Insurance Agent Leads: How to Make the Most of Them
So you’ve set your marketing plan in motion and, hopefully, it’s generating some leads. Now what? Sell them, right? True, but great care must be taken in advance to ensure that each new lead is handled properly.
Many insurance agents get so caught up in actually getting new leads in the door that little consideration is given to how they should be handled once they have them. This is a huge mistake that could lead to lost business and a lot of wasted effort--something you can't afford when you're marketing during a recession. To avoid this, follow these best practices to help you optimize that most precious of resources: leads.
Before you start any insurance marketing campaign, you must have a plan in place for how you will deal with responses or leads it generates. This is your Insurance Agent Lead Management Plan. Lead management encompasses a wide range of activities, including capturing additional profiling information, evaluating a lead’s readiness to buy and nurturing the relationship.
It is important for insurance agents to be as systematic as possible in the lead follow-up process, so they can respond to leads quickly and efficiently and results can be measured in order to inform future campaigns. This is sales as a science, not an art.
- Have a planned approach for every lead that comes in the door.
That includes developing standard phone scripts, qualifying questionnaires and e-mail templates for use in lead follow-up.
Note: Follow-up materials should be unique to each marketing channel. For example, you’ll have one follow-up approach for prospects that come to you by referral and another for those who respond to an ad. The referral is in a different place in the buying cycle, therefore, your follow-up materials need to be different.
Lead Advantage CRM
- Have a centralized place to store information, such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool or lead management software. A CRM is more than just a digital roledex. It allows you to set dispositions, call reminders, e-mail quotes, log call notes and more. This will aid you in tracking your progress with each prospect.
- Assign an origin to each lead that comes in the door. Use your CRM to track the "lead source" and "lead type,” so you can report on the effectiveness of your various marketing efforts down to the individual campaign. Ultimately, you want to be able to say that a seminar generated x number of leads, x of which became clients, resulting in x amount in sales. That way you can compare campaigns not simply by how many leads they brought in the door, but also in terms of real dollars generated.
Over time, certain leads will get more immediate attention and more follow-ups because you’ve determined their value based on where they came from.
- Have a system for classifying each lead using dispositions such as “interested but not ready to buy” or “Ready to close.” This is done after you’ve initially qualified the prospect. Again, this is where having a CRM system is imperative. You can set follow-up calls or e-mails based on disposition. You might also choose to send educational materials rather than sales materials to the client, based on where they are in the buying process.
Lead Management for insurance agents is all about making sure that you’re following up with the right leads in the most effective way possible. Leads are very valuable thing in our industry—especially during a recession. A lead management plan will help you make the most of yours.
Nurture Leads by Building the Relationship
What do you do when someone isn’t ready to buy right now? Write them off and move on to riper fruit? Hopefully not. Lead nurturing is the process of taking someone from the “interested but not ready to buy” status and moving them to “ready to close.”
You do this by setting up meaningful dialogue points to build trust with a qualified prospect over time. You're trying to avoid becoming the “salesman” who call up every few weeks to see if the prospect is ready to buy. Lead Nurturing will position you as someone who offers value.
Lead Nurturing Tips:
- Offer something for nothing. Give them information or advice they can use. For example, if they’re age 70 or above, and they’re taking RMDs, send them an informational article or booklet on RMD strategies. Then follow up later to see if they found it helpful. Offering something for nothing is great for getting over the trust hurdle, but it’s also a great practice that should continue even after the lead becomes a long-term client.
- Demonstrate your expertise and your understanding of their problems, needs and goals. The more they feel like you understand their needs, the more likely they are to trust the solutions you eventually offer.
- Vary your approach. A typical lead nurturing program could include sending letters; e-mailing articles, white papers, case studies, etc.; phone conversations and voicemails; or invitations to events, such as webinars, live seminars or workshops.
The job of being a conscientious, ethical agent has never been more difficult. Every day you face new challenges, from product changes to additional regulations and certification requirements. With so much coming at you, it can be tempting to rush through your new client acquisition and conversion efforts. Don’t.
Take the time to understand who you are and who your ideal market is, establish the most efficient and effective ways to reach those people, put in place lead follow-up protocols, then start marketing, measure your results and make adjustments according to the outcomes. Most agents start and stop with the marketing part and ignore all the rest. By taking a more strategic approach, your marketing will become more targeted, more efficient and more effective.
For more insights on marketing your insurance practice, you can download the white paper "Recession-Proof Your Business: An Agent's Guide to Marketing During the Downturn."
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