Across the industry, the insurance business is built upon relationships. It may not always feel that way, as some people really do shop solely based on price. However, when it comes to client retention, you can’t only depend on your carrier’s price to keep customers in your book for the long term. Carrier prices change, and as an insurance agent, you don’t control the pricing factor of your business.
However, the quality of relationships you have with your clients is a factor you can control, and it does help keep clients in your book of business even when prices rise. Loyalty is an important part of business, even in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world. As a general rule across all industries, a 5% increase in customer loyalty results in a 25% to 95% increase in company profits.
So, how do you strengthen relationships with your clients? The key is to make it a focus through every step of customer interaction. The process begins when you’re prospecting and selling new clients, continues through onboarding, and never stops even when they’ve been with you for years.
The average retention rate of clients within the insurance industry is 84%, though top-performing agencies reach the 93% to 94% range. That extra 10% of kept clients each year can result in a large chunk of dependable profit for the business. Use the following tips to connect with your clients more, increase your client retention, and boost your profits.
This tip should go without saying, but it is worth noting as it can be a differentiator for you. Even if other insurance agents aren’t intentionally doing what’s “wrong” for their clients, they also may not put in the extra effort or time to find out exactly what’s best for the people they work with.
So, even when you’re first prospecting or selling your client on a new policy, think first about what they really need. Think about your profits second.
As much as possible, customize your approach and messaging to your audience. If you know that someone is coming to your office to discuss life insurance, make sure you have sales material prepared with that in mind. You can always transition to a cross-sell, asking about their home and auto policies, but keeping the start of the meeting in line with their interests.
Personalizing your approach also applies to technology-driven marketing. You can, for example, segment email newsletter lists based on recipients who opened — or did not open — your last campaign.
Segmenting technology-driven marketing is essentially the same as segmenting your in-person meetings. The aim is simply to give people more of what they tell you they want. Do that, and you’ll automatically find yourself with a more engaged and receptive audience for your sales pitch.
Whenever you talk with prospects, new clients, or long-time clients, take a moment to make notes on your customer retention management (CRM) software. The fact is, you have (or will have) too many clients to remember every detail about everyone. But those details do count when it comes to building relationships and getting referrals.
Especially if your book of business is already large or growing, the time you or your team will have with each person will decrease. So, make the most of the time you do have. Ask lots of questions about their family, hobbies, passions, goals, work, and even favorite sports teams. Get to know them.
When you have an opportunity, take action on notes you’ve taken on your CRM. Send your client a thank you card that features their favorite sports team. Send an anniversary card on that special day they share with their spouse. Or the next time they come into your office, give them a small keepsake that relates to one of their hobbies or passions.
Small efforts go a long way when building relationships with people, as it shows that you care.
Smiling is the most basic sales and relationship-building technique of all. In Dale Carnegie’s classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he devoted an entire chapter to smiling. Smiling makes you feel happier. And when you’re happier, you’re better at building relationships. Smiling makes the people who are around you have an improved sense of well-being.
Smiling is easy to do — and it's free. Take advantage of the enormous edge it gives you when it comes to relationships and business. Whether smiling comes naturally to you or not, practice — yes, practice — smiling a little more today.
Being true to who you are doesn't just make business more fun; it also makes people feel more at ease with you. When you get into insurance sales, you don’t need to take on a different persona. Just remember that people connect with people, and not with “caricatures” of people.
Selling is more about developing a skill than changing who you are as a person. Don’t make the mistake of altering who you are in order to sell. Even if you’re successful in doing that in the short term, it doesn’t help you build authentic relationships that will last.
Once you make a sale, it can be tempting to get back into prospecting mode and rush to your next sales opportunity. However, if your newest client ever has any questions or concerns about their policy, make sure to take time with them. Slow down for a moment to ensure all their concerns are answered.
If people feel rushed, they lose trust. Any loss of trust is a big problem as 51% of decision-makers rank trust as the top factor they desire in a salesperson.
Another trust-building method is to respond to people as quickly as possible. Of course, it’s OK to set boundaries on your personal and work times by letting customers know in advance that you won’t respond to business inquiries after business hours. However, when you are in work mode, set time aside in your daily schedule to respond to your clients as those needs come up.
It’s difficult to maintain a real relationship with someone when you never spend personal time with them. Your team is there to help you with that, but you never know when a team member will decide to leave or even go on to start their own insurance agency.
The bottom line? Even though it becomes more difficult to spend personal time with everyone in your book of business as it grows, that time with clients is invaluable.
One way to keep in personal touch with at least your top-paying clients by premium is to set annual review appointments. This is a chance for you to ask how they’re doing, see how life is treating them, and then even make your time productive for business by suggesting upsells or cross-sells that match their life changes.
One great way to get to know your clients more — especially your most loyal or highest-paying clients — is to host holiday parties. You can do so at home for just a select few if you feel comfortable. Alternatively, you can have people over to your office or rent out a space to celebrate. If you host any kind of event like this, not only do you get to personally meet and greet anyone who comes by, but you get to share your latest marketing efforts there, as well.
Celebrate important occasions with your favorite customers during the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, or anything else you can come up with. The event doesn’t have to be over-the-top. You don’t have to aim to impress, either. The simple fact that you’re holding a get-together to thank people for being your clients is enough.
When you treat people as people — and not numbers or faceless “clients” — they respond by sticking with you for the long run. They also refer more people in their network to you for their insurance needs. Building relationships around you is a great way to make your business not only what you do for work, but what you do to be closer to people in your community.
Relationships are worth their weight in gold, but they do take time.
Nectar provides real-time insurance leads that are specific to your sales area. With Nectar, you never have to worry about calling someone who already found insurance weeks ago, which means you can speed up your relationship-building process by beginning those conversations right away.
This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.