One of my friends mentioned the following last week, when we were meeting with another fellow insurance agent:
“Too many people are learning more and more about less and less today, that will actually be useful tomorrow.”
He was directing it at the other agent, not to criticize her but to just to try to give her some ideas to help her break some old, staid habits and to ‘push the envelope’ a little. She knows she needs to branch-out into some possibly uncomfortable and unfamiliar territories, to market herself more effectively. We all need to do it, including myself and my agent friends but she is caught-up with trying to comprehend complicated processes to help her market herself more effectively. She is really trying but expending a lot of valuable time and effort to form a social media marketing plan, that includes everything out there! However, she is not willing to break things down into their simplest terms and move forward – one step at a time. So, she is trying to learn everything before she makes even the first move. By the time she compiles and organizes her many lists, a lot of the concepts will be ‘out of style’.
No one will mistake me for an ‘expert’ in utilizing social media marketing. However I have learned some basic things – by trial & error – that might help others break through their reluctance to try to market their businesses in this manner.
The hardest part for me was trying to decide what platform was best for my needs. In the beginning most people want to know how to start but are confused with all the information that is being directed to them. It often “turns them off” and they procrastinate with getting started – time after time.
If this sounds like you, first try one platform only. Sit down with your staff and ask them this question: “Where do you think our customers ‘hang-out’? That is, at which social network are our current clients and prospects most likely to frequent? This is where you want to start your social media marketing efforts. Do not pay for placing ads on the network chosen. Just let people know what you believe you do best. Look for some local groups with which to affiliate and contribute by commenting on various of their items. Then grow from there. Simplify the initial process. After you and your staff get more familiar with regular activities, you may want to expand or just focus more intently on what makes you most comfortable, as you explore social media marketing.
There is so much there. Make it as simple as you can. it is certainly better than doing nothing at all – forever.
I had a meeting with an agency manager this week and the conversation flowed very smoothly. We both understood one another completely and business was conducted in a very effective manner. There was real substance to our discussion points. We got a lot accomplished in an hour. We understood one another, thanks to the substance.
I was reminded of how real substance in a business discussion makes for conversation that produces results. I was also reminded of another discussion I held with an agent who is an State Manager for a large, well-known National insurance carrier. The discussion was going very well and we understood one another for sure. In the middle of the discussion – over lunch – his manager walked into the restaurant and when my manager friend saw him, of course he invited his boss to sit with us. ‘The Boss’ was a very nice guy who asked me a lot of good questions about my program. One of my answers prompted ‘The Boss’ to turn to the State Manager and say a few things – presumably relevant – but in their particular form of corporate jargon – “corporate speak”, if you will. Then they both started talking and nodding at me. Their words were intended to relate to their “corporate vision”. I am all about having clear visions but they need to be expressed in an understandable way. Apparently I was supposed to see the relevance of the many phrases of visions, to my operations. I didn’t. The points that the ‘The Boss’ was attempting to make were flying over my head without stopping-by to sink in.
The next time I meet with my State Manager business acquaintance, I will try my best to make sure his ‘Boss’ – nice guy that he is – will not wander into the same restaurant. If I ever to meet with ‘The boss’ again, I will ask for their proprietary corporate dictionary.
Maybe it is just me but give me the substance any day.
If you like to network through social media settings like LinkedIn and Facebook, there are other newer sites that you might want to consider also. For example, it might be possible to get better access to your sales & marketing interests – even closer to your designated industry – by exploring a free membership in beBee.com.
I just joined and intend to check-out the viability of the features. It was recommended to me by an “astute friend” friend, so I have the feeling that it will be interesting and useful for my purposes. I am told that with beBee.com, it is easy to locate people like myself (…although my Wife contends that I am truly one of a kind…) with common interests and needs.
I am looking at a couple of other ones and will do brief reviews on them in due time. However, for the present, I will give beBee.com a little time to sink-in. It looks pretty straight-forward.
