21 April 2014
Category: Troy's Tips
21 April 2014,

Your current clients offer huge potential for agency growth. In order to capitalize on your installed base of business, you need to have a systematic action plan of communicating consistently with each and every customer. Sometimes, it’s not enough to have a great product line and excellent customer service. You must go above and beyond to effectively make yourself visible to your client.

Here are seven contact tactics or opportunities to make an impact on your customer:

1. Schedule Annual Reviews

This annual face-to-face meeting is by definition a review of customer needs. For clients, the review is an opportunity to find out if they’re properly insured. For you, it’s much more. It allows you to build relationships, educate clients and discover unmet needs, which you can then fill.

While most agents pay lip service to the concept, less than 20 percent of all insurance agents actually conduct an annual review. If an annual review is conducted properly it can be comfortable and non-threatening for the client, so agents shouldn’t shy away from doing them. The review is also an exceedingly effective system for retaining business and increasing sales. If you want your agency to stay profitable, you have to sell yourself and your agency to your clients every year.

2. Maintain Communication

It is important to have a system to consistently correspond with your clients. Studies have shown that when a customer sees your name seven or more times a year, they are more apt to think of you when the subject of insurance comes up.

In addition, you will want to seek out opportunities for personalized customer contact. Perhaps your customer now qualifies for a discount – tell them! Perhaps you have a new product to sell – send a letter detailing the benefits along with a product brochure. Be sure to follow up with a phone call to answer any questions. Every customer contact helps solidify you as a trusted advisor.

3. Keep Track of X-Dates

“X-dates,” or expiration dates, are gold. People are busy. They need us to take the first step in keeping track of the details to make sure that their assets are protected. Historically, keeping track of x-dates has been viewed as seeking an opportunity for an additional sale. While that is certainly true, try looking at this process differently. It is your responsibility, as their agent, to gather the information necessary to have a complete picture of your clients’ insurance needs so that you can do your job effectively.

4. Acknowledge Achievements

Recognizing success or milestones in your client’s professional or personal life is a simple way to reach them and let them know you support them. This can be in a form of a casual meeting or a handwritten note.

A typical scenario might be hearing that one of your customers received an award or a promotion. This would be a perfect opportunity to cement the relationship by sending a note of congratulations. This small act of acknowledgement will go a long way when you have your next discussion regarding their insurance.

5. Say “Thank You”

When was the last time that someone you do business with sent you a handwritten note to say “thank you” for your business? It can be easy to take our customers for granted. You need to consistently tell your customers that you value the business they have entrusted you with and to acknowledge that trust with a “thank you!” Making that personal connection helps build the relationship.

6. Ask for Referrals

Some agents have a hard time asking for referrals thinking that this is being “pushy.” It’s all in how you look at it. For example, if you dine at a great restaurant and have a delicious meal, you will probably be inclined to tell your friends and associates about the experience. Why should it be any different for insurance agencies? If your agency is providing excellent service, it only makes sense that your customers will want their friends and associates to have the same benefits that your agency offers. All you need to do is ask.

7. Send Out Press Releases

In the insurance industry, there is no shortage of rewards for high achieving agents.

The opportunity to notify the public and your customers about your achievements is often overlooked. A press release about your agency can be faxed or mailed to all media in your local area. Be sure to also announce new hires and staff promotions. Every time your customers read about you or your agency in the newspaper or online, it reinforces their decision to do business with you.

Consistent communication with customers is essential to maintain a strong base of business. Utilizing the power of these seven forms of contacting every customer ensures that your business will grow and thrive.

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