In today’s highly commercialized world, businesses of all shapes and sizes are constantly looking for new strategies to enhance their visibility, elevate their reputation and remain relevant to existing and potential customers.
The insurance industry is no different. With more than 32 million businesses operating in the U.S. and more than 100,000 insurance brokers competing for new business, the insurance market can feel overwhelming and crowded for both the employer and the broker.
So how can a broker set themselves apart in today’s heavily concentrated insurance market?
Below are three key strategies to help brokers prospect, sell and better serve employers of all sizes and across various industries.
Digital has become the leading referral channel for all types and sizes of business. Across most major industries, the savvy human resource leader is shifting to a digital-first approach.
More often than not, HR buyers begin their local search on Google. If the internet is “the main market” for prospecting new customers, then think of Google as “the main street” for HR sales. If you have not already done so, claim your free Google My Business profile, so your brokerage pops up in relevant search results. In addition to claiming your GMB profile, it’s imperative that your brokerage’s contact information (i.e., email, phone, website, customer service page, etc.) is accurately listed and remains up to date.
In addition to creating a digital presence online, developing a system for following up with potential leads and responding to online reviews is critical. When evaluating brokers, the employer or HR representative will likely expect to receive a response from an advisor within 24-48 hours of their initial outreach. If a potential client is unable to reach out in that timeframe, 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 to get your brokerage’s name to appear in related searches. Because the insurance industry is so nuanced, target your expertise (or specialty) to niche sections of the industry. This is an effective and cost-efficient method to get in front of HR buyers with questions.
For example, publish an article on insurance tips for self-funded employers with 150-500 employees in the U.S. Southeast. There is currently not much content published on such a micro-targeted topic, therefore Google will acknowledge you (or your firm) as an expert in that particular field.
Customers want to make a well-informed decision about how to invest their company’s resources, so do not leave a customer questioning what else is out there. A key factor in closing a deal is benchmarking yourself against your competition.
To start, provide customers with a list of plan options and various levels of purchasing. When necessary, be transparent and upfront about price fluctuations to circumvent any customer concerns that they are being misled or misinformed. In addition to providing prices, highlight for your potential client what companies like yours have purchased in the past and use that data as justification for recommending certain products or packages. As in any industry, make sure to compare your rates against your competition’s rates, too.
Transparency, information and choice often lead to faster decisions from prospective clients. Using comprehensive and microtargeted benchmarking data is an important differentiator between prospecting and selling.
Be an advocate.
The best way to serve your client is to be their advocate. True advisor advocacy includes a nuanced understanding of the key issues affecting the industry at large and negotiating for the best coverage at the lowest price. By acting as an intermediary between consumers and insurance carriers, you provide industry knowledge and expertise to ensure clients get the right coverage at the right cost.
Take steps to be your client’s best advocate. Do so by taking the time to know your customer’s business inside and out. Identify the appropriate amount of coverage needed and recommend additional types of coverage, when relevant, 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 benefits managers at large companies. Although prospecting, selling and serving clients may appear transactional to the untrained eye, this strategic process heavily relies on transparency, tenured experience, and customer feedback.