Always be prepared! (Who said that?) Before you talk to carriers about possibly accepting you to represent their respective companies, you must do your research about them. With the technology at-hand these days, there really is no excuse for not being knowledgeable about each carrier's history, news, current published plans and at least a little bit about everything in-between. It helps you "stand-out" from the competition. You can also talk to other agents who already represent them. Among your other preparation strategies, you need to show initiative in the form of interest in them as potential business partners.
Just as importantly, don't get caught in a discussion with them without a written marketing plan. It does not have to be elaborate and some carriers will require that you complete one in their desired format. However, when you are asked if you have a written marketing plan and you have to answer "No", it puts you in an uncomfortable position and saddles you with a decided disadvantage.
A good marketing plan does not normally have to be a complete business plan, with extensive financial projections. Carriers are typically more interested in how you are going to attract and write the desired, profitable business they want. Additionally, the marketing plan does not have to be ten-plus pages in length. A few pages will usually suffice - definitely think quality vs. quantity. Start with general contact info, of course with experience backgrounds, including specialties. Then describe your agency operations in a couple of paragraphs. Next, express your strategies for acquiring the prospects you will hope to turn-into clients and carrier customers. It is important to be realistic. You should expect to be asked exactly how you are going to implement each strategy and the obstacles you may need to overcome to do so. Be as specific as possible.
There is a lot of free information available, to give you some good ideas as to what to include. I can also provide you with my thoughts, if you want them. I collect marketing strategies.
Always be prepared. It will serve you well in your efforts.
Recently I was reading an article about the importance of marketing messages and the author made reference to this statement from Albert Einstein: “If you cannot explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” If you don’t understand your business, how can others be expected to do so?
Old Albert knew his way around an equation for sure but it sounds like he was also well aware of other aspects of life.
For we who are involved with marketing – and that is just about everyone, in one way or another – it is important to take the time to prepare your own marketing message. As Einstein suggests, it needs to be simply stated. You may only get one chance to relate it to a potential client or business associate who can refer you to clients.
John Jantsch, marketing guru and author of many great business books, including “Duct Tape Marketing”, refers to this part of your marketing message as a “Talking Logo”. He describes the importance of it as “…a short statement that quickly communicates your firm’s position and forces the listener to know more”. I like what John has to say. He himself makes his many useful messages simple but meaningful.
My Talking Logo is: “I help independent P&C agents get the appropriate markets for their specific needs. I help them make more money.” I hope it passes the “Einstein test”.