Personalized automation is the answer.
BY JOEL ZWICKER
When agents think about growing their book of business, growth is often assumed to mean “new customers.” Thousands of dollars are spent each year on lead-generation tools, lists and other exciting initiatives to chase down new clients. Most businesses spend much more time and dollars on client acquisition than on retention (invespcro.com/blog/customer-acquisition-retention/).
Agencies focusing on lead-gen might close 10-15% of those deals, but have no way to cultivate the relationships with those whom they did not land. This means they are trapped in a cycle of having to pay for new leads with an 85% failure rate.
This constant churn cycle is unnecessary. Most agents are already sitting on a gold mine of possibility: their current client base. Investing time and effort into one’s existing book of business could double revenue when agents approach their current clients with a laser-focus on service and relationship building.
Lead-gen might not be the most strategic path toward increased revenue. It’s simply not sustainable nor realistic for most, who end up right where they started with little to show after all the time and money spent.
What marketing tools and strategies really get the results you need? If you’re investing resources to marketing your agency, prioritize your existing book of business.
Sustained success and growth is attainable for agents who invest in building deeper existing client relationships. Strategically leveraging digital marketing that nurtures an authentic connection offers a higher ROI within one’s existing book through cross and upselling, referrals and return business.
Customer relationship management tools, while great for on-boarding newly acquired clients, don’t provide the framework for nurturing relationships with existing customers. These tools bring clients to the top of the funnel, but don’t manage the relationship for long-term success. Marketing solutions that go beyond “bringing them in the door” will keep your current clientele satisfied while allowing you to scale.
While a sizable book of business can make personal servicing difficult, leveraging technology to automate some of these touchpoints in a personalized manner makes it simpler. Clients need more than a once-a-year check-in.
Communicating with customers only when it’s time for renewal doesn’t convey care and attention that turns into new sales. Agents need to be on top of every customer’s changing insurance needs and life milestones that require different protection.
Automation is the answer to making sure your entire book of business is provided on-point concierge treatment. While automation may seem impersonal, it doesn’t have to be. Digital marketing solutions integrated with customer management systems generate tailored communications that are timely and useful to clients.
People have clear and unique interaction styles — clients who like to communicate through email will expect their agent to reach them through email. Others prefer phone calls. You will see a growing number of your clients expecting to reach you through text.
One of the most important factors in client communications is understanding how they want to interact. Relationships can be made or destroyed by an agent not using the communication channel preferred by their clients once that relationship has been established.
Think of your website as a virtual office, where clients can drop by, ask questions, open their own files, and get advice. A fully interactive client portal on your website benefits clients who want to access their policies, connect with you and file claims quickly. Give them easy access to their own information. The client data you have can be tied to marketing outreach, so you are providing relevant information when needed, such as timely renewal reminders, options for new insurance protection as they start businesses or buy new property.
Most agencies think they are doing well when they can cite that they have two policies per customer. But think a little more about that statistic: how many policies do you have as an insurance customer? Most of us have at least three personal policies (home, auto and life); businesses have a minimum of four or five policies. Up- or cross-selling to a customer already in your books has a 60-70% success rate, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20% (outboundengine.com/blog/customer-retention-marketing-vs-customer-acquisition-marketing). Technology helps you identify those gaps and increase the number of policies you service for each individual client — potentially doubling your revenue.
Your current customer base is gold and should be guarded as such. It can cost five times as much to acquire a new customer than retaining an established customer. Remember, your clients have already established a relationship with you for a reason. This is an audience receptive to your advice and expertise. Invest time and money into nourishing that relationship and you will see a much higher ROI than scrambling for new customers who come and go when they do not get that personal attention.
JOEL ZWICKER is Insurance Evangelist at Agency Revolution and formerly an insurance agent at one of Canada’s largest independent insurance agencies. He now works to provide independent insurance agents the best marketing tools for their unique needs.