Agency owners should always be looking for premium growth opportunities, but it’s not always easy to find them.
And most Agency Management Systems don’t make it any easier. As our Agency Growth Partner Jean Klein puts it, “It is almost impossible to highlight growth opportunities within most agency management systems.”
They’re not always the most useful for identifying opportunities since most of them report only basic historical data. And even when they do share data, it’s in canned reports that take 15 clicks just to find. Who has the time for that?
But how can you ensure you’re not missing out on these premium growth opportunities without spending all day clicking around your management system?
We asked some of our member agencies how they prioritize and systemize finding premium growth opportunities.
Tip 1: Set Up Systems for Premium Growth.
You’re likely aware of some of the tactics you can use to identify premium growth opportunities, but how many of them are you using regularly and to their full potential?
If you’re counting on your memory and a “free moment” on your calendar, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to consistently identify and act on all the premium growth opportunities you already have.
The best agencies set themselves up for success by implementing repeatable systems to create premium growth. Having systems ensures that you’re not missing easily anticipated 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 leaning into available technology, gets you pretty close.
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.
Lots of people dislike hard-selling 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 launching their own company soon, 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.
“All correspondence to the insured contains a soft-sell pitch point or two.” Marcelle Skidmore, VP Northeast Placement Services, so even if you’re just catching up, remind them that they can rely on you to advise them on any questions.
With an always-on soft-sell approach to your client communications, you can help find premium growth opportunities while sending emails and having calls you would have had anyway.
>> 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. Renaissance Alliance members have access to a Birthday Report for all clients, so you won’t forget to take that opportunity to connect.
Tip 3: Teach. Teach. Teach.
Make it a priority to educate your clients 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. If you wait for them to ask you, you’re likely missing out.
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, turning you into a trusted advisor to your customers. 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 change it out regularly to show off 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 that Renaissance agency principals have access to, flags lost accounts automatically, and the win-back report automatically surfaces these types of opportunities to agents ten months after the customer left, which would be 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 M. Dawson, Sr. Vice President Agency Growth, 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.
But 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 who 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 when they’ve received good news, or something similar.
>> 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.
“The quickest place to find growth opportunities is by mining your current book of business,” Holly Miskavitch, Agency Growth Partner.
It’s much easier to walk into your favorite coffee shop down the block than to go into a new one that just opened. “I’ll have the usual, please,” is all you have to say at your go-to spot. They know your preferences, and it makes your experience as a customer easier.
Give your clients the same experience to maximize opportunities within your existing books of business. 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 make up 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 probably have 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, a convenient mobile app that offers a quick and easy way to surface 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 expiry 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.