The Internet — life or death
When I got started in the insurance business, I bought into the promises that I could make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and live life on my own terms. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and have the freedom of being my own boss while having a great income.
Then reality hit.
My first Christmas as an insurance adviser, after about seven months in the business, I brought home a pay check of just $347.
Ever optimistic, I knew things would get better. After another year in the business, I had good things happening. I was getting more clients by working hard and making a lot of cold calls; but I never could get used to the income rollercoaster and the anxiety of not knowing how much money I was going to make.
I wanted the security of knowing I was making a certain amount of money each month. I was working in an office with 10 other agents, and they all experienced the same income roller coaster. And it was because we were all following the old school insurance agent model.
You know what I’m talking about: working your top 100. Which is basically writing down 100 of your friends and family so you can try to sell them something. Under this model, you also make cold calls and hope to pry referrals out of your clients. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Every no gets you closer to a yes.” That stuff may have worked years ago, but it's certainly not the case now.
In this series of articles, I will show you why and how that type of thinking and the traditional methods of selling insurance will ultimately end up costing you money and possibly even your career in the business.
Not only have times changed dramatically from just a few years ago, but the client, the consumer and the prospect have also changed. The new media and the new consumer have altered the insurance and financial adviser landscape for good. It is driving unprepared agents out of the business
at an unprecedented rate.
That's why this series could be so critically important to the future of your career — it can give you the ammunition to avoid being an Internet casualty, and at the same time, show you how to leverage the amazing marketing power of the Internet to make you more money than ever before.
You may have experienced the frustration of seeing your marketing stop working. I know many agents who count on direct mail, seminars and other traditional advertising methods, only to see their results diminishing month by month.
This change in the market is documented by a wide range of statistics. TV viewership is hitting all time lows and newspaper circulation is dropping like a rock. Some publications are struggling so much they are either failing completely or going from daily to weekend-only issues because readership has fallen so low.
Radio audiences are fragmented between satellite radio and broadcast radio, while the demand for iPods, smart phones and streaming music continues to increase.
Direct mail costs continue to climb because the postal service can’t figure out a way to make a profit. Heaven forbid they reduce expenses. Instead, just like every other government agency, their solution is to increase prices and take more of our money.
Not only is traditional media more expensive, but it's also increasingly difficult to get results because of this single important point: Consumers have changed.
It's not just a change in the media they take in — more on-demand and mobile media from smart phones and iPads — but consumers are now, more than ever, demanding content and media specific to them individually.
Remember the days when you had three choices on TV: ABC, NBC and CBS? You got your entire news, weather and sports from those sources and now everything has changed.
If you want sports, then you go to a specific sports channel. Likewise, if you want golf, then you go to a golf channel; for football, you go on the NFL channel; for college sports, you go to college sports channel. If you want cooking, you have a multitude of food and cooking channels. If you want weather, you have 24-7 weather channels, plus instant access online. And it goes on and on with new websites and channels popping up every day.
The information age has trained consumers to want solutions that are specific to them and only them. No longer is a broad based message effective in getting people to work with us.
So now, let’s tackle the 800-pound gorilla: The Internet. It has killed, and is currently killing, many industries at an alarming rate. In fact, I believe it's the biggest killer we have ever seen. It has devastated independent retailers, newspapers, travel agents, TV commercial advertisers and the music industry, to name a few.
The insurance agent is on the hit list. Just look at the P&C insurance world. On the Internet, home and auto quotes are one of the highest searched and most competitive industries in the entire world. Life and health insurance quotes are right behind it.
In fact, every month, the number of life insurance quote searches numbers in the tens of millions. And here’s the brutal truth: These millions of people are folks who, 10 years ago, would have been buying insurance from an independent agent in their local area, but are now buying from online insurance companies across the nation.
The Internet offers a great deal of traffic and opportunity. But the average insurance agent or agency simply cannot compete with the monster Internet lead companies that buy up traffic.
Some of them spend $1 million every single month to generate a lead just to sell them the insurance directly or resell the lead to 10 different insurance agents.
Most agents have had very little success working with leads generated online because they are competing with multiple different agents at the same time, or the prospect is just looking for a cheap price.
In this scenario, you are set up to fail. It’s not surprising why so many agents hate Internet leads. In most cases, you are dealing with horrible prospects with too much competition — not a recipe for success.
They aren’t all losers
But don’t give up on the Internet just yet, because it’s not just low quality and cheap price buyers who are online.
So the secret to success is not about going online and competing head to head, trying to generate your own leads using Google Adwords or to get people searching for your quote. That is a losing battle.
In the next couple of articles, I will give you the step-by-step blueprint to attracting, educating and creating high quality prospects that are exclusively yours.
The blueprint will show you how to leverage the amazing power of the Internet to fill your schedule with exclusive, qualified appointments; break through geographic barriers; expand your business nationally; and leverage your time by selling in multiples. The best part is that it can all happen on systems, almost automatically.
The future is the Internet, and the future is now. The Internet has fundamentally changed the consumer … forever.
There’s no going back to the good old days of morning newspapers and three channels on TV. If you want to succeed in business today, you must make the Internet and even mobile marketing a big part of your business.
In the next articles, you will discover the steps to take, the pitfalls to avoid and the proven process you can follow to generate success for your business online.