In today’s highly commercial world, businesses of all shapes and sizes are constantly looking for new strategies to improve their visibility, elevate their reputation, and stay relevant to existing and potential customers.
The insurance industry is no different. With over 32 million businesses operating in the United States and over 100,000 insurance brokers competing for new business, the insurance market can feel overwhelming and crowded for both employer and broker. .
So how can a broker stand out in today’s highly concentrated insurance market?
Below are three key strategies to help brokers prospect, sell, and better serve employers of all sizes and in a variety of industries.
- Voluntary prospecting.
Digital has become the primary SEO channel for all types and sizes of businesses. In most major industries, the savvy HR leader is moving to a digital-first approach.
Most often, HR buyers start their local search on Google. If the Internet is “the main market” for prospecting new clients, think of Google as “the main street” for HR sales. If you haven’t already, claim your free Google My Business profile so your brokerage appears in relevant search results. Along with claiming your GMB profile, it is imperative that your brokerage’s contact information (i.e., email, phone, website, customer service page, etc.) is listed with accuracy and stay up to date.
In addition to creating a digital presence online, it is essential to develop a system for following up potential leads and responding to online reviews. When evaluating brokers, the employer or HR representative will likely expect a response from an advisor within 24-48 hours of their first contact. If a potential customer isn’t able to contact them within that time, that inaction could signal a “red flag” and they could move on.
Another tactic to increase visibility and attract new customers is to focus on thought leadership. Consider writing guest posts for other websites as a strategy for getting your brokerage’s name to show up in related searches. Because the insurance industry is so nuanced, target your expertise (or specialty) to niche segments of the industry. This is an efficient and cost-effective way to ask HR buyers questions.
For example, post about insurance advice for self-funded employers with 150-500 employees in the southeastern United States. There currently isn’t a lot of content published on such a micro-targeted topic, so Google will recognize you (or your business) as an expert in that particular area.
- Data-driven selling.
Customers want to make an informed decision about how to invest their company’s resources, so don’t leave a customer wondering what else is out there. A key factor in closing a deal is comparing yourself to your competitors.
To get started, provide customers with a list of plan options and different purchase levels. If necessary, be transparent and upfront about price fluctuations to avoid customer concerns that they are being misled or misinformed. In addition to providing pricing, highlight for your potential customer what businesses like yours have purchased in the past and use that data to justify recommending certain products or packages. As in any industry, also be sure to compare your rates with those of your competitors.
Transparency, information and choice often lead to faster decisions by potential customers. Using comprehensive, micro-targeted benchmarking data is an important differentiator between prospecting and selling.
- Be an advocate.
The best way to serve your client is to be his lawyer. True Advisor advocacy includes a nuanced understanding of key issues affecting the industry as a whole and negotiating the best coverage at the lowest price. By acting as an intermediary between consumers and insurance companies, you provide industry knowledge and expertise to ensure customers get the right coverage at the right price.
Take steps to be your client’s best advocate. Do this by taking the time to get to know your client’s business inside out. Identify the appropriate amount of coverage needed and recommend additional coverage types, if applicable, on a case-by-case basis (i.e. auto, cyber, personal property, umbrella, etc.).
Insurance brokers are invaluable assets for small business owners as well as large company benefits managers. Although prospecting, selling, and serving customers may seem transactional to the untrained eye, this strategic process relies heavily on transparency, ongoing experience, and customer feedback.
Brian Freeman is the founder and CEO of Employer Advisor, a digital marketplace for advisor ratings and reviews. He can be contacted at [email protected].
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