Minding their business

Minding their business | Insurance Business America

Minding their business

Business owners are ideal clients. They need some form of every protection the insurance industry offers; if you’re positioned to outfit them from head to toe, even better. Your goal should be to maximize comprehensive coverage for wealthy clients who can afford your high-ticket items.

When I acquired such clients as an agent, working with them was a night-and-day difference from dealing with Joe Schmoe down the street who just wanted to save 15% on his SR-22 broad-form coverage.

A business owner’s mindset sees the legal and financial framework of their company as critical. Successful ones understand its ability to torpedo their progress, whether they micromanage or ignore it. Many owners confess to needing their hands held in this category. That gives you an advantage if you can communicate your ability to manage it.

But there are bigger-picture reasons for defining and narrowing your niche. The elephant in the room is this: Insurance is a commoditized product. That means you face the challenge of convincing people to pay for you rather than the coverage. Any other route inevitably leads to that rabbit hole of price comparison. It’s never been more important to be in a class by yourself as a provider so that the excuse of cost can’t derail you.

One way to avoid that is to sidestep customers who struggle to rub two cents together. Another way is to become superspecific about who you want as clients.

You owe it to yourself and your staff to be selective about the clients you take on. Let your competitors squabble over the rest.

Statistics show over and over that at least two-thirds of consumers don’t consider the price of insurance to be the sole motivating factor for their purchasing decisions. A prospective client with plenty to spend on insurance premiums simply isn’t going to care only about saving a few dollars per month.

But this is already known – the real problem for today’s agent is: How do I reach more of my ideal clients online? And once I’ve reached them, how do I convert them?

Until recently, most everyone agreed that targeting business owners would involve a massive, expensive traditional advertising campaign, hours on the telephone following up, some door-to-door canvassing, and exceptional sales skills.

Today, however, a well orchestrated internet campaign can buy you credibility (through quality free content), prospect buy-in (through opt-in e-mail marketing), automated follow-up (without the phone calls) and speed (through preset, inbound appointments with qualified buyers). If the shortest distance from Point A to Point B is a straight line, then the traditional means of pursuing these clients is certainly the long way (and the wrong way) around.

Another advantage of this strategy is that the insurance industry is seldom among early adopters. Your competitors are as baffled about this as you are. That gives you every reason to explore internet marketing further.

Practically, this starts with creating engaging and effective content – articles, videos, free reports and webinars. Perhaps the best part: This content should mostly cover anything but insurance.

Writing sales copy taught me to craft a headline by imagining I was seeing a friend walking down a busy city sidewalk – the only way to get his attention is to call out his name. You can’t just say, “Hey you!” At the risk of sounding over-simplified, your branding strategy must evolve from “We’re XYZ Insurance Company, and we have great rates” to “I’m the only insurance agent who caters to and properly services business owners and executives – after adding value to your business.”

I do well with business owners when it comes to branding, both in person and online. But networking can only take you so far, and likability with a large online audience isn’t much use unless you know how to convert followers into customers. If I’d understood better how to replicate online the value I added to these people, I’d have taken greater advantage of the explosion of social media advertising in the last decade. I’d have made use of targeted ads and copywriting to speak to their frustrations and fears.

An agency beset by price shoppers and ne’er-do-well clients takes lumps on retention and customer satisfaction. Many households do not a successful agency make – not, at any rate, in terms of profit margin, employee satisfaction and retention, or long-term growth and expansion. That narrows your choices in the long haul.



Paul Edwards became a top-selling agent through his R.O.N. (Return On Networking) marketing system, which allowed him to grow a boutique clientele of political leaders, corporate executives and large businesses.