Rock the New Year in 2015

NavarroWe have experienced and learned a lot since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Think about what your agency has gone through the past five years. Now combine all of that with the tsunami of change dramatically affecting buying patterns of your prospective clients. What we have are the ingredients for managed chaos and as more and more of you are realizing a groundswell of opportunity. What I hope happens as a result of you reading this article is for you to understand the paradigm shift in our industry and that your best response right now is to take action.

Think of a paradigm shift as a change from one way of thinking to another. It’s a revolution, a transformation — a sort of metamorphosis. It just doesn’t happen, but rather, it is driven by agents of change.

What you need to answer as you plan for the New Year. “How are we set up to respond to the needs of a new market?”  And “What does success look like today?”

Call to Action

Take the time to analyze and discuss why you do things a certain way and what sets you apart. Once you better understand who you are, you can determine what you need to be doing to serve more clients:

• Become Mobile Friendly: 91% of Smart Phone users (prospective clients) have their phone within arm’s reach 24/7 and 67% of consumers said they’re more likely to make a purchase if a website is mobile friendly. Are you on their radar?

• Build the capacity in your agency to embrace change: Complaining or hoping we go back to the way it used to be is a waste of your time.

• Offer a package of services:  Consumers today want you to go beyond the product. If you are marketing them a small group policy, provide a tool to help them with their census gathering. If you sold an ancillary product, give them a resource to find the providers in their area (on-line capabilities are most valued) so when they are deciding whom to go to you look like a rock star.

• Always make the process for sales and marketing about your customer: Live by the “O5M Rule” and construct your message so that your opening five minutes is all about them.

• Develop a blog for your website: By adding a blog you will enhance your brand visibility and increase your chances of being noticed. You can get a little more creative with your message. Check out the new blog hemisphere at places like blogger.com, wordpress.com or squarespace.com. You will be surprised and excited about the possibilities.

• Engage them with video: Today’s consumer expects your website and/or blog to offer powerful visual content, particularly videos. Videos are a more engaging way of getting your message out and are great for mobile users.

• Get on the technology Train: What’s a marketing technologist? You’ll hear this important term more and more as we traverse our new market. Marketing is moving faster because of technology and to stay ahead you will want to ensure you are on board the technology train. (Wanted Gen Y for Successful Insurance Agency).

• Avoid clutter: Keep your message short, focused and simple. There is too much noise out there already.

• Provide the ideal customer experience: The ideal customer experience today is best defined as being recognized, listened to, valued, and cared for. Consumerism is king, and your prospective clients know it.

• Engage customers on numerous touch points: The Sales Funnel has changed. Every day, customers are absorbing information by tapping into a variety of technological devices, and they have a desire to engage with you through these numerous touch points. They are educated, connected, and impatient, and have keen B.S. radars. They expect you are listening on every channel. You need to have a presence. They demand a real-response and they want it fast.

• Escape from a sea of sameness: Clearly spell out who you are, what you do, and why they should buy from you; define your differentiator. Then make sure everyone on the team is singing the same tune.

• Stay in touch: In a recent well-known benefits survey, more than 50% of decision makers surveyed said they would like to hear from their broker about benefits and compliance issues on a monthly basis.

• Use Chatting:  More businesses are offering chat as an online option to ask questions and discuss issues. This will allow you to interact with more people in real time, and stay connected while enhancing your customer experience.

• Respond to the Needs of Boomers: For years to come, the Boomer will be at the epicenter of household, financial, health-care and other decisions for his own family, his boomerang adult kids who’ve moved back in, and his senior parents, who’ve also moved in. How are you positioned to respond to this opportunity?

• Retain Customers: Your Buzz Factor. It makes good business sense that a transaction does not end when the check is cashed. In fact, it’s only the beginning. Your customer needs to consistently be shown that they are still relevant when the transaction is complete, or they will find someone else to take care of them. Post-sale service should be pursued with as much vigor as the original sale was.

• Do Data Mining: Generally speaking, data mining is the process of collecting information about your clients from different sources and analyzing it to paint an accurate picture of who they are. The more points of data you are able to collect, the clearer a picture you can create. With this information, you can focus your efforts on the specific areas that will help you improve and grow your success.

• Get Mobile: Mobile will dominate. I said it at the opening of this article. In the few minutes since you read that, it became even more important, so I will say it again. What’s your mobile presence look like?

• Stop talking about how much experience you offer, at least in your opening words: It does count, but what matters most today is what you can do for your clients now. Open the door to a relationship by showing them it is about them    then let all the experience in.

• Deliver More:  Always go beyond what you promised to deliver.

• Read a book on creativity and share it with your team: The truly great salespeople are the most creative and it’s true that creativity can be learned! As a valued insurance agent, consumers need you. Imagine the impact of your marketing efforts if you could market your message in ways that separate you from the crowd. Creative sales and marketing strategies will push you over the top — get your entire team into a creativity fix.

• Be a Social Marketer: Get more informed about where your audiences spend time. Dig deeper into customization and personalization strategies on social channels that are working best for your audiences.

I acknowledge you are all different. You have reached your respective levels of success using an approach, tools and techniques that work best for you and your clients. That’s why I am offering a menu of ideas. You choose what works for you in this new market. In closing, stay agile and remain a student of the game. By continuing to search out new knowledge and creatively marketing your message you will find the success you are working so hard to achieve. Be Brilliant.

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Joe Navarro, marketing director, Warner Pacific Insurance Services.

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