Commercial insurance leads are waiting for independent insurance agents online.
There is a common misconception, pervasive in our industry, that business owners and company decision makers do not go onto the Internet to research, build relationships and ultimately make a buying decision for their commercial insurance needs.
How many commercial insurance leads are you receiving from the Internet today?
Since July 201, the TrustedChoice.com website has received over 3,500,000 targeted searches seeking commercial insurance. This has translated into tens of thousands of commercial insurance leads delivered to TrustedChoice.com Advantage Subscribers.
That’s a lot.
I share this statistic, not to brag about the TrustedChoice.com website or try to convince you to purchase an Advantage Subscription, but rather as a case study for what is possible for the independent insurance agencies who are willing to engage with commercial insurance buyers online.
Endless Commercial Insurance Leads
So we know that TrustedChoice.com is one facet of creating an endless stream of commercial insurance leads.
But it’s by no means the whole story.
The key to creating an endless stream of commercial insurance leads is effectively combining your offline and online marketing efforts.
Today’s marketplace isn’t one or the other. Consumers bounce in and out of the offline and online world all day long.
- A mother watching her son play little league is at the same time paying the family credit card bill on her cellphone.
- A business owner meets you at the local chamber of commerce event and sends you a LinkedIn request from his iPad, while having a cup of coffee in the local Starbucks an hour later.
- A young woman registers for and donates to a local charity 5k race weeks, if not months, before actually showing up in person to run the race.
Our lives exist, in almost every facet, with one foot in the offline world and one foot in the online world.
Why is insurance different?
Marty Agather and I recently did an interview with a young agent from Virginia, named Jill Roth. The story we asked Jill to share was of a commercial lines lead she had received from TrustedChoice.com.
What we were interested in wasn’t the fact that she had received the lead, but her process for handling the lead once she had received it. We wanted to know if commercial lines insurance leads she received via the Internet were any different than the other types of leads (i.e. referrals).
What we learned was that Jill had to be skilled in both online communication and offline sales and communication in order to win the business. I encourage you watch our Jill Roth Case Study to get the full story.
I used to believe that an independent insurance agency could survive if they just focused on one type of consumer, either offline or online. This wouldn’t be optimal, as that agency may never thrive again, but they could certainly survive.
I no longer believe this to be possible.
[bluebox]The duality of life in 2014 is such that insurance consumers assume we have the technology and skill set to satisfy their communication, service and buying preferences, regardless of online or offline.[/bluebox]
We can no longer assume…
We can no longer assume that our clients want the same transaction experience we prefer to provide.
What does this mean?
Digital marketing naysayers like to pontificate on the “Value” and “Relationship” created by the in-person meeting.
For some consumers, these individuals are dead on. These are Unconnected Generation consumers. Face-to-face discussions are the only method available to these types of consumers when they have an insurance need.
Because the Internet hasn’t experienced widespread adoption until only the last decade or so, and mobile Internet maybe a quarter of that time, the independent insurance agency system has been able to survive doing business the way THEY prefer: pressing the flesh, eyeball-to-eyeball, handshake and smile.
As the Internet and online communication technology has become more accessible and socially acceptable, a growing portion of insurance consumers (statistics place this group around 80% of the US population in 2014) prefer to at least begin their insurance conversation online.
Despite this staggering digital adoption, many of our independent insurance industry brothers and sisters (this includes agents, carriers and vendors) are still forcing these consumers to do business in the offline world.
In today’s marketplace, we no longer have the power to dictate the terms of communication.
Commercial Insurance Leads
Creating an endless stream of commercial insurance leads starts with an open mind and a willingness to adapt to accommodate all of today’s insurance consumers. This means:
- Replying to prospects via text message,
- Connecting to commercial clients on LinkedIn and other social media,
- Understanding the cyber liability risk your clients’ businesses are exposed to,
- Providing e-signature capability, and
- Delivering sales presentations via mobile device such as iPad or portable projector.
Are most of your clients still going to want the human, real-life relationship synonymous with the way independent insurance agents have done business for over 100 years?
Heck yes, they are!
But we must move away from the one-dimensional, Unconnected Generation processes that the growing majority of insurance consumers no longer appreciate or find acceptable.
Thank you and Good luck,
Do you agree or disagree that a combined offline, online experience is what today’s insurance consumer prefers? How do we do this as an industry? What has been your experience?
Share in the comments below…