10 Urgent Things You MUST Do to Stay Relevant in 2020, Pt. 2
Did you catch our first blog with 5 of the 10 urgent things you must do to stay relevant in 2020?
If not, you can’t read the sequel until you have read the first five. Get out of here and go read it! If you have, get ready for our next 5. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to take all 10 and create your priority list for 2020. Each agency will have different priorities, so embrace your mission! In case you missed it, here are the 5 we reviewed in the last blog:
- Build Processes and Procedures to Meet Your Expectations and the Clients’
- It’s All About the Experience – Not the Price
- You Have to Brand Yourself Like It’s 2020
- Your Tribe Is Your Vibe
- Fire Your Worst Clients
Up next: Your final 5 areas to embrace this year.
Relentless Pursuit of Efficiency & Effectiveness
Part of my 2020 mission is to eradicate the word “busy” from insurance agencies. I hear it every time I’m in an agency. “I’m too busy.” My blood boils because I bet I can find 10 things in 10 minutes that you aren’t doing efficiently. You can watch one of our 3 Minute Videos on how much I hate the word “busy” if you would like. We are too busy, but I have heard it all: “We have to print things to review them.” Or, “I don’t like using a headset.” Even, “I only want 1 monitor.” Agencies need to start mandating the use of efficiency technologies regardless of a team member’s opinion of it. For example, text messaging is a huge efficiency advantage. For agents who don’t want to text clients, there has to be an agency policy to use the technology that is being invested in. Agency owners need to work through wrinkles to achieve adoption of critical efficiency strategies.
This also includes embracing outsourcing, either through service centers or overseas vendors, to help get processing work off of people’s desks so they can focus on the customer experience. In addition, we can pay top dollar to the right team member if they aren’t handling processing and non-licensed work. This allows you to find the best people, pay them well, and have them avoid the grunt work that is not profitable.
Client Marketing Strategy
Our current customers are under attack — from direct writers, from other producers, and from average service. Agencies need to embrace ways to stay in touch with current clients via mail, phone, text, and email. This is not only the best way to defend against your competition, but is also the best way to grow your current book and reduce customer frustrations. We recommend targeting the following:
- Client Anniversaries
We have to recognize our clients for their business and invite them to call us first. If we don’t stay in contact with our clients, the billions of dollars in advertising will invite them to call someone else. Showing our customers we care helps fuel retention and opportunity! It’s a small amount of work and investment to keep your clients engaged and calling you!
The reactive model of insurance is going away. We need to earn renewals every year. Clients will forget us if we don’t keep inviting them to connect with us. For many agencies, much of their contact is regarding rate increase. The challenge is we only call our clients when their rates change. That means we are making it all about price — something we want to get away from. We recommend agencies embrace the following proactive strategies — with actual phone calls to clients so they can hear our voice and concern!
- Claims — gathering the claims reports from call companies and calling the client to make sure they are ok and have heard from an adjuster
- Late Payments — You have to call EVERYONE (the E&O police will get you for this). You can fire the bad clients, and you are only sending a reminder to the good ones when it is often an oversight.
- Renewal — Call every renewal. You can review new coverages and make recommendations — also good on the E&O side!
- Large Commercial Checkins — Get ahead of your audits. If you can update payroll regularly, you save a bad experience.
If you want to really cement your relationships, you need to bring your service to the clients.
Sharpen Your Sales Skills
If we treat sales like transactions, there is no relationship for the client to stick with. Every agency needs to embrace not only tracking new business (33% of our secret shoppers don’t get quotes), but also how to close it and follow up. Currently, 80% of our secret shoppers only get 1 follow-up. As agencies we need to identify some small strategies that can really improve our closing ratios. Every agency needs to set up their own sales standards, relentlessly train the team and then audit them until the process becomes a habit. This will help you maximize everyone’s time and your marketing budget.
Be Consistently Consistent
Running an independent agency can be a bit like running an obstacle course. There are always people calling out sick, technology issues, client issues and marketing strategies to navigate. You are wearing a lot of hats, but the one hat that is most important is leading your team. Don’t let the day-to-day issues get in your way so you can’t be consistent with the team. When your team knows you may not be consistent on something, they will test the boundary. The best way to be consistent is to make sure you have routine meetings with your team to review the important objectives at hand and work through any challenges that arise.
Your next steps:
Start by prioritizing all 10 issues to determine which ones your agency needs to hop on right now for a successful 2020.
Kelly Piro-Donahue is a game changer in the insurance industry. As the Founder and President of Agency Performance Partners and Co-Founder of the sister marketing company, Agency Appeal, she’s an in-demand speaker at regional and national insurance conferences and a social media and digital marketing trailblazer. In her years of consulting, marketing, training, and public speaking, she’s worked with more than 1,000 insurance agencies of all sizes, as well as with noted industry organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada, earning accolades like “insurance visionary,” “a total rock star” and “the real deal.”
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