How to use direct response marketing to drastically increase sales

By Brett K

Insurance Mavericks


I focused on helping and providing quality information to potential clients that focused on helping them overcome their largest problems and squelching their fears.

I wish I would’ve figured this out earlier in my insurance career…

Like most agents, I focused on cold calling, driving around the entire state, and selling to anyone who took a breath.

I wanted to find a different way to provide my products and services. I wanted people to call me. Insurance marketing reps and agency principals told me cold calling was the best way.

Fortunately, I found Dan Dennedy and direct response marketing and never looked back. A huge part of the amazing direct response formula is giving someone an irresistible offer.

For months, my best offer was, "I can save you money." Sadly, all my competition was saying the exact same thing. Here I was in an ultra-competitive market and I looked like everyone else. No wonder I struggled so much in the early days.

I remember picking up the phone to cold call, having a business owner answer the phone and counting the seconds until she got off the phone. What horrible positioning!

So I kept studying and learning. I started to pick niches and learn about my potential clients. What were their biggest problems, the industry lingo and their largest fears?

Quickly, I started to feel more in tune with my prospect. This helped as I spoke to my clients on the phone, but it didn’t completely solve the mystery of getting people to call me.

So I kept asking myself, “Why would someone call me?”

I pondered that question for weeks. After time, more thought and study, I realized I had to give my prospects an irresistible offer, but much more than just a price savings.

So I focused on helping and providing quality information to potential clients that focused on helping them overcome their largest problems and squelching their fears.

It worked.

People started to request my information. And that is the business you should be in. It’s a proven fact people will resist being sold something when it appears like a commercial. Hence, you have to make your marketing have value.

The late Jim Rohn said, “We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace.”

Of course the insurance I was selling had value, but not in the way I was selling it. (You may want to read that over again).
This is where the majority of agents and advisors miss the boat. They focus on being like everyone else and not providing value in their marketing.

When people don’t realize you’re trying to sell them something, they won’t resist -- which is why providing valuable information people truly want will persuade your prospect to call you.

Make your marketing valuable

Agents make this harder than it needs to be. Today it’s easier to find the problems in your market/niche. You can go online and visit forums or online communities. Facebook has groups you can join. You can even get involved in a group locally where your prospects hang out.

That’s the first step. You need to have a good pulse on the largest problem your market faces. More specifically is focusing on the problems your prospect faces when dealing with insurance or the product/service you provide.

Next, you compile that information and put it in a format your target market normally reads, watches or listens to. If you are targeting a baby boomer audience, they still read newspapers and respond to direct mail. However, if you want to target 27-year-old males, online may be a better way to reach them.

Point being, you need to know a few key things before putting together a free report, CD or online video:

1. Your target market’s largest problems

2. How you can reach your target market

3. The best format to compile the information

Quality information can come in many formats, but if you don’t know your target market, you may kill response. This is very important.

I’ve had this happen may times. I’ve had a killer message, but put in on the wrong marketing media, and it failed dramatically.

However, countless times I’ve had a mediocre message, but used the right marketing media, and still got a decent response.

Did you forget the formatting?

Also, you want to package your free report, CD or online video so it doesn’t look like a sales message. If you look like a blaring commercial, most times people will quickly shun your message.

Let’s take direct mail for example. If you send an envelope with blaring headlines and teaser copy all over, it screams “I want to sell you something.” Now you can definitely test that and have it work but in most cases, sending a letter that looks like it came from Aunt Betty will get opened and have more value.

Magazines, cards and FedEx packages also have extreme value. The key here is to get your message opened and read. Lack of readership is death when using direct mail.

If you use a different marketing media, study what formats are valuable to people and test them, I guarantee your response will skyrocket and sales will increase if you focus intensely on this during the year.