Becoming a trusted advisor means more than matching a customer with an insurance product and providing terrific service. Let’s face it, we all do that! Earning trust comes from creating value and becoming an indispensable resource, and it all starts with how we approach the market.
Repeatedly casting a wide net as a generalist (an approach many of us rely on) is inefficient and produces unpredictable returns. Earning trust and creating value starts with building a consistent process to approach specific, targeted groups of prospects. Doing homework and digging an inch wide and a mile deep will result in a better close ratio, improved customer retention and more referrals. The best part is that building meaningful connections with specific groups within your community is truly rewarding.
1) Where Will You Plant Your Tree?
Finding Your Target Group
Let’s talk about what excites you. Where are your local connections or centers of influence? What business types do you find interesting? What do you do in your spare time? Where do you support your kids? Since you’ll be partnering with your target group, finding inspiration is key. Don’t forget to mine your own book of business. You may already be serving a group of customers. Even a handful of like customers can be a strong start to building your target group.
Once you’ve decided where to plant, it’s important to understand the opportunity that exists within your geographic area. Are there enough suspects to justify the effort, and will the revenue be enough to divert resources? There’s a fine line between finding an underserved market to champion and serving a market that won’t generate adequate revenue or will prompt underwriters to run for the hills.
2) Start Digging!
Uncovering your value
It’s all about “learning the talk and walking the walk.” What is their sales cycle? What is important to them? What are their struggles? What does “winning” look like for their industry? Look for online trade publications, articles about their field, association websites, local meetings, and trade shows. Don’t forget to talk to your current customers within the target group. A discussion with a current customer about serving the greater good, will likely be well received. Learning their swagger will naturally lead your conversations down a consultatory path, steer you away from price and provide for an enlightening experience for both of you. There is no bigger compliment to a business owner than showing them you have a clear understanding of their operations, pains and challenges.
Uncover what types of insurance products are specific to their exposures. Get granular! What bells & whistles will resonate with the group? What unique or hard to find coverages can be leveraged? Talk to underwriters about insurance needs and challenges for the group, as well as the competition. Speak with claims adjusters about their experience adjusting claims with the group and where they’ve seen missteps. Don’t forget about loss control inspectors. My experience is they love to talk about ways to mitigate risk and are always willing to share their knowledge.
Taking the time to understand all the nuances of the targeted the group naturally moves you toward a consultative sales process and frames you as a trusted advisor, indispensable resource and underscores your value.
3) Watching it Grow
The Value of Your Value
The organic byproduct of getting into the weeds with your targeted group will be a level of credibility that your competitors will never live up to and will set you apart. You’ll see your close ratio soar, and your customers will stand by you and your agency. Your unique value will also l prompt your customers to enthusiastically refer others to your agency. What’s better than a warm lead?!
Once you’ve successfully cultivated one tree you can plant another and repeat the entire process with another group. Strategically and systematically layering your customers to build a stronger foundation for your agency will allow for more predictable results, deeper connections with your customers and greater success both personally and financially.
Don’t forget to lean on your Agency Growth Partner to help you strategize, cultivate and assist you as you build your expertise.
Jean Klein, CPCU, AU, AIS is an Agency Growth Partner at Renaissance Alliance. Connect with Jean on LinkedIn.
More posts from Jean:
- 10 Steps to Building a Motivated and Productive Remote Agency Workforce
- Redefine service to drive sales