COVID19: Virtual Insurance Sales: An interview with two of the best

How do you convert a successful sales process based on one-to-one meetings into a virtual insurance sales process? Two of Renaissance Alliance’s top experts in growth and sales discuss the insurance sales process and how it needs to change and adapt in response to shutdowns required by the coronavirus epidemic. Get tips and recommendations on virtual insurance sales in this short video. We’ve also included the transcript below.


Selling Virtually: an interview with two of the best! from Renaissance Alliance on Vimeo.

Virtual Insurance Sales (transcript)

Leanne: Hi, this is Leanne Ross with Renaissance. I’m very excited to have with me agency owner Oscar Miniet. Oscar, can you share a bit about your agency and background?

Oscar: Sure Leanne, I started in 1988 working for Aetna as a prime agent. After completing that program as one of the top agents in the country, I opened my first agency as basically a one-man shop.  Along the way through some mergers and acquisitions in 1996 I became an owner of HBA Insurance Group which, along with my partners, we grew to the largest independently owned agency in South Florida.  We sold HBA to B&B in 2008, and I stayed on thru my contract period, always knowing I wanted to be independent again.  I left B&B to open my current agency NEA Insurance Group and from my previous experience at larger agencies I knew the importance of scale, along with other areas of expertise, and how they support growth.  That’s where Renaissance Alliance became an obvious choice for me and my partners at NEA. Renaissance provides us all the support and services we need to sustain our growth goals.  Basically, we want to build another HBA!  I believe in this model so much that I am also helping Renaissance build the Southeast region of the US.

Leanne: That’s great. We’ve had a lot of questions from agency owners about how to sell during this hopefully very temporary shut down or movement to remote only workforces. How are you handling this right now at NEA?

Oscar: We’ve decided to temporarily stop cold calling or sending new prospect marketing emails. We want to be sensitive to what’s going on right now, and make sure people don’t think we’re trying to take advantage of the situation.

Leanne: I totally understand that. So are sales coming to a complete stand still then?

Oscar: Absolutely not! We still have referrals and leads coming in, so we’re making sure to jump on those quickly.  As an example, we have relationships with mortgage brokers, which send us leads. For now, real estate is still closing – so we’re still handling those new opportunities.

We’ve also taken this as an opportunity to do proactive calls to our commercial lines and personal lines customers. We’re just calling to check in on them and see if there’s anything they need. It’s an opportunity to cross sell their policies and make sure we are not missing any line of coverage. Depending on who the call goes we will also ask for a referral.  We have been pleasantly surprised at the positive response we have received, and the new quote opportunities.

We’re still following up on open prospects we had been working with previously. In the majority of cases, they’re still open to working with us on reviewing their account to provide solutions for their insurance needs.

Leanne: That’s fantastic. Showing people that you care can go a really long way.

Is your staff working remotely, and if so, how have you had to adjust your processes?

Oscar: Yes, 90% of our staff is working from home. A lot of what we’re doing is still over the phone. However, we’ve started using Zoom and FaceTime for video meetings. We use Zoom’s screen sharing function to present proposals – and that’s gone really well. Virtual insurance sales don’t quite replace face to face meetings, but everyone understands right now, and this has been a great alternative. We’re also using DocuSign for any signatures we need. In a good way this situation has forced us to re-think our process, and frankly has helped us to streamline efficiencies.

Being a member of Renaissance has been great because we’re used to an electronic submission process anyways. The whole Renaissance team is still available to help us with marketing submission, and anything else we need. They have been very helpful with a constant flow of information supporting us through the rapidly changing environment.  It’s great to know they have our backs.

Leanne: What have you heard from other members that we might be able to learn from?

I’m always so impressed by what our member agencies come up with. Many seem to agree with you on not doing self-promotion emails or social media campaigns temporarily. One of our members decided to buy gift cards to local restaurants or service provider customers, and then raffle them off through social media and email campaigns. I loved that idea because they’re supporting both their business customers, as well as the community. We’ve also seen a lot of other members share really helpful content for their customers during this time – whether it’s about new grants or loans that might be available, new sick leave policies, or just tips/best practices to get through this difficult time.

Oscar: Those are all great ideas that I’m going to mention to my partners so we can start trying them. Anything else we should think about doing?

Leanne: Now is a perfect time to do those administrative tasks or proactive strategy work that we don’t always get around to. We’re saving so much time just by cutting out drive time alone. So it’s a great time to build out those strategies for when things do setting down in the next few weeks or months. Reaching out to current referral sources, or trying to create new ones is a great idea right now – attorneys, CPA’s, mortgage lenders, real estate agents, etc. it’s also a great time to build or update prospect lists, and to update or finally implement a CRM tool to track prospects and selling activities. And if you haven’t actively been sharing on social media or through email marketing, now’s perfect to build out that strategy and begin. If you’re a Renaissance member, then reach out to your agency growth partner who can help to build out and implement a lot of these growth strategies.

Oscar: I agree completely. While a lot is shut down right now, we see this as such a great opportunity. We are in one of the best and most resilient business that exist, and while there will be a short period of pain, I truly believe there will be great opportunities ahead.  As agents this is our time to stay in touch with our customers and let them know we are here to help in any way we can.  This will pay off when we get through this challenging time.

It also a great opportunity for agencies that are looking  grow with the expertise and scale that Renaissance has to offer.  If you want to remain independent and have access to all the benefits and tools the large agencies have, you owe it to yourself to explore Renaissance Alliance!

Leanne: You’re absolutely right, Oscar. I always enjoy talking to you and hearing your ideas and positive attitude – it’s contagious. Thanks for joining me this afternoon, and sharing wonderful ideas that hopefully other agency owners can benefit from too. Stay healthy and safe!

Related prior posts

See more in our frequently updated COVID19 Insurance Agency Emergency Resources

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