One captivating brochure. One unstoppable direct mail package. One unbeatable workshop presentation. What if there was just one magical marketing piece that could get you in front of more people with virtually no cost or effort?

Ah…Insurance Sales Nirvana. Right?

Many organizations would love you to believe that they have this very solution. However, the truth is that magic marketing solutions simply do not exist. Just ask the industry’s top producers. They’ll tell you that the marketing methods that make them successful are tried-and-true approaches requiring networking, relationship-building, referrals, and (gasp) time.

So, what can you do to market yourself, your services, and your agency like a top producer?

Be active in your community. If you want to be your community’s resource for insurance products and services, be active in your community. Get to know local business owners on a first-name basis by joining the local Chamber of Commerce. Share valuable tips, tools, and information with civic organizations, clubs, and parents’ groups. Volunteer to serve on boards of associations, schools, and charities. Top producers make it a priority to become a resource for their communities. In return, their communities often see them as the resource for their insurance needs.

Build upon your existing book of business. When agents want to grow their businesses, they often resort to sending expensive mailers to people they do not know, offering a one-time workshop or service. Within your marketing strategy and budget, this may seem right for you to do from time to time. However, given the rising costs of printing and postage, doesn’t it make sense to consider the opportunities that may exist within your current book of business?

For instance, how many of your existing clients have children, particularly adult children? How many of these adult children, especially Gen Xers, could benefit from an insurance review, especially in light of the rapidly changing U.S. economy? For example, how many of your clients’ offspring could benefit by insuring a portion of their retirement assets by using an annuity or a permanent life insurance policy, such as indexed universal life insurance?

Another idea is to think about all of the women in your existing book of business. Is there an opportunity to offer workshops or consultations that focus on women’s special insurance and/or financial planning needs? Have you considered hosting workshops for your existing female clients and their friends? With more and more women becoming family breadwinners or even sole providers, it’s likely that you can provide some valuable insights to them.

The main idea is that your existing clients’ lives (and insurance needs) continue to change over time, so it is important to continue to reach out to them on a regular basis. Furthermore, it’s likely that their friends and family have similar changing questions, concerns, and needs. Top producers continuously expand their existing book of business by staying in touch with their existing clients and offering many of the same services and products to the people who matter to them most.

Stay in touch. Want to be front-of-mind when your clients need your assistance? Looking for a way to build loyalty and gain referrals? Then, stay in touch with your clients. Without fail, top producers continue to interact with their clients long after a sale. It seems like common sense, but consumer focus groups routinely relay their disappointment in agents who fail to communicate with them after their policies are issued.

Maybe one of the most important things you can do is meet with your clients when they receive their first policy statements. Invite them to come in to go over their statements. Explain how to read the statements and give them the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns. Your invitation may be as simple as a mailed copy of the first page of their policy statements with a handwritten note inviting them into your office for an important review.

Then, continue to stay in touch. Most people respond to an offer after seven “touches.” Right now, are you giving your clients the seven-touch opportunity? Top producers do. Send anniversary cards, birthday cards, and holiday cards. Mail postcards announcing local events, such as a state fair or a Fourth of July fireworks schedule. E-mail quarterly agency newsletters. Host client-appreciation events. Make a plan to stay in touch with EVERY client and then follow that plan.

Don’t get me wrong. Many insurance carriers and marketing organizations offer a wide array of valuable marketing tools. Many of these instruments can help facilitate an agent’s interactions with prospects and clients. Well-developed marketing materials can help illustrate and reinforce key points.

These instruments are no substitute for the networking, relationship-building, referrals, and time that it takes for producers to rise to the top. So, if you want to be a top producer, take the time to communicate and market like one.

More Sales and Marketing Tips from Amy Kennel.

Amy Kennel is a communications consultant who specializes in insurance, financial services, and retirement planning. She owns Insurance Marketing Concepts, LLC, based in Des Moines, Iowa. You can contact Amy Kennel by calling 515-289-6413 or by sending her an email at aakennel@gmail.com