Let’s face it. If you don’t have a living, breathing, reasonably healthy person to talk to, you don’t really have a shot at making it in this business. But, LIMRA tells us that there are plenty of prospects out there. In fact, 63% of people have never had a life insurance agent, yet 60% say they would prefer to buy from someone they meet in person. Our job is to get in front of those people.
You can have a great selling system, great products and the greatest sales ideas, but without a prospect you don’t have a business. So our business boils down to our ability to prospect and market ourselves to the community. With that premise, let’s look at 10 basic principles of marketing and prospecting for life insurance agents. But first, let’s make sure we all understand the true meaning of marketing, prospecting, and selling:
Marketing is the process of attracting people to you, your services and your products.
Prospecting is generating a flow of names for you to contact.
Selling is getting someone to say yes.
Selling isn’t the problem in most cases. It is our experience that if you put an agent in front of a qualified prospect, at least half of the time that agent will make a sale. The challenge is getting in front of qualified prospects. And the way you do that is through marketing and prospecting. Here are five marketing and five prospecting principles to consider to bring you closer to the sale:
1. Branding — You are constantly building your own brand in the community whether you know it or not. So don’t let your brand happen by accident. Build a specific action plan to market your business. It should be the backbone of your business plan with these sections:
Your vision for your business — What do you want your business to look like from all different perspectives? What do you want other people to say about your business? For example, your vision might be: “ABC Financial is recognized as a leading financial services agency in the Birmingham Metro Area in terms of professionalism, customer satisfaction, and life insurance sales.”
Business Analysis — This is a basic SWOT analysis. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and outside threats? You need to ask yourself these questions and know the honest answers.
Target market — What is your target market or markets? A market is a group of people with similarities who communicate with each other regularly. What are the markets you like to work in? What people do you like to do business with? Where do you have a connection? Where do you have experience? What is the right target market for you? I was an engineer before becoming an agent. I thought engineers would be a great market. Then I found out the hard way that I don’t like selling life insurance to engineers. So that’s not a target market for me.
Marketing and Promotional Activities –What will you do to promote yourself in the community and in the target market you have chosen? Ideas abound: sponsor children’s sports teams, conduct seminars, or hold a “kids’ day” in conjunction with others.
The last might include photo-taking, fingerprinting and other fun stuff for the kids, plus financial info on college funding for mom and dad (be sure there’s an info card to fill out with a place for their e-mail address). And don’t forget: Create a Web site for your business. In today’s world you must have a presence on the Web to be successful.
Budgeting and expectations — Nothing’s free. Decide how much you can spend on a regular basis to build your business. That’s what we’re talking about here: building your business. Marketing isn’t optional for a successful business; it’s a requirement.
2. Educate yourself — Bob Krumroy has written several outstanding books with great, specific ideas on marketing. Read them all. Go to any of the online book stores and search “marketing” and you’ll find a huge assortment of marketing books, any one of which will give you excellent ideas.
3. Word of mouth marketing — Networking is what many people call it. This also fits in the prospecting category. It is a method for gathering names, but it’s also a way for you to be more visible in your community. In the past we even called it “social mobility.”
If you are not involved with several groups where you can meet people, you are making it hard on yourself. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Lions Club, Optimists, Toastmasters, the local historical association, committees at church, or any other groups you have a genuine interest in. Then start meeting people.
They will ask what you do; your job is to be ready to tell them in a short concise fashion that you help people as a resource in financial matters. Or, tell them you’re a life insurance agent and be proud of our industry. The objective is to get their name and contact information, permission to call, and then get back to the reason you’re at the meeting in the first place. You’re not going to make the sale at that club meeting so just concentrate on gathering names to contact later. Network all the time.