101 of the very best insurance marketing and prospecting tips, Pt. 1
By Lew Nason
Insurance Pro Shop
What most agents, advisors and planners are missing is this: If you want to make it much easier to generate a constant stream of the ideal insurance and annuity prospects, to set more appointments and close more sales, then you need to constantly get your name out there, to become the most recognized, trusted and respected financial advisor in your local community. You want to become the expert with whom people want to meet.
“Prospecting should not be a problem for anyone selling insurance. It should be a process. However, prospecting is a problem for most of us, simply because a process can take some time and effort to set up — and even more time and effort before it begins to produce results.” — Dan Vinal
In this first part of a four-part series, I will share the first 24 of the very best, proven and cost-effective insurance marketing and prospecting tips, ideas and advice I've learned over the past 30 years. I've learned these tips by working with the very best in the insurance industry and financial services industry. These tips, ideas and advice are the basics you must use to get you off to a quick start.
Consider this: If you want to consistently attract your ideal prospects to you, then your message must be focused on helping people identify and want to solve their financial problems. It's not about you, your credentials, your great products or your great sales idea. It’s about how you can help them spend, save, invest, insure and plan wisely for the future in order to achieve financial independence.
1. Have a true marketing plan. Develop a contact strategy consisting of direct mail, free reports, telemarketing, newsletters and special events such as seminars and other educational formats that are designed to build a relationship with your ideal prospects over time — the people that need and want what you are offering.
2. Be a big fish in a small pond. Your primary goal should be to get known as the most respected and trusted advisor in your local community. How much easier and more cost-efficient is it for you to get known in your local community, versus an entire city? Consider the legendary Ben Feldman — one of the most prolific life insurance salespeople in world history. He did all of his business in the small town of East Liverpool, Ohio (population 15,000).
3. Create a bio sheet. Use a professional photo and share both your professional resume as well as personal information on what makes you unique within the industry and identifies the problems you solve for your clients. It explains why prospects should work with you.
4. Let all of your friends, family, neighbors and the people you do business with know what you do. Not that you sell insurance or are a financial advisor, but how you are helping people. For example, tell them how you help people save for a tax-free retirement, or how you can help them pay off their mortgage 10 to 15 years early without their spending any additional money or changing their current lifestyle. 5. Ask your friends and family for their help. One of the quickest ways to get started in this business, to get appointments or get people to your educational workshops is to ask for their help. You need to rehearse your approach, fact-finding and sales presentation in front of real people. And the best place to do that is in front of your acquaintances, family and friends. Ask them if they will allow you to practice with them. It’s a non-threatening way to get them to hear your ideas, without them feeling obligated or put upon. And, if you do a good job, many of them will ask if you can help them to put the financial plan together for their situation and/or you can ask them for referrals.
Note: The more you practice your fact-finding and sales presentation, the higher your closing ratio will become, and the less leads you'll need.
6. Identify your best customers. Stop wasting your time and money chasing poor-quality prospects. Create a perfect prospect profile based on your best existing clients, and only target great potential buyers. You’ll spend much less energy, time and money contacting people who are the most likely to buy. Find out what problems they are struggling with and how you can help them. Your insurance marketing strategy should focus on delivering a special message that addresses the needs and wants of that group.
7. Establish and understand your primary geographical market area. Identify your geographic area by zip code, county, neighborhood or other parameters and understand the prospects that live there. Then, develop marketing campaigns to promote relevant offerings based on life triggers and other events that may be happening in your community, including new home buyers, births and marriages within this area. Target your products and services to those events.
8. Get known in your local community. Be active in your church or a civic group. Get to know the members. Write articles about the group and what they are doing for the community. Include your by-line on the article, along with your contact info, and offer a free report. The better known you become, the more cost-effective your marketing will be.
9. Use monthly newsletters. Newsletters create credibility and stimulate interest in your services. Send a monthly newsletter to everyone you know. By sending a newsletter to your friends, family, neighbors, clients and prospects, you are constantly reminding them of what you do (or in some cases who you are) in a very non-threatening way. It's non-threatening, because there's no pressure to buy anything.
10. Ask your clients and friends for names of people who would like to get your newsletter. Make sure your newsletter is not boring insurance and financial stuff. Put some personality into it. You will find your newsletter to be a very important lead generation and referral marketing tool. But like I said, it has to be fun, interesting and helpful. Do it. 11. Send a thank you note to someone everyday. Have you said thank you to someone to show how grateful you are for them today? It’s such a small thing, but it can have a huge impact on your life and the life of that person. Send a thank you note for referrals, appointments and meetings. Find little ways to incorporate gratitude in your life; you’ll be much happier and you’ll make the people around you much happier, as well. Also, you'll stand out from the crowd. It's a small gesture that can create a ripple effect that will make your world a better place.
12. Make yourself referable. Do more than what’s expected to get your clients to talk about you to their friends and family about how you’ve helped them.
13. Referrals are priceless. By making yourself known, either through local organizations or just by being an active member of your community, people tend to ask, "What is it that you do?" From there, you will receive not only clients, but an endless supply of referrals. People prefer to do business with someone local.
14. Pick up the phone. I have yet to find a better way of marketing oneself than speaking with a prospect on the phone. It's way better than direct mailings and cheaper, too. Looking for folks to call? Try whitepages.com or do a search on neighborhoods — it's free.
15. Develop a "drip" list. Create a list of your best prospects that you contact on a monthly (even weekly) basis with key information. Keep your name in front of your target audience.
16. Get published or speak. Write an article in a local publication or newspaper, or participate in a speaking engagement. Nothing creates credibility faster than getting published or public speaking.
17. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. Networking in these organizations offers great opportunities for us, as financial professionals, to meet more people and promote our services.
18. Be creative. Your clients will remember the little things that you do if they are original and creative. For example, a monthly calendar of local events is a good way to stay in touch. It can be mailed or emailed, depending on the client.
19. Plan to prospect. Set aside time on a regular basis to attend to prospecting. Don’t wait until you run out of prospects or suddenly need more. Discipline your prospecting process so it’s something you do every day, every week. Schedule time for prospecting each day, and have specific goals for the number of calls you make and the letters you send. At the end of the week, look back and assess how well you kept your activity on track. Pick a time each week when you schedule your appointments. Don't accept incoming phone calls during that time and you can't be interrupted. 20. Statistics show that 80 percent of sales happen after the fifth contact.
- 80 percent of all sales are made after five or more client contacts
- 48 percent of all producers give up after the initial sales call
- 25 percent more give up after the second sales call
- 12 percent more give up after the third sales call
- 5 percent more give up after the fourth sales call
21. Use "door openers." There are many agents that are using health insurance, Medicare supplements, dental programs, mortgage insurance, trusts, etc. to get in the prospect's door. When done right, it can be very effective.
Critical: If you are going to use a door opener, you must only use it in your target market and you must have a way to transition into the sale you really want to make. The easiest way to transition is to do a complete fact-find with everyone. Too many salespeople end up selling only the door opener.
22. Join or form a lead group. Another great way to get high-quality leads is by joining or forming a lead exchange group with local business professionals who cater to your ideal prospects and have already built strong relationships with them. A lead exchange group is a formal group of successful business people who get together every week, or every two weeks, for breakfast or lunch, to exchange leads.
23. Have a great follow-up sequence. A great follow-up sequence is a key ingredient in improving your insurance prospecting results. The very best insurance agents have a systematic approach in place. This means that the system has been designed to deal with fresh prospects. Even an agent or planner with the worst letter-writing and telephone skills in the world will have better and more consistent results than the guy or gal who doesn't have a system in place. You need to follow up with your prospects once your materials have been sent. Call them or have another piece of direct mail sent. Consider using scarcity to entice the prospect to buy with some urgency.
24. Successful people take action. Successful people don't procrastinate and they don’t spend their life waiting for the "right time." They are busy, productive and proactive. While most people are lying on the couch, planning, over-thinking, sitting on their hands and generally going around in circles, successful people are out there getting the job done.
"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want." — Zig Ziglar