If you are an agent or agency, make sure you do your homework diligently before you join a premium aggregator aka agency network group. One of the key questions to ask is: “What would happen if and when I decide to sell my agency, especially to an agency that is not a member of your network?” Make sure that you get very logical and understandable answers, in writing of course. Actually, it should be addressed clearly in their membership agreement.
It is also a good idea to make up a few sample scenarios and present them to the network representative, asking for clear answers to cover each situation. Again, get the answers “in writing”, email or whatever covers it for you – in addition to what is stated in the agreement. Think of a few agency sales or mergers in the area, of which you have some basic knowledge. Use them as your examples to present to the representatives. There are many different scenarios that could be involved.
Bottom line, take your time addressing this issue and all the others involved when considering membership in a network.
If you are in need of a list of key questions to ask, get in touch with me and I will provide you with my list – for free.
Phil Tuccy – 941-527-7823 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Saw this today from Chris Paradiso, an Insurance Agency Principal at Paradiso Insurance – paradisoinsurance.com
Chris is a great “follow” on LinkedIn and other social media networks.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
When planning to write a marketing plan for your Agency, do not get caught up in thinking that it will be a daunting task. While you need to take your time and think through the specifics of your plan, you should start by answering these basic questions first:
Who are you and what differentiates your Agency?
What do you do and where do you do it?
Who are you ideal clients?
What are your strategies to get your ideal clients to buy from you and bond with you, to stay with you?
If you start by answering these basic questions first, you will have established a strong foundation for a useful and effective marketing plan.
A P&C Agent and I were talking today and discussing his options with regard to the agency network group that might be best for him to consider, based on his particular circumstances. He asked for my opinion.
I explained that I do not normally recommend one group over another as I want the agents to make their choices based on their own evaluations. I supply some of the tools and related advice to help them make the most informed decisions but they decide on the final choice.
To help them in the decision-making process, one question that I like to ask is: “What do you really want to do?”
It sounds simple enough but the agent needs to decide if he or she wants to be inside an office, fielding calls, processing business, supervising other production people, etc. or does the agent want to be free to produce outside the office and not be involved with the day-to-day activities of running an agency. Of course, there can be a lot of room in the middle of these two scenarios but the answer to the question: “What do you really want to do?” is often not asked of agents. The answer is really very helpful in the process as many agency network groups offer variations to their main program models, to accommodate different agents’ needs.
It is too easy to assume that all agents want the same thing in terms of their involvement in the insurance business. My image is often not their image.
I see a lot of questions from the insurance public about this important coverage. Renter’s insurance policies provide a considerable amount of coverage for a relatively small premium. For starters, it is extremely valuable coverage in the event of a loss to your personal property from perils such as fire, smoke, theft and several other common loss circumstances. It also provides some coverage for liability which can be of significant value. Other desired coverages can be economically added.
From a personal standpoint, my Wife and I saw the value first-hand when our Sons had a severe kitchen fire in their apartment in Raleigh, NC a few years ago. Fortunately, no one was hurt but the apartment became totally uninhabitable as a result of the fire and smoke damage. Because one of our Sons was astute enough to have purchased a renter’s policy (…he finally listened to his Parents!…) they were reimbursed for all of their burned and smoke-damaged possessions. Additionally, they received full reimbursement for living expenses elsewhere while restoration was being completed. When the landlord sued them for negligence related to the cause of the fire…which was quickly thrown-out in court…the insurance carrier provided them a defense for the allegation of negligence, including the presence of a defense lawyer during the formal hearing.
All-in-all, it cost our Sons their very affordable premium and a small loss deductible to get back to their lives. Without the renter’s policy, they would have been ‘hurting’ for a long time!
Last Sunday, I was with my 11 year old Grandson at a sports type restaurant where we like to eat lunch and watch multiple football games. The volume from one local game was featured during the singing of the National Anthem by a soldier in uniform.
At the conclusion of the Anthem, everyone …or so it seemed…in the restaurant applauded loudly!
It was a great feeling.