Imagine a free Web site that can connect you with hundreds of prospects and offer you personal information about them – personal information that they are more than happy to share with you. The site is easy to use, and it takes only a small investment of time each day.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Actually, such a site does exist. It’s called Facebook, and agents all over the country are using it to follow up with current clients and meet new prospects every day.
Facebook was founded in 2004 as a social networking site for college students. Since then, it has expanded to include more than 200 million users worldwide. And with the 35-and-older age group being the fastest-growing demographic on the site, Facebook presents a unique opportunity to network with prospects and market your practice.
A new way to network
For most users, the main benefit of Facebook is the networking aspect, as members can connect with others on the site by becoming their Facebook “friend.” Honey Leveen, president of the Houston-based independent agency Your LTCI Specialists, said she’s found many networking opportunities through Facebook.
“I just found a group for the greater-Houston area Women’s Chamber of Commerce,” she said. “Now I get notices of their events. When I go to their meeting, chances are I’ll meet someone who needs long term care insurance.”
Matt McDermott, employee benefits consultant for the insurance brokerage firm The Landmark Group, has also uncovered plenty of networking opportunities using Facebook.
“I had a friend on Facebook that I went to college with, and I noticed that we were going to be at the same event,” McDermott said. “I was able to make sure we met in person, and it turns out he works for a company that I’m interested in doing business with. It gets me closer to someone in the company, and I’m able to have a conversation with someone in the company about employee benefits.”
Leveen appreciates that Facebook provides a forum through which she can connect with people in a more casual setting.
“I go to tons of networking stuff where everyone is dressed in business suits and we have formal conversations, but when I meet that same person at a happy hour, we let our hair down and talk about our personal lives,” she said. “You kind of do that on Facebook, and I really love that.”
Virtual sales call
Jim Carney, an insurance professional from Doylestown, PA, has already seen his Facebook account pay off professionally. For example, he recently became Facebook friends with someone he went to high school with.
“They just had their first child, and they posted pictures of the newborn on their Facebook site,” Carney said. “It’s great for younger couples to start thinking about life insurance. So I commented on the pictures, just congratulating him and starting with a normal conversation. I found out they didn’t have any life insurance, and it was so easy for us to go in and explain the benefits of it.”
Carney made the sale, and was able to add a property insurance policy for the couple’s new house, as well.
“It’s worked out better than I thought it would,” Carney said. “I’m not only getting these leads, but if I write their policy, then I also get [referral leads] and write policies for their friends that I may not know.”
Carney added that Facebook is such a non-intrusive method of contact that he hasn’t encountered any feelings of consumer mistrust.