LexisNexis expert reveals secret weapon for small business client acquisition

A LexisNexis expert reveals the processes by which brokers can differentiate themselves from “99% of agents and brokers going after the same prospects.”

Insurance News


While advancements in the digital sphere have made the insurance landscape increasingly competitive, there are still several ways in which brokers can differentiate themselves, especially at the local level.
The first, according to Deke Phillips, director, commercial insurance, LexisNexis, is through intelligent prospecting.
“Essentially, this involves gathering intelligence and sophisticated data on prospects to be better prepared than 99% of agents and brokers going after the same prospects,” Phillips said.
When used strategically, this knowledge can be a powerful weapon to stand out among the herd.
“Being armed with information such as predicted renewal dates for their existing policies, knowing which insurance companies they’ve been with in the past, knowing their loss history and whether they’ve had any commercial losses and knowing the specifics about their business that aren’t readily available through traditional sources will put you head and shoulders above the other agents and brokers out there,” he said.
In order to obtain this information, however, brokers may need to take initiative and inquire whether their respective carriers offer a lead sharing or subsidy program “where the company or carrier will purchase data on their behalf about the prospect base and supplement or sponsor part of that purchase.”
In fact, carriers often have the ability to provide a list of every prospect meeting specific underwriting criteria within a particular zip code.  They may then supply brokers with a competitive offering for those prospects.
“A carrier may say, ‘You know what? We really like writing dentists and professional medical offices,’” Phillips said. “We will give you access to a special program for this class of business that is highly competitive in premiums, and you’re the only one getting access to the program in this area. No other agent will have access to it.” 
This collaboration between broker and carrier should continue after initial contact with each prospect, with all leads tied into an agency management system.
“The carrier has to be able to track every lead they distribute, and the agent needs to be able to track that data too,” Phillips said. “They should both have intelligible information on developments in the lead process, and if they lose the business, notate what happened and why.”
During this reciprocal discourse, Phillips recommends that brokers ask their carriers the following:
  • Who else is getting this lead, or is it mine exclusively?
  • What level of detail can you tell me about the prospect’s prior policy history and/or predicted renewal date of their existing commercial policies?
  • Can you provide precise details such as a verified address where insurance decisions have been made in the past?
  • What mechanism do you have to track leads – is it automated, online or just printed materials?
  • Do you offer any type of solicitation or advertising subsidies, such as customizable direct mail pieces?
Finally, brokers can set themselves apart by becoming subject matter experts in a niche line of business.
“Most agents do general networking which could involve a rotary club or chamber of commerce where small business owners congregate, but there could be 50 other agents there as well,” Phillips said.
Instead, they should focus on becoming a prominent voice in two or three distinguished membership associations or specialty organizations.  This, if coupled with an approach that involves providing clients with value-added transactions, will help maintain relationships even if competitors enter with a more competitive price.
And lastly, while it may not be possible in every situation, it is advisable for brokers to promote the business owner’s enterprise as much as possible.
“If you refer clients to them and they’re able to win new business, they will stay with you for years and years,” Phillips said.

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