Agents have used shotgun marketing, targeted marketing, focused marketing and all forms of advertising in their efforts to win a growing client base. We have always found that the simplest approach is usually the best approach (and, is likely, the least expensive approach, as well).
Many years ago, we tried a simple, but direct marketing approach with a personal lines agency. Knowing that most independent insurance agencies convert the greatest part of their business within a few miles of their location, we created a marketing program that reached residents close to the agency first and worked outward in growing concentric circles to market to an ever-increasing population base. We used our Neighborhood Marketing Program that takes photos of houses in a development and delivers those pictures to the homeowner with a quote to insure the house. Radiating that program using the agency location as the center of the growing concentric circles resulted in maximum exposure to the residents of the area most likely to purchase insurance. It was a raving success and has been used throughout the U.S. for the last decade.
Shortly afterwards we expanded that concept to commercial agencies who wrote general commercial lines. Using the same concentric circle approach we established a visitation program for the producers supplemented with a five step marketing campaign to every business within a small concentric circle around the agency (its most likely constituents anyway). We found that “Familiarity Breeds Clients” and the program worked as well as the personal lines program. As the agency’s marketing efforts continued to grow, we grew the concentric circles and “touched” every business with the same series of messages, that we were the local professional independent agency making itself available to the businesses to analyze their insurance programs – no sales pitch, no obligation. It was a free “check-up” to assure the business owner that his insurance program was sound, or provide him with alternatives. Most small businesses were flattered that an agent would actually come to visit them.
Whether you are a personal lines agency or a commercial agency, plan to begin a disciplined marketing program to expand the activity of your producers. Most producers spend more time in the agency than with clients and prospects. That must change if you expect your producers to grow their (and your) books of business. Activity generates sales. A concentric marketing program will cause the activity to begin. A multi-step (minimum 3/yr) marketing program to the people or businesses that you meet will result in a steady flow of new business.
Don’t let the soft market freeze your agency. Keep driving for more clients. During the soft cycle, new clients make up for the lower premiums generated by your existing book of business. As the market hardens the growth in clients that you drive during the soft market will make you a lot of money as rates and premiums increase.
Make your concentric circles small (1/2 mile radius) and grow them as you penetrate the residents and business owners within each concentric circle.
Create a disciplined approach. Use the Neighborhood Program (call us for a description or for assistance) for personal lines for developments in which all of the houses are of similar construction, age and protection class. Send a letter of introduction to the businesses within the concentric circle in a Drip Marketing campaign (sending only as many letters each day as can be followed up by your producers in the next few days) followed by personal visits for the producers to introduce themselves. Tell the producers that the purpose of the visit is NOT to sell insurance. It is simply to make friends and build new relationships for themselves and for the agency. Follow-up marketing material and visits will be used to build those relationships until the prospect ASKS THE PRODUCER to be his agent. No quotes will be done until that stage is reached. If a relationship is not going to happen (the producer will know that within 15 minutes of the first visit), that prospect is not pursued and the producer continues to move through the concentric circle.
Have a Prospect Bank that includes every prospect that is included in the concentric circle including a notation of when they were visited, by whom, the results of the visit, inclusion of any “intelligence” gathered during the visit (that would be valuable on subsequent visits) and the next logical step for that prospect (including a time-line). In this way, you, as the agency owner, will know a) how many prospects have been seen, b) the extent of the relationship-building skills of each producer, and c) whether the producers are following up with each prospect to continue the relationship-building process toward making the prospect your client.
Agency Consulting Group, Inc. Role: We can create the Neighborhood Program and/or the Concentric Marketing Program for your agency. We can train your producers into the relationship approach to sales. We can create a Prospect Bank for you. We can provide a management reporting device to tell you exactly where you stand with the numbers of prospects and their track toward becoming your clients. Call us at 800-779-2430