice can kill a career before it begins.


Once you are officially on your career path as an insurance agent you will most undoubtedly start prospecting for new business. Marketing yourself and bringing in new leads is crucial to the success of your practice. This is the area where a majority of the bad advice is given. There are a lot of people out there who think they know the answer when it comes to lead generation. My goal is to provide you the types of bad advice to look out for and the sources of that bad advice.

Possible source of bad advice - Fellow insurance agents & managers

Many of these people giving unwise advice are fellow agents who have had success at generating leads. For example, if you are a captive agent, your manager will guide you on marketing tactics. There is an unfortunate thing happening with new agents. They are receiving poor advice from their senior managers. It goes without saying that not all managers are giving poor advice and most of them are truly trying to help, but they are blinded by their own success. They think "if it worked for them" it can work for you. This is not always the case.

Bad advice - Canvassing

For many new agents entering their first year of business it is important to get your name out in the community. A good way to do this is by canvassing. Canvassing is basically going door-to-door handing out business cards and informational packets to businesses that could be potential clients. Canvassing for the purpose of brand or name recognition is good advice no matter who you are. The bad advice comes when an agent or manager tries to persuade you that this is a immediate lead generation source.

It is not wise to walk into a business and try to sell them insurance. In fact you should not even place a follow up call to a business you visit. It is a waste of time. If the business is in need of something they will contact you. A business card or pamphlet can go a long way. When a need arises the business owner will call you because you are convenient. They have your information and know what you do (hopefully). You will come off as desperate and annoying if you call them every month asking to meet with them to "show them how you can help with their insurance and financial needs."

A fellow insurance agent who started in the business the same time as me failed within the first three months because his manager told him to do nothing but canvass businesses, send them a pre-approach letter, and then place follow up calls. I was given the same advice but after the first attempt did not work I switched approaches. My friend kept implementing the same plan and was not successful. You must have a constant source of warm leads and canvassing does not provide immediate results.

Possible source of bad advice - Family

You've got to love family, but they might not be able to give the best advice about insurance prospecting. Your family wants to see you succeed, but if their opinion could steer you in the wrong direction. I have heard of people who have burned bridges with family friends by taking their parents advice about selling insurance to them. Always know this. If there is ever any dispute about the insurance policy it falls back on you. Ask yourself, would you want to lose a friendship over business?


Also, do not bug your family or friends about buying insurance. They sometimes are your toughest sell and it might take some time to gain their trust, financially, before they commit to doing business with you.

Bad advice - Make a list of everyone you know and solicit their business

Once again, this is a no no. Before I became an agent I had this happen to me a couple of times from some friends and I remember thinking how desperate they sounded when they called me. Friends and family are the hardest people to sell to because they know you are not an experienced agent. To them you are just "one of the guys" or "part of the family". It is important to be proud of what you do so you should definitely share with all of them what you are doing for a living. In time you will probably end up getting most of their insurance business, but you have to prove that you are serious about the career.

It is even more difficult for new agents who have previously bounced around from job to job. Your friends and family are going to be skeptical that you will not stick with your new career.

It is better to try other methods of marketing and lead generation before calling on your family and friends.

Possible source of bad advice - Forums and discussion boards

This is a new one for me, but I have found that certain insurance forums on the web are full of bad and narcissistic advice. This is the worst place for new agents to look for advice about gaining prospects. For instance, lets say you start a discussion on one of these forums asking the other members of the forum to give you advice about best marketing practices for new insurance agents. You can expect to get lots of responses with a majority being unhelpful and some being derogatory. There are agents out there who have extra time on their hands and troll these boards looking for the chance to demean uninformed/new members. They will most likely answer your question in a derogatory way or flag your post as a scam. Other responses will come from lead generation companies trying to find agents to sell leads. Some lead companies do this in a non-aggressive, positive way, but others will scrape your email and other personal information so they can send you spam.


Bottom line, stay away from the online insurance forums and discussion boards especially if you are a new agent. Their is not a lot of good advice to be obtained at these sources. Most of the good agents are not going to give away their great ideas. It is up to you to figure out what works and perfect your own skills.

Bad advice - Joint appointments

I am referring to two agents going on an appointment together. This is OK if you are a new hire and your agency requires you to do some initial appointments with the help of a senior advisor. However, I know for a fact there are agencies out there who believe in never going on a appointment alone. If you are into this kind of thing that is fine, but why would you want to split a commission that you earned yourself. For instance, you have worked a prospect for several months, calling and emailing them. You have finally got the lead to buy into your product or service and they are ready to do business. You set the appointment and low and behold there is a colleague that wants to help you with the appointment. They might claim they are a better closer. Watch out for these agents. They will try to ride everyone's coat tails because they cannot cut it on their own.

Possible source of bad advice - Yourself

You can be your own worst enemy. Do not talk yourself into spending money on a lead generation technique that is untested. Even if you come up with the idea on your own, do not invest a lot of money until you know it works. When you first start out in the industry you are going to have lots of ideas rolling thru your head. Try to stay focused on what you need to do. You can overwhelm yourself trying different marketing plans. It is important to test different ones, but try them one at a time so you can calculate the success of each campaign.

Bad advice - A float in the parade

This was actual advice given to me by my first manager. He suggested I do two things, put my ad in a newspaper and enter a float into all the small town fall festival parades. I am not joking.

Life as an insurance agent can be extremely rewarding. Stay positive no matter what happens. There will be highs and lows just like anything in life. Try not to get too high during the good times or too low during the rough times. Be selective in the advice you accept and realize that people might mean well, but their advice could be leading you down the path to failure. If you feel you are on this path make a change. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. If something isn't working stop doing it.

"Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".
"Image courtesy of [kibsri] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".