Agency owners should always be looking for premium growth opportunities, but they’re not always easy to find within your own system. As Renaissance Agency Growth Partner Jean Klein notes, “It’s almost impossible to highlight growth opportunities within most agency management systems.”
One of the reasons for this is that most agency management systems (AMS) report only basic historical data – and even then, it’s hidden within reports that take multiple clicks to sort through.
So how can you ensure you’re not missing out on premium growth opportunities without spending all day clicking through your AMS? We asked some experts to share their best practices. Here’s what they told us.
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Tip 1: Set Up In-House Systems Focused on Premium Growth
The best agencies set themselves up for success by implementing repeatable systems to foster premium growth. Establishing a process ensures that you’re not missing opportunities.
Alex Raymond, a writer at The Business Journals, shared these steps to implement strategic systems:
- Set clear goals so that everyone in the organization can work together.
- Define specific actions that can be taken to achieve the goal.
- Identify a clear owner for each action so nothing gets forgotten.
- Track progress on a consistent schedule, and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Share company goals and progress to drive accountability.
Growth can’t happen on its own, but setting up reliable systems and leveraging available technology can help immensely.
For each of the member tips below, we’ve included a handy “How to Make it a System” section, helping you to make these habits part of your standard operating procedures so you can grow your premium with less stress (and fewer clicks).
Tip 2: Serve Up the Soft Sell
Many insurance buyers are averse to hard-sell tactics. Instead, build relationships with customers and always be on the lookout for opportunities to more naturally integrate a product mention or sales opportunity.
As you get to know your customers personally, you’ll uncover more details about their hobbies, interests, family, goals, and challenges. Perhaps you discover that a personal line customer of yours is going to launch their own company, which opens up opportunities to add business lines. While catching up with a personal auto line customer, they mention they are on the hunt to buy their first home, which opens up a conversation about adding a homeowners policy.
How to Make it a System: Set up a file for each client (or use your Customer Relationship Management system) to keep track of information you learn about them, including birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.
Tip 3: Teach. Teach. Teach.
Make it a priority to educate your customers on available products and potential risks they may not have considered. Clients look to you for guidance, as most of them don’t know about the risk management products they need.
The more you can help them understand their policies, options, risks, and benefits, the more informed they will be regarding the options available to them. Without client education, you are inadvertently closing off potential streams of revenue.
Make sure you’re also constantly educating and coaching your staff on new products and carrier offerings, as well as sales and time management strategies.
By educating and empowering your employees, your business will perform at a higher level. Clients who trust you are the clients most likely to give you referrals, renew their policies with you, and continue to share positive word of mouth.
How to Make it a System: For team members, hold consistent staff meetings to keep your team accountable and regularly recommend new training and webinars beyond what’s required to keep their licenses. Set achievable goals for each team member and use incentives to motivate behaviors that will drive growth.
For clients, add a “Helpful Tip” line to your email signature where you share an underutilized carrier option or policy type. Offer to talk them through it in more detail on a call if they have questions. Set a recurring calendar reminder for yourself to switch it out regularly to showcase your entire range of offerings.
Tip 4: See Who You’ve Lost in the Last Year
One Renaissance member surveyed said they always look to their “Lost Client List” to see who they may be able to get back in touch with to rekindle a relationship.
There’s valuable insight and opportunity found in your list of previous clients. See each client as an opportunity to win back business.
After all, there’s a reason that these customers approached your agency in the first place. Spend some time reviewing their prior account and experience to see if you can uncover any changes — in their situation or in your offerings — that might make revisiting your relationship a good idea.
How to Make it a System: Let us do the work of checking your “Lost Client List” for you. Arno, the mobile app available exclusively to Renaissance agency principals, flags lost accounts automatically, and the win-back report automatically surfaces these types of opportunities to agents 10 months after the customer left (two months before their next renewal date). This is the perfect time to reconnect and see if you can offer a better policy, price, or experience than their current provider.
Tip 5: Ask for Referrals
Referrals can be a huge driver of new business, and David Dawson, Renaissance regional executive vice president/Northeast, recommends that you directly ask your top clients to refer you to others.
While it might seem scary to ask for referrals, if you’ve been able to build trust and rapport with your clients, they’ll feel confident and comfortable with recommending you to their friends, family, and colleagues.
However, you’re unlikely to get a referral you don’t ask for, so you must plan your approach to asking for referrals and have systems in place to do it regularly.
Focus your referral request efforts on customers whom know you well and have had a positive experience with you. You’ll also want to ask them when you know they’re happy – after you’ve helped them.
How to Make it a System: Create a referral program for clients and set reminders to ask for referrals. Time these to coincide with successful client interactions to maximize your chances. Phil M. Jones, the author of “Exactly What To Say,” offers up several reliable phrases you can use as guidance for the conversation where you ask for a referral:
- “Would you consider doing a small favor for me?”
- “Do you know one person like you who would benefit from … ”
- “Would you be open to introducing us?”
Tip 6: Look for Soon-to-Expire Policies
Independent agents are often too quick to look outward for premium growth opportunities. However, the quickest place to find growth opportunities is by mining your current book of business, says Renaissance Agency Growth Partner Holly Miskavitch.
Give your clients the same experience to maximize opportunities within your existing books. The familiarity and trust you develop over time make it easier for them to extend their policies with you rather than going out to find a new provider.
Even the smallest of improvements in retention can have an enormous impact on agency revenue. This is because long-term customers are more profitable, more loyal, and far more likely to provide referrals down the road.
To start tapping into these growth opportunities, you’ll need a quick and easy way to find them.
How to Make it a System: Renaissance Alliance members can check the Arno mobile app every morning to monitor recent activity instead of having to navigate large chunks of data inside your agency management system. Arno can automatically flag and surface policies set to expire soon, so you can proactively reach out to retain those customers and prevent future premium drop-offs that you will need to compensate for.
Renaissance Alliance members also have access to a Retention Insights dashboard that connects with Arno for easily integrated desktop viewing of insights to ensure you don’t miss those golden opportunities for renewals.
Tip 7: Cross-Sell on Monoline Policies
Chances are, you have a good number of customers who have only a single policy through your agency. Cross-selling your monoline customers is critical to long-term premium growth.
For example, if you have a customer who has only a home insurance policy with you, you may be able to cross-sell them on auto insurance.
When it’s cheaper to have both, the client will invest in the bundle because they are afraid of losing out on the offer. And the more lines you sell to a client, the higher their retention rate.
It’s also important to focus on how many customers you write business insurance for, but don’t write personal lines. Capitalize on the opportunity to insure the business owners and employees as individuals, too.
By filling other policy needs for your single-policy clients, you’ll offer them convenience and set yourself up for the best chance to upsell/cross-sell.
How to Make it a System: Renaissance Alliance members can take advantage of Arno, which puts cross-sell opportunities right at your fingertips. Renaissance members can also use Maestro, a powerful automated email marketing system that hooks right into your agency’s data and enables automated cross-selling campaigns to be sent regularly throughout the year.
Putting These Tips Into Action
The best approach to premium growth involves a system that combines and automates as many of these tactics as possible, ensuring you’re taking advantage of all potential opportunities.
To do that, though, you’ll need to quickly and easily identify upcoming expiration dates, renewal opportunities, mono-line policies to cross-sell, win-back windows, and more. If you’d like a partner in that process, Renaissance Alliance and our lineup of services and technology products can help.
- Use Arno to pull data from your agency platform into a mobile app with a simple user interface, giving you a quick and easy way to access things like upcoming policy renewals, new policies, and more.
- Use Maestro to send automated emails based on customer properties of lifecycle events to maximize cross-selling and renewal opportunities.
- Use our Proprietary Dashboards for integrated and precise tracking of insights to determine new pathways of opportunities.
- Use our Agency Growth Partners as an extension of your team to uncover additional opportunities in your current book of business and develop strategies to attract new clients.
With these helpful products and services, premium growth opportunities will be found with ease. Start a conversation with the Renaissance Alliance team for a demo of any or all of our premium growth solutions